Universal Delivers The Stars To CinemaCon: Will Ferrell, Jack Black, Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick & More…


Refresh for updates The studio that owns the highest grossing movie of the year so far, Universal with its billion bound Super Mario Bros Movie, brought the stars and filmmakers to CinemaCon. Could we expect anything less?

Showing up were Christopher Nolan, Jack Black, Justin Timberlake, Will Ferrell, David Gordon Green, and producers Jason Blum, and Illumination CEO and founder Chris Meledandri. There’s several others who are expected to show and we’ll update you on them.

Uni began their late afternoon presentation at Caesars Palace Colosseum Theatre with a reel of filmmakers heralding the cinema experience including Steven Spielberg, Jordan Peele, Blum, Kelly McCormack, Louis Leterrier, Jon M Chu, James Wan, Judd Apatow, Elizabeth Banks, Meledandri, Alexander Payne, Margie Cohn, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Tricia Cooke, Ethan Coen, Phil and Chris Lord, The Daniels, Wes Anderson, and Chris Nolan.

Said Spielberg, “From my earliest days behind the lens, what I’ve always had in mind is the audience.” Peel spoke about how he “crapped by pants three times” seeing Jurassic Park. Apatow added, “How are you going to have a crowd pleaser without a crowd? There is no way to please someone alone in their bedroom. At least that’s what I’ve found.” Jason Blum exclaimed that the best thing about moviegoing is that “there’s no hitting pause, you can’t go back.” Quipped Cocaine Bear filmmaker Elizabeth Banks, “If a bear does cocaine in the woods, and nobody saw it, did it happen?”

Donna Langley, Universal Pictures Film Entertainment Group Chairman, stepped on stage, “Didn’t you love that reel? Isn’t it amazing. It’s amazing movie makers making movies for your theaters.”

Highlights from Uni’s presentation included:

–Christopher Nolan presenting a new Oppenheimer trailer, which you can read about here.

–Illumination CEO and founder Chris Meledandri presenting the first trailer for their upcoming Migration with a new voiceover cast that includes Kumail Nanjiani, Elizabeth Banks, Keegan-Michael Key, Danny DeVito and Awkwafina and more.

–Will Ferrell stepped on stage (“Hello Cinema-conians….that is the right terminology, right?”) for the live-action talking dog comedy, Strays. He brought a dog, named Sophie, on stage, who was used as the pup he provided the voice of in the R-rated comedy. “Hey camera guy, one shot of her and one shot of me,” Ferrell yelled in a jealous riff, upset that he was being upstaged by the cuteness of a dog. “Let me read off my IMDB credits and compare them to hers….she was in Strays, Santa Paws 2.” He continued to jokingly insult the dog, “By the time that Strays 3 comes along we’re probably going to have to recast with someone younger.”

“She just showed up on set and ate hot dog slices! But look it’s not a competition we both worked together creating (my character) Reggie,” Ferrell added.

The trailer introduces Reggie who loves playing “fetch and f*ck” with his favorite thing in the world, his owner. Reggie’s voiceover explains that dad drives him very far away every day, throws a ball, tells him to fetch and then drives off without him. “When I bring the ball back, he says f*ck! That’s how I know I won the game.” When Will Forte, as the owner, finally succeeds in abandoning Reggie, the pup meets up with another band of strays, and learns some hard truths, while also learning he “can do anything he wants” (think humping garden trolls). But what he really wants is to find his owner and take away the “only thing he truly loves: I’m going to bite his d**k off.” The raunchy R-rated comedy sets the animals off on a journey.

RELATED: CinemaCon 2023 – Deadline’s Full Coverage

–Jason Blum and David Gordon Green unveiled the first trailer for the highly anticipated sequel to The Exorcist, now titled, The Exorcist: The Believer.

–Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick arrived with Trolls World 3. The new film picks up with Poppy (Kendrick) and Branch (Timberlake) after two films of true friendship and relentless flirting, at a point when they’re now officially, finally, a couple (#broppy)! The footage opens as the pair is headed to a wedding (not their own). Branch’s long lost brother John reports that one of their other brothers has been kidnapped. Poppy recognizes him as a member of her favorite boyband phenomenon, BroZone, and realizes that Branch has been hiding a secret past. John enlists Branch’s help to get the band back together and rescue their sibling, so they head off on a cupcake-colored road trip in pursuit.

–Jack Black came with Kung Fu Panda 4, clad in a black and white jacket. “My films have made more than 48 quadrillion dollars around the world. You’re welcome!” he said to exhibition. “But none is more iconic than the noodle eating panda….in the most successful trilogy in cinema history, the sage of Kung Fu Panda.” Black was interrupted on stage by a stagehand who whispered in his air. “We’re too early to have a trailer in the animation process — I guess I have to give you a dramatic reading of the movie instead!” At which point he energetically acted out the logline. “When the movie opens Po is on patrol and he catches a thief….What will happen? Who will win?”

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