Ryan Gosling is Colt Seavers in 'The Fall Guy,' directed by David Leitch.

Ryan Gosling is Colt Seavers in 'The Fall Guy,' directed by David Leitch. © Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Preview:

  • ‘Wicked’, ‘Twisters’ and more were showcased at Universal’s CinemaCon show.
  • There was news of sequels to ‘M3GAN’ and ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s.
  • The likes of Jon M. Chu and Glen Powell showed up to support their films.

Universal enjoyed a successful 2023 on several counts, not the least of which was the explosive popularity of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’, which did well at both the box office and awards season. Plus there were the horror likes of ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s and the big family hit that was ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’. True, there were also the downsides –– ‘Fast X’ didn’t quite deliver in terms of that giant franchise, while ‘Renfield’ and ‘The Last Voyage of the Demeter’ struggled.

But for the most part, we’re expecting the studio to celebrate its big win, and look forward to a slate that includes giant windy natural disasters (plus star Glen Powell), a new entry for its money-printing ‘Despicable Me’ franchise and what it is hoping will be a magical adaptation of iconic stage musical ‘Wicked’.

And the company is also including 2024 offerings from its Focus arm, so we’re anticipating the likes of Robert Eggers’ vampire tale ‘Nosferatu’.

Willem Dafoe stars as Professor Albin Eberhart von Franz in director Robert Eggers’ 'Nosferatu,' a Focus Features release.

Willem Dafoe stars as Professor Albin Eberhart von Franz in director Robert Eggers’ 'Nosferatu,' a Focus Features release. Credit: Aidan Monaghan / © 2023 Focus Features LLC.

Unsurprisingly, the studio kicked things off with a sizzle reel highlighting the big names it collaborates with –– Jordan Peele, Christopher Nolan, some youthful chancer called… we want to say, Stevie… Spielberg? –– very much highlighting its relationships and celebrating last year’s big release.

President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution Jim Orr touted the fact that more than 75% of the studio’s releases are original movies, with some hoping to launch new franchises. But his focus was also on ‘Wicked’, letting off a bright green flare and promising that the company will be turning theaters green “you got that, right? Y’all are wicked smart.” Yes, Jim. We got it.

Ryan Gosling is Colt Seavers in 'The Fall Guy,' directed by David Leitch.

Ryan Gosling is Colt Seavers in 'The Fall Guy,' directed by David Leitch. © Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

After bringing Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt to CinemaCon last year for ‘The Fall Guy’, the studio kicked off this year’s event with a full screening of the movie, so we doubt there will be too much chatter about it this time around.

The Fall Guy

"Fall hard."
74
PG-132 hr 6 minMar 1st, 2024
Showtimes & Tickets

Christopher Nolan sent a video message along –– not, to announce a new film with Universal, but to thank theater owners for their support and reminding them that his journey to promote ‘Oppenheimer’ began at last year’s event.

Now, though to the future…

There was a brief mention of the new ‘Bridget Jones’ movie (more on that here), which is confirmed for February 14th next year.

Related Article: ‘The Crow’, ‘Borderlands’ Showcased at Lionsgate’s CinemaCon Presentation

Despicable Me 4’ and More

'Despicable Me 4'.

'Despicable Me 4'. Photo: Illumination.

Illumination boss Chris Meledandri arrived on stage to whip up support for his animated efforts. And yes, he mentioned that a new ‘Super Mario Bros.’ movie is indeed on the way in April 2026, which is hardly shocking given the success of the original.

And, of course, a sequence from ‘Despicable Me 4’, which offers much of the expected madness with Gru and co. (and you’ll have seen some of it in the trailer). Will Ferrell is confirmed as the villain, with word that Stephen Colbert is also in the cast. Pharrell Williams is confirmed to be back providing music.

‘Despicable Me 4’ lands in theaters on July 5th.

Despicable Me 4

"Things just got a little more despicable."
PG1 hr 28 minJun 16th, 2024
Showtimes & Tickets

Gru and Lucy and their girls — Margo, Edith and Agnes — welcome a new member to the Gru family, Gru Jr., who is intent on tormenting his dad. Gru faces a new... Read the Plot

With that complete, time to learn what’s blowing in the wind…

Twisters

Twin Twisters, in 'Twisters' directed by Lee Isaac Chung.

Twin Twisters, in 'Twisters' directed by Lee Isaac Chung.

The new movie’s director Lee Isaac Chung is best known for the far smaller, much-respected indie ‘Minari’, so of course he addresses what is foremost in audience’s minds: why tackle a big franchise entry about tornadoes.

Turns out, it’s his Midwest background –– he grew up in tornado territory, so he brings something personal to the movie about Daisy Edgar-Jones and Glenn Powell chasing twisters. Chung’s intent was to make an immersive movie, and to make us all appreciate the terrifying power of nature. He worked with weather scientists and experts to get the details right and had real-life storm chasers on the crew.

He also name drops Steven Spielberg (a tornado obsessive whose first movie was a tornado epic shot in his bathtub), who taught him a lot about filming them.

(from left) Kate (Daisy Edgar-Jones), Javi (Anthony Ramos), and Tyler (Glen Powell), in 'Twisters' directed by Lee Isaac Chung.

(from left) Kate (Daisy Edgar-Jones), Javi (Anthony Ramos), and Tyler (Glen Powell), in 'Twisters' directed by Lee Isaac Chung.

Stars Daisy Edgar-Jones, Glen Powell, and Anthony Ramos joined their director on stage to offer up the usual anecdotes about filming in blazing heat and being pelted with water, air, ice, and more (to remind us of their commitment, Powell and Ramos once more faced water, fake debris and –– of course! –– a cow, albeit inflatable, on stage).

They’re also here to key up some footage from the film. A rodeo is disrupted, and Powell and co. head off on their chasing mission. There’s a glimpse of Dorothy, the storm-testing device from the original movie.

And the two giant twisters from the trailer combine into one giant super tornado. It’s very much the “‘Twister’… but bigger” energy from the first released footage.

‘Twisters’ heads to theaters on July 19th.

Twisters

"Chase. Ride. Survive."
Not Yet RatedJul 19th, 2024

As storm season intensifies, the paths of former storm chaser Kate Cooper, lured back to the open plains after a devastating encounter years prior, and reckless... Read the Plot

From natural action to supernatural horror, and beyond…

The next sizzle reel highlighted the studio’s more recent horror legacy, including collaborations with Jordan Peele and James Wan.

And confirmation that sequels to both ‘M3GAN’ and ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s will appear next year –– ‘M3GAN 2.0’ in May, ‘Freddy’s in the fall.

M3GAN 2.0

M3GAN 2.0

Not Yet RatedMay 16th, 2025

But the first actual presentation from the genre is for…

Wolf Man

Since ‘Wolf Man’ is in production, there was just a brief clip introduced by director Leigh Whannell, featuring stars Christopher Abbott and Julia Garner. It’ll see a father (Abbott) trying to protect his family from a threat. Only… he’s the threat.

‘Wolf Man’ will be in theaters on January 17th, 2025.

Onto…

Speak No Evil

James McAvoy in 'Speak No Evil.'

James McAvoy in 'Speak No Evil.' Photo: Universal Pictures.

Director James Watkins introduced the horror thriller starring James McAvoy, Scott McNairy and Mackenzie Davis about a family invited to spend a weekend at an idyllic holiday retreat, only for things to go very scare shaped when the father of the family (McAvoy) reveals a darker side..

Watkins keyed up the first look at the trailer.

‘Speak No Evil’ is due in theaters on September 13th.

Speak No Evil

"See no evil. Hear no evil."
RSep 13th, 2024

When an American family is invited to spend the weekend at the idyllic country estate of a charming British family they befriended on vacation, what begins as a... Read the Plot

Next, it was the turn of Focus Features to showcase its slate, introduced to the music of Amy Winehouse (the focus of upcoming biopic ‘Back to Black’).

Eschewing a bigger presentation, it was largely a sizzle reel of footage from the company’s upcoming releases, including the aforementioned ‘Back to Black’ (due on May 17th) and pope-focused drama ‘Conclave' ( November 1st), which stars Ralph Fiennes, Stanley Tucci, John Lithgow and more.

Perhaps the most exciting was the first look at footage from Robert Eggers’ new horror, ‘Nosferatu’. The director’s take on the classic vampire tale looks suitably intense and creepy, with Willem Dafoe at the forefront of the clips.

It’ll be in theaters on December 25th –– because Christmas always needs vampires.

Nosferatu

Nosferatu

Not Yet RatedDec 25th, 2024
Showtimes & Tickets

A gothic tale of obsession between a haunted young woman and the terrifying vampire infatuated with her, causing untold horror in its wake. Read the Plot

More family-friendly fare was to follow…

The Wild Robot

(from back center) Roz (Lupita N’yongo), and Brightbill (Kit Connor) in DreamWorks Animation’s 'Wild Robot,' directed by Chris Sanders.

(from back center) Roz (Lupita N’yongo), and Brightbill (Kit Connor) in DreamWorks Animation’s 'Wild Robot,' directed by Chris Sanders.

The new animated charmer, featuring the voice of Lupita Nyong’o and more, and already has a trailer online (you can see it here).

But if we’re honest, it was all preamble to the biggest movie that Universal is pinning its hopes on being popular…

‘The Wild Robot’ will be on screens on September 20th.

The Wild Robot

"Discover your true nature."
Not Yet RatedSep 27th, 2024

A robot — ROZZUM unit 7134, “Roz” for short — is shipwrecked on an uninhabited island and must learn to adapt to the harsh surroundings, gradually building... Read the Plot

Wicked

'Wicked,' opens in theaters on November 27th.

'Wicked,' opens in theaters on November 27th.

With posters adorning the walls outside Caesar’s Palace forum, tulips in all the cupholders and light up green lanyards handed out before the presentation, Jon M. Chu’s big adaptation of the hit stage musical is a two-part gamble on the largest scale.

Jeff Goldblum’s giant golden head kicks things off on screen… and he steps out (from behind the curtain, as befits the Wizard of Oz) to enthuse in true Goldblumian style how “dreamy” the making of the movie was –– practical sets and all.

Producer Marc Platt and director Chu are up next, who in turn introduce members of the cast (including Michelle Yeoh, who chides her ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and ‘Wicked’ director for always casting her as “mean” characters.

The last to take the stare are stars Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo, who talk about how much the movie(s) mean to them.

Footage from the film encompassed snatches from several of the musical’s big tunes, including ‘Popular’ and act one show-stopper ‘Defying Gravity’. It ends with Erivo’s Elphaba (who will become known as the Wicked Witch of the West) claiming her broomstick. “You can do this, you can do anything,” Grande’s Glinda tells her. “I’m not afraid,” Elphaba replies, “It’s the wizard who should be afraid of me….”

Oh, and we learned that Peter Dinklage is in the movie as the voice of Dr. Dillamond, a goat professor at the show’s Shiz University who befriends Elphaba.

What was shown was certainly impressive and bodes well for fan expectations.

‘Wicked’ is flying into theaters in those two parts –– the first on November 27th this year, followed by the second on November 26th, 2025.

Wicked

"Everyone deserves a chance to fly."
Not Yet RatedNov 27th, 2024

Elphaba, an ostracized but defiant girl born with green skin, and Glinda, a privileged aristocrat born popular, become extremely unlikely friends in the magical... Read the Plot

Upcoming Universal Movies:

Buy Universal Movies On Amazon