Along with presenting clips from upcoming films, Universal Pictures patted itself on the back at CinemaCon as their biggest film of 2021, “F9,” crossed the $700 million mark.
The ninth “Fast & Furious” film stands as the highest-grossing Hollywood film since theaters reopened, and has been touted by theaters as an example of the importance of theatrical exclusivity. It is one of 25 films that Universal has released since the pandemic began in March 2020, with a 26th coming on Friday with Nia DaCosta’s horror film “Candyman.”
“We believed that a globally entertaining film like ‘F9’ could galvanize a robust return to theaters. This is by far the highest gross of the pandemic and we are so grateful to everyone who played a role in its success,” Universal’s president of international distribution Veronika Kwan Vanderberg said.
Universal previewed eight films during its presentation, with introductions from the actors appearing in each film along with local cinema owners. “Halloween Kills” and “Sing 2” were the only sequels featured, with the others being original films like Scott Derrickson’s “The Black Phone,” which stars Ethan Hawke as a masked kidnapper whose latest victim gets help beyond the grave from spirits via a black phone.
Lupita Nyong’o introduced the spy thriller “The 355,” which Universal won the domestic rights to after a Cannes bidding war, and Jake Gyllenhaal did Michael Bay’s “Ambulance,” a crime thriller about robbers who hijack an ambulance in Los Angeles. Anthony Ramos presented DreamWorks Animation’s “The Bad Guys” and Jennifer Lopez presented her romance film “Marry Me” which also stars Owen Wilson and Sarah Silverman.
And Ben Platt introduced Universal’s next major release, “Dear Evan Hansen,” based on Pasek and Paul’s Tony-winning 2015 musical. The film hits theaters on Sept. 24.
On the indie side, Focus Features presented previews of Edgar Wright’s London thriller “Last Night in Soho,” Kenneth Branagh’s period film “Belfast,” and Robert Eggers Viking epic “The Northman,” as well as a teaser for “Downton Abbey: A New Era.” The films are set for release between October and April and are coming as specialty cinemas are looking for more films to screen amidst a much slower recovery process than their mainstream counterparts.