June 3, 2023

'Fast X,' 'Oppenheimer,' 'Strays' (Photo: Everett Collection, Universal Pictures, Universal Pictures via YouTube)

‘Fast X’, ‘Oppenheimer’, ‘Strays’ (Photo: Everett Collection, Universal Pictures, Universal Pictures via YouTube)

Pop quiz: Name the most important person who ever lived?

To Christopher Nolan, the blockbuster filmmaking man behind it Keepsakethe Dark Knight trilogy, Start And Dunkirkis the answer J. Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist known as the “father of the atomic bomb” who spearheaded US efforts in the nuclear arms race during World War II.

So, of course, Nolan made a movie about him. The Oscar-nominated author opened Universal’s consistently entertaining CinemaCon presentation in Las Vegas Wednesday night to praise Oppenheimerhis upcoming epic starring Cillian Murphy in the title role along with a star-studded supporting cast including Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Benny Safdie, Josh Peck, Jason Clarke, Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, Kenneth Branagh and more a few that will keep you scrolling on IMDb.

Oppenheimer was “the most important person who ever lived,” Nolan told the audience. “He made the world we live in. And his story has to be seen to be believed.”

The writer-director revealed that the film’s first full trailer will hit theaters soon Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on May 5; He then showed CinemaCon a never-before-seen look at the suspenseful drama shot on Imax cameras and reportedly running for nearly three hours.

The film follows Oppenheimer as he recruits a team to join him on the Manhattan Project, the Los Alamos Laboratory, where they scramble to build nuclear weapons capable of repelling Russian threats. “This is the most important thing that has happened in the history of mankind,” Damon General Leslie Groves says in the footage, echoing Nolan’s emphatic remarks. However, testing the atomic bomb comes with the small (but still far too high) chance of decimating the planet’s entire population.

Unsurprisingly, Nolan received a huge ovation from the exhibitor audience; the director was one of the fiercest proponents of the theatrical experience when he publicly announced his previous Warner Bros. studio home. Basic principle day-and-date on HBO Max.

See the first teaser Oppenheimer below and keep reading for more highlights from Universal’s CinemaCon panel.

Bad

Universal concluded the presentation with the first footage of Jon M. Chu’s highly anticipated big screen adaptation of the beloved Broadway show, currently in production in London. Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) and Ariana Grande play Elphaba and Glinda, respectively. The main takeaways from the footage: the land of Oz looks dazzling, with a set so carefully constructed Chu noted that the production team had planted 9 million tulips (!); the flying monkeys look more terrifying than ever; and a dancing Jeff Goldblum looks perfect as the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Bad will arrive in two installments, in theaters November 27, 2024, and then Christmas 2025.

The exorcist: believer

The recent Halloween trilogy from director David Gordon Green and producer Jason Blum worked so well for Universal that they’re reversing it with another horror reboot: The exorcist. The first term, The exorcist: believer (October 13), marks the beginning of a planned trilogy “that will be expanded and updated [the original 1973 classic]as we did with HalloweenBlum said. That includes bringing back a major legacy character (à la Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode) in Ellen Burstyn’s Chris MacNeil. Green and Blum showed off the extremely creepy first trailer for the film, which raises the bar and has two tween girls fight demons.

Roams

Although Jack Black’s plot of Kung Fu Panda 4 (TBD) when he was told there was no trailer, the presentation’s funniest performance easily went to Will Ferrell. The funny man arrived on stage with a dog named Sophie in his arms, then kept the audience in stitches for five minutes as he engineered a hard-hitting rivalry with his canine costar. In fact, the highly R-rated talking animal movie looks hilarious. Ferrell voices Reggie, whose shady country owner (Will Forte) abandons the pooch in town, leaving Reggie with a vengeance in mind as he teams up with a small team of other dogs (voiced by Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher, and Randall Park) . “I’m going to bite his cock off,” Reggie swears. Told you it was R rated.

The autumn man

After an impressive display of live stunt work by David Leitch’s Eighty Seven North Production team, now director David Leitch, the filmmaker behind dead pool 2 And Bullet train brought in stars Ryan Gosling (back after rocking the public with his “Ken-ergy” promotion Barbie on Tuesday) and Emily Blunt. They unveiled a first trailer featuring equal parts action and comedy — or as Gosling put it, “cleverly edited visuals with a world-premiere vibe” — for their adaptation of the 1980s Lee Majors-fronted TV show. Gosling plays a retired stuntman who is called back into action by the director’s girlfriend (Emily Blunt) whose heart he broke after a crushing injury on set. The film will premiere in March 2024.

Trolls: Bond together

“Jesus Christ, that song follows me everywhere,” said Justin Timberlake with a straight face as he took the stage with Anna Kendrick to the Trolls hit single ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’. The pair brought more entertaining banter and an unfinished first trailer for the third installment of the “weird wild glittering hairy musical franchise.” Poppy (Kendrick) and Branch (Timberlake) are finally a couple and about to tie the knot when Branch’s long-lost brother (Eric Andre) from his days as a boy band shows up with an urgent mission. Amy Schumer, Daveed Diggs and RuPaul also join the cast. The film will premiere on November 17.

Fast X

Not much news to report on the 10th Fast and furious movie. It’s almost hitting theaters (May 19), so the latest preview didn’t show anything we haven’t seen yet. But after a stilted recap of the first nine films by co-stars Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Sung Kang, Vin Diesel at least flipped the script…when he refused to read it. Diesel went off-prompter, which was entertaining enough, though he spent most of his time onstage profusely thanking the movie theater owners in the audience. “I’d rather be here than at the Oscars,” he told them. Wait, is he giving up on his Academy Award dreams for the Fast series?