Magazine article Screen International

Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham Unleash ’Hobbs & Shaw’ Footage at Universal CinemaCon Session

Magazine article Screen International

Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham Unleash ’Hobbs & Shaw’ Footage at Universal CinemaCon Session

Article excerpt

must readPresentation features live performance by Jennifer Hudson from Cats and Yesterday star Himesh Patel.

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham delivered the highlight of Universal’s CinemaCon presentation on Wednesday (3) when they took to the stage in Las Vegas to introduce a non-stop action-packed first trailer from Fast And Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw.

“Our goal was to build out the Fast And Furiousfranchise,” Johnson told the audience at Colosseum in Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. “We wanted to create something that was special, something that had our own tapestry, our own feel, or own energy but the bottom line was we wanted to make something that was fun.”

“Amen,” said Statham, who portrays Shaw, an outcast who teams up with Johnson’s former lawman Hobbs to thwart a cyber-enhanced villain played by Idris Elba. Vanessa Kirby also stars and David Letch directed the tentpole, which takes place in multiple locations including England and Samoa and opens on August 2. Johnson said Hobbs & Shaw was the first time his native Samoa has been featured in a major film.

Jennifer Hudson performs ‘Memory’ from Cats

Jennifer Hudson rounded out the session with a live performance of Memory from Cats, Tom Hooper’s long-gestating adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical that opens on December 20. Chairman ofUniversal Filmed Entertainment Group Donna Langley said it was too soon to show footage, although she did tee up a video montage featuring scenes from the production and testimonials from a cast that includes Taylor Swift, Hudson, Elba, Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, and James Corden.

Langley and several of her senior executives appeared throughout the presentation, reminding the crowd that Universal has enjoyed what Langley called “a pretty incredible start to 2019”, powered by three number one US releases: Jordan Peele’s Us, DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, and M Night Shyamalan’s Glass.

Langley delivered the obligatory tribute to the theatrical experience when she talked about “that electric feeling of seeing a movie on the big screen for the first time.” Towards the end of the session she told the audience of mostly theatre owners to look out for Sam Mendes’ mysterious war film 1917, which is being made in association with Amblin Partners. The executive said it was “unlike any [war film] you have every seen before.”

Danny Boyle from Planet Brexit

Jennifer Hudson’s dramatic rendition of ’Memory’ was one of two live musical highlights from the presentation after a touching acoustic version of Yesterday from Himesh Patel, the impressive feature newcomer in Danny Boyle’s Yesterday from Working Title.

Boyle introduced himself to attendees as hailing from “Planet Brexit” and said he was surprised the story based on a screenplay by Richard Curtis had never been told before. The filmmakers selected Patel after a global casting call to play a singer-songwriter whorealises he is the only person on Earth to remember The Beatles after a worldwide electrical surge removes all evidence the band and its music ever existed. Lily James and Ed Sheeran also star, and the Tribeca Film Festival closing night world premiere opens in North America on June 28.

Seth Rogen and Even Goldberg not unsurprisingly drew the loudest laughs when they cued up footage from their August 16 release Good Boys, about three schoolchildren who embark on an epic journey en route to a party. …

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