Universal’s presentation at CinemaCon Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) proved an emotional rollercoaster, with laughter provided by The Mummy and Despicable Me 3—and heartfelt tributes paid to Fast and Furious star Paul Walker.
Universal was the fifth of ten Hollywood studios presenting their slate of upcoming movies to theater operators at the annual convention in Las Vegas.
The studio kicked off with a first look at Despicable Me 3, with star Steve Carell provoking gales of laughter at Casar’s Palace as he mercilessly made fun of Chris Melandandri, the founder of Universal’s animation division.
Carell described the franchise’s villain-turned-softy Gru “as the best character ever in the history of cinema” but lamented to the entirely bald Melandandri that “men without hair are outcasts.”
The laughter continued as the cast of horror blockbuster The Mummy revealed how its star Tom Cruise cajoled them into emulating his famous discipline of performing his own stunts.
Annabelle Wallis, 32, said Cruise convinced her to join him in a zero gravity plane crash stunt that could easily have been faked by computer wizardry.
“The Mummy” opens on June 9 with Sofia Boutella (Kingsmen, Star Trek Beyond) in the role of the monster—a female for the first time in cinema history.
Vin Diesel, meanwhile, choked back tears as he paid tribute to his friend and franchise co-star Paul Walker, who died in an auto crash at the age of 40, making 2015’s Furious 7 his last appearance.
The 49-year-old revealed it was Walker who insisted there should be an eighth instalment in the $3.9 billion franchise, as he introduced The Fate of the Furious at the gathering in Las Vegas.
“I always feel like he’s looking down on us, so we didn’t want to let him down,” Diesel added.
In The Fate of the Furious, due to hit theaters on April 14, a mysterious woman seduces Diesel’s Dominic Toretto into the criminal underworld.
Diesel, now a producer as well as star, confirmed a previous announcement that the series would extend to at least a tenth movie.