First looks at "Fifty Shades of Grey," "Fast Seven," Angelina Jolie and "Unbroken," oh my.
As part of their CinemaCon panel Tuesday, Universal Pictures served up a veritable buffet of trailer and teaser goodness, which included: the first sneak peek of footage from "Grey," the trailer for the Angelina Jolie-directed "Unbroken," which Jolie was on hand to introduce herself, teasers from the next "Fast and Furious" entry, "Fast Seven," "The Purge: Anarchy," the James Brown biopic "Get On Up," Scarlett Johansson's late-summer thriller "Lucy," the comedy sequel "Dumb and Dumber To," and the "Minions" movie, as well as extended trailers from this summer's buzzworthy comedies "A Million Ways to Die in the West" and "Neighbors."
Like we said, it was a full-meal presentation. Here are the highlights:
"Fifty Shades of Grey"
This first look was definitely a surprise, since the movie doesn't open until 2015. Still, the nearly two minute-trailer did a fine job of setting the stage for generating fan excitement. It carefully sets the scene for how the relationship between Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) will play out, complete with shy glances, fixed gazes, passionate embraces and talk of 'control.'
Jolie surprised the CinemaCon audience with an appearance and a smiling, earnest introduction to the action-packed and heart-wrenching trailer for "Unbroken," her second feature as director. The film revolves around the real-life story of Louis Zamperini (played by Jack O'Connell), an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II.
"Louis Zamperini is the toughest man I have ever met," she said. "He's a fighter and a true hero, he's also a man of faith, full of love and humility. He sounds perfect. But he wasn't always perfect."
The film has had a long road to the big screen. Universal bought the rights to the story in 1957, which at the time was meant to be a starring vehicle for Tony Curtis. It's tossed and turned around Hollywood until Jolie came aboard.
"I wanted to make this film because in the end its message is one that we all need right now more than ever," Jolie said. "It's the journey of man, finding his way through the darkness and into the light."
Another early preview here, since "Fast Seven" is a 2015 release, but trailer was met with a warm welcome from the audience -- partly because the studio knows how to sell its very successful franchise via fast, fancy cars and lots of action, but mostly because viewers got to see a smiling, driving Paul Walker on the big screen again.
The teaser is only about a minute-and-a-half, but it features multiple shots of Walker. At one point in the footage, Brian (Walker) and Dom (Vin Diesel) are listening to Tej (Ludacris) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) bicker just before driving out of a plane, mid-air. Brian's line to Dom -- "Just when you didn't think it could get any better, huh?"-- leaves a particularly lasting impression as it hints at the cast's well-documented camaraderie.
"A Million Ways to Die in the West"
With a cast full of A-listers like: Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman (just to name a few), you'd think a movie from funnyman MacFarlane with "die" in the title would be a joke, as in there's not really any actual danger involved, just a play on words or something. Not true: As we saw in an extended trailer, there is a LOT of onscreen death in the movie. Surprising ones too, like death-by-flatulence and death-by-ice-block. Other highlights include Liam Neeson as an old school gunslinger and a very random but fun cameo from a beloved '80s movie icon that we won't spoil here.
"Dumb and Dumber To"
They're baaaaack. Twenty years later, Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) are up to the same old, same old. In the first teaser we see that Lloyd has wasted all of that time - all 20 years - pretending to be insane and mute, just so he can say "Gotcha!" at the most opportune time. No clue when he was admitted or who was paying for his mental hospital stay, but it's par for the course with these two. For fans of the original "Dumb and Dumber" hoping for another road movie, you have your wish. This time the quest is all about Harry and trying to find a long-lost daughter.
Fresh off her action-heavy role as Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," Scarlett Johansson looks to be carrying over a few skills to her new thriller "Lucy." Directed by Luc Besson ("The Fifth Element"), the story revolves around ScarJo's titular character and the bizarre aftermath of her becoming a drug mule and accidentally absorbing some of the drugs into her system. Rather than making her sick or strung out, the drug cocktail, whatever it may be, suddenly jump-starts Lucy's brain and somehow gives her super intelligence and other unspecified powers. The trailer is full of Johansson not playing nice but rather badass, which is always a win.