‘Fate of the Furious’ Surprise Screening Revs Up Exhibitors at CinemaCon

A previously unannounced CinemaCon screening of Universal’s “Fate of the Furious” left exhibitors feeling that the franchise has plenty of gas left in the tank — less than three weeks prior to the April 14 launch.

“There was so much action, which is great, more than even the last,” one said on departing the Wednesday morning screening at Caesars Palace. “It’s going to do very good business.”

The seven preceding “Fast and Furious” films have generated $3.9 billion in worldwide box office with the most recent, “Furious 7,” taking in a stunning $1.5 billion worldwide. The franchise has joined “Jurassic Park” as Universal’s most successful.

Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Kurt Russell, franchise newcomer Charlize Theron, and director F. Gary Gray were on hand to present the film, the eighth in the franchise and first to not star Paul Walker, who died in a 2013 car crash. Theron plays a villain bent on starting World War III by luring Diesel’s Dom Toretto into a collaboration by dredging up secrets from his past.

Fate of the Furious” was shot in as Mývatn, Havana, Atlanta, Cleveland, and New York City. The new film features the usual quota of brutal fights plus jaw-dropping stunts — such as cars raining down from a building to stop a pursuit — and a submarine on the Russian tundra.

Ludacris, Gibson, and Jason Statham supply the comic relief and Helen Mirren delivers a memorable turn as the mother of Statham’s character. Diesel choked up during the presentation in remembering Walker, and how the late actor had promised that there would be an eighth film.

Diesel noted that two more “Furious” films are coming. The studio has already set the ninth for release on April 19, 2019, and the 10th on April 2, 2021.

The world premiere for “Fate of the Furious” will take place on April 4 in Beijing.

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