Universal on the ‘Fast’ Track at CinemaCon

James Wan directing seventh 'Fast'

Taking an aggressive strategy on a key franchise, Universal will release the seventh Fast and Furious movie on July 11, 2014 — even though it hasn’t opened the sixth “Fast” yet.

Franchise star Vin Diesel made the announcement Tuesday morning at the studio’s presentation at CinemaCon at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, calling the movie “probably the biggest one of all.”

The event included 20 minutes of action footage from “Fast and Furious 6,” due out May 24. Diesel, who also produces along with Neil Moritz, had hinted about a seventh installment by saying that the cast plans “two or three films” ahead when it’s working on a film.

SEE ALSO: MPAA Unveils Tweaked Movie Ratings at CinemaCon

The seventh film will be directed by James Wan. “We think it’s the perfect time to have only one year between installments,” declared studio chairman Adam Fogelson.

Diesel, Fogelson and Moritz were joined on stage by stars Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Gina Carano, Sung Kang and Tyrese Gibson.

The franchise’s five films have totaled $1.6 billion in grosses worldwide, including $626 million on the fifth installment in 2011. The others were released in 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2009.

Fogelson also introduced footage from upcoming titles “Despicable Me 2,” “2 Guns,” “Kick Ass 2” and “R.I.P.D.” And he revealed that a “Pitch Perfect” sequel is in the works with scribe Kay Cannon on board for a 2015 release.

“Pitch Perfect,” starring Anna Kendrick, outperformed expectations in grossing $113 million worldwide following its fall launch.

U has already begun work on a sequel to “Snow White and the Huntsman”  aimed at a 2015 release as well.

Fogelson noted that the 2012 slate contained half a dozen titles — “Ted,” “The Lorax,” “Snow White and the Huntsman,” “Les Miserables,” “Safe House,” “The Bourne Legacy” — that had topped $100 million in domestic grosses but admitted that the list did not include Peter Berg’s costly “Battleship.”

“We learned that although misses really hurt we are not the kind of studio that gets paralyzed by uncertainty or even finger-pointing when something doesn’t work,” he said, noting that the studio’s on board for Berg’s Afghan War actioner “Lone Survivor.”

“We believe in Pete Berg as a filmmaker,” he added.

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