CinemaCon Recap: Universal Studios Gives a First Look at “Wicked,” “Oppenheimer,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3,” and More

Universal Studios brought star power to The Colosseum at Ceasar’s Palace, a venue that Adele currently calls home, during CinemaCon 2023. Thirteen films across all of Comcast’s brands (Universal, Focus, Illumination, Dreamworks Animation) were presented, most of which connect to this time next year when they will once again present their slate. But after multiple online set leaks, the studio also unveiled the first footage from the two-part film adaptation of Wicked. Here’s a look at Universal’s presentation, which was hosted by Donna Langley, Chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group.

Fast X: Part One – May 19th

Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, and Sung Kang gave a quick crash course on the nine films in The Fast and the Furious franchise that lead into the tenth installment. Michelle and Jordana highlighted the fact that it’s the longest-running film franchise to include original stars, and also the only major franchise to attract four Oscar-winning actresses (Fast X adds Rita Moreno and Brie Larson to the cast, with Helen Miren and Charlize Theron also in the series). They then introduced Vin Diesel, who went off-script for about ten minutes to share his gratitude to theater exhibitors and announce that Fast X will be a two-part film, with the second part coming in 2025.

Strays – June 9th

This R-rated talking dog comedy about an unwanted pet trying to find his place in the world was plugged by two of the film’s stars, Will Ferrel and Sophie. Together, they portray the lead character Reggie. Will Ferrel was (jokingly) upset about the difference in reaction to his appearance compared to the adorable dog he was carrying. Pulling out his phone, he checked IMDB to list some of his credits (Zoolander, Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Daddy’s Home) compared to Sophie’s lone credit, allegedly in Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups (“Which sucked!,” Will emphasized). After the bit, Universal played an extended, uncensored trailer.

Asteroid City – June 16th (Limited), June 23rd (Wide)

Lisa Bunnell, president of distribution for Focus Features, debuted a new trailer for Wes Anderson’s new film about a quirky town that celebrates the day an asteroid landed there. Oh yeah, and there are aliens. The new trailer hasn’t been released online yet, but there was a lot of overlap with the previously released trailer.

Ruby Gillman: Teenage Cracken – June 30th

Dreamworks Animation president Margie Cohn introduced a new trailer for Ruby Gillman: Teenage Cracken, the next original film from Dreamworks Animation. Animation wasn’t final in the edit we saw, but the film follows a girl who comes from a long line of women who can transform into krakens, a coming-of-age story as she learns her abilities while trying to navigate the social challenges of high school.

Oppenheimer – July 21st

“Like it or not, J. Robert Oppenheimer is the most important person who ever lived,” director Christopher Nolan said as he kicked off Universal’s presentation with a first look at his highly anticipated next film, Oppenheimer. A biopic about the creation of the atomic bomb, the film was shot entirely in IMAX and, while mostly in color, uses black and white sparingly. While the IMAX format was Nolan’s target for the final film, he shared that it will also play well on other premium formats. In addition to digital, the film will also be available in 70mm and 35mm film formats. Nolan also revealed that the trailer that debuted at CinemaCon will play in theaters attached to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 – September 8th

The Portokalos family is back and heading to Greece for a family reunion! Lisa Bunnell unveiled the first trailer for the third installment in the franchise, which began in 2002. With the exception of Michael Constantine, who passed away in 2021 (the franchise has subsequently killed off his character Gus), it appears that all of the original cast are along for the ride.

Drive Away Dolls – September 22nd

Another trailer debut from Focus Features was Drive Away Dolls from Ethan Coen. The indy comedy follows two young women on a road trip to Tallahassee who unintentionally end up acquiring a rental car that was being used to transfer a mysterious briefcase. The film stars Margaret Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan, with a supporting cast that includes Beanie Feldstein, Pedro Pascal, and Matt Damon.

The Exorcist: Believer – October 13th

Producer Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions was joined by director David Gordon Green, hot off the success of the recent Halloween trilogy, to reveal the first footage from the first film in his new trilogy that continues the story of The Exorcist. A trailer premiered at the event, showcasing the fact that two girls are possessed this time around, with         Ellen Burstyn reprising her role as Chris MacNeil when the girls claim to be her daughter Regan.

The Holdovers – November 10th

The last of three films presented by Focus Features is The Holdovers from Sideways director Alexander Payne, which reunites him with star Paul Giamatti. A trailer premiered, which sets up the premise of Paul Giamatti as a single, grumpy professor at a boarding school who always stays over holiday breaks and is charged with looking after students who can’t go home during the break, known as “Holdovers.” It looks to be a funny yet heartwarming film that also stars Da'Vine Joy Randolph.

Trolls: Band Together – November 17th

Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake took the stage to promote the third Trolls film, apologizing for the fact that the previous film, Trolls: World Tour, skipped its 2020 theatrical release and went directly to homes. Anna Kendrick was bubbly and joyful, while Justin Timberlake made a series of awkwardly uncomfortable jokes, pretending to not remember his N*SYNC past and declaring himself to be “high” (with audience gasps instead of laughs, he backtracked on the claim). We saw some unfinished footage from the film, which explores Branch’s secret boy band past, and also introduced villainous pop stars voiced by Amy Schumer and Andrew Rannells.

Migration – December 22nd

Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri gave himself a pat on the back for last year’s success of Minions: Rise of Gru and the current performance of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which is about to surpass the $1 billion mark, before introducing his studio’s next original film. Migration is inspired by chaotic family road trips, told through a father duck voiced by Kumail Nanjiani, who wants to stay home, and his new wife (Elizabeth Banks) and her hyper kids who desperately want to fly south for the winter. We were shown a full trailer for the film, a teaser of which was previously released online.

The Fall Guy – March 1st, 2024

The stage was set for an epic stunt performance from 87North Productions, with former stunt performer turned director/producer David Leach taking the stage to promote his new film, an action romantic comedy inspired by the 80’s TV series The Fall Guy. The plot follows a retired stunt performer who is called back into action when his ex-girlfriend’s directorial debut loses its leading man. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, who joined David Leach to unveil a trailer. The film’s cast also includes Aaron Taylor Johnson as the MIA leading man and Hannah Waddingham.

Kung Fu Panda 4 – March 8th, 2024

Not far enough along in production to show anything, Jack Black put on a one-man show pitch for the fourth film in Dreamworks Animation’s quadrilogy. In the film, Po will team up with a fox named Shen to take on a chameleon villain with the power to summon bad guys from the past.

Wicked – November 27th, 2024 and December 25th, 2025

Still in active production, director Jon M. Chu appeared through a video message to give the first official look at the film adaptation of the hit Broadway show, which is being split into two parts but is shooting simultaneously. It gave attendees a taste of the visual style of the film, which marries the show’s steampunk aesthetic with the classic look of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz. Snippets from “No One Mourns the Wicked,” “Popular,” and “Defying Gravity” were heard, including Cynthia Erivo’s finishing notes from the end of Act 1. Ariana Grande seems to be channeling her best Kristen Chenoweth voice for her portrayal of Galinda, and we got a short taste of Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible and Jeff Goldblum as The Wizard. While the audio wasn’t there to accompany it, we also got to see footage of Jonathan Bailey leading an ensemble in “Dancing Through Life” as Fiyero and also saw a few shots from the Oz Dust Ballroom dance.

Click here for more coverage from CinemaCon.

Alex Reif
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).