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Universal shows off 'Fast' cast, announces 'Pitch Perfect' sequel

LAS VEGAS -- Rebel Wilson is having a good week.

First, the comedian hosted the MTV Movie Awards, and now Universal Pictures has announced it is planning a sequel to the film that helped cement her star status: “Pitch Perfect.”

Though there had been rumblings that the 2012 a capella comedy would have a second installment -- after all, the cast reunited to perform at the MTV telecast over the weekend -- Universal made the news official at CinemaCon on Tuesday. Adam Fogelson, the studio’s chairman, said writer Kay Cannon had already signed a deal to write the second film, tentatively to be released in 2015. The PG-13 "Pitch Perfect" took in $65 million at the domestic box office and more than $113 million worldwide.

PHOTOS: Movies Sneaks 2013

But Universal's main focus at the theater owners convention on Tuesday was promoting five of its summer 2013 releases. The studio showed trailers for “R.I.P.D.,” “2 Guns” and “Kick-Ass 2” along with 20 minutes of “Despicable Me 2.” The majority of the presentation, though, was devoted to “Fast & Furious 6,” the next installment in the studio’s most lucrative franchise.

Almost every member of the movie’s cast turned up to tout the May 24 release: Gina Carano, Sung Kang, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Paul Walker and, of course, Vin Diesel. Fogelson diligently asked each actor a question about his or her involvement in the series and why the franchise has proved to be so resonant since its inception in 2001.

“We make these movies differently than other people in Hollywood make movies,” said Diesel, who also serves as a producer on the series. “We really take it serious. We really are a family. We do care about each other when we’re doing stunts ... that kind of stuff builds a brotherhood that somehow translates on film.”

Rodriguez -- whose character was only in the original movie -- is returning to that family after Universal was “flooded with emails and fan calls insisting” she come back, Fogelson said.

“As a woman in this industry who started off in 2001 when it was rare to see a woman kick ass -- I fought for that, because I wanted to see it and thought there was an audience for it,” she said. “I think those battles resonated with the audience, who saw something cool and fresh that they respect.”

Though “Fast & Furious 6” is likely to be a lucrative title for the studio -- 2011's "Fast Five" grossed more than $600 million worldwide -- Fogelson didn’t shy from addressing the studio’s recent misfires.

“What was engineered to be one of our biggest films of [2012] -- 'Battleship' -- wasn’t,” the executive said of the costly disappointment. “But we learned a lot from that experience. Misses really hurt, but we are not the kind of studio that gets destabilized by uncertainty.”

He emphasized that Universal still “believes” in “Battleship” director Peter Berg as a filmmaker, adding that he has seen a cut of Berg’s upcoming military thriller “Lone Survivor.” The film -- which also stars “Battleship” lead Taylor Kitsch -- is “soulful and gritty and tough and emotional and, frankly, remarkable,” Fogelson said.


Brad Pitt riles up Las Vegas convention with 'World War Z' clips

CinemaCon 2013: A peek at summer tentpoles and year-enders

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ CinemaCon clip shows Kirk-Harrison alliance

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Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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