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Universal Sneaks ‘Fate Of The Furious’ At CinemaCon; Vin Diesel Praises Exhibition & Gets Emotional About Late Paul Walker

Deadline logo Deadline 3/29/2017 Anthony D'Alessandro
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The press corps at CinemaCon was wondering why the studio had blocked out three hours — three hours! — for their presentation this morning, especially after Disney pulled its off in 12 1/2 minutes. But it was pretty obvious: Uni was going to sneak the spring blockbuster The Fate Of The Furious which was unlisted in the program. Fate Of The Furious opens on Good Friday, April 14, just like its predecessor Furious 7 did on April 3, 2015, earning a massive three-day opening of $147.1 million.

Vin Diesel, who announced the release date for the movie two years ago at CinemaCon, revealed the news to those in Caesars Colosseum at the tail end of Uni’s presentation.

Earlier, the action star praised exhibitors in the room for continually delivering the audience to Uni’s big franchise. “Whenever I’m here and speaking to all of you, I do feel like I’m speaking to a bigger family and partners: You own the theaters and every time I come over here I can sense your excitement and expectations for the movie,” Diesel said.

“I speak for the whole Fast family, you managed to increase our audience and that makes us want to go to work and gives us a certain pride in our work” added the actor.

Today Show‘s Natalie Morales who was moderating Uni’s film session today asked Vin Diesel about the late Paul Walker, who died in a tragic car crash in Valencia, CA before the final Furious 7 was released.

Speaking slowly and emotionally, Vin Diesel said, “Part of Paul’s legacy lives through every frame that we shoot. Every time you see any of the cast on the screen … you are reminded of this angel that was so integral to the concept of brotherhood of the millennial and there is something beautiful about that … when I thought about going into this eighth chapter it was Paul Walker who promised 8 and it played over and over in my brain that 8 is guaranteed. I feel like he’s looking down on us.”

Castmembers Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron and director F. Gary Gray were also in attendance.

Fate Of The Furious is the second movie to screen here for exhibition. Last night Disney previewed Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales to generally positive results. “It’s money in the bank,” said one attendee who caught the film last night. Lionsgate has a third, Ryan Reynolds’ The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which they are previewing tomorrow.

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