BoxOffice, CineEurope, Despicable Me 4, Michael, News, Universal, Wicked

Universal Wows CineEurope With “Thriller” Clip From Michael Jackson Biopic ‘Michael’; Highlights ‘Wicked’ & Packed Upcoming Slate

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After lighting up CineEurope with a feast of tulips last year and then again the Caesars Colosseum at CinemaCon in April, Universal returned to Barcelona today with a presentation heavy on its upcoming two-part musical Wicked. The jam-packed show also highlighted its 30-strong film slate and concluded with a surprise first-look at a scene from Michael Jackson biopic, Michael, centering on the making of the iconic “Thriller” video. It positively wowed the audience.

Michael producer Graham King presented the five-minute clip which had been preceded by the same footage we saw at CinemaCon. He said the seven-years-in-the-making film had just wrapped and that director Antoine Fuqua is currently in L.A. editing.

“Unpacking the life of the King of Pop has been a daunting task,” said King. The Bohemian Rhapsody producer added, “There are biopics — and then there’s Michael Jackson.”  He noted there will be more than 30 songs in the movie and that he felt honored to have been trusted by the family to tell the story.

Jackson’s nephew Jaafar Jackson leads the ensemble as Michael, with Colman Domingo, Nia Long, Miles Teller, Laura Harrier and Juliano Krue Valdi among others in key roles. Lionsgate is distributing domestically and in Japan, with Universal  set to handle all other international territories. Pic’s slated for release worldwide on April 18, 2025.

Earlier, life-sized Wicked dioramas lined the entrance to the CCIB auditorium here as plumes of smoke, multi-colored bubbles and streamer cannons celebrated the film adaptation of the Broadway musical phenomenon inside the auditorium. The first part of the Jon M Chu movie releases domestically on November 27 this year, with Wicked Part Two scheduled to arrive in theaters on November 26, 2025.

Behind-the-scenes footage was shown as well as the “Passion Project” clip that was recently posted online by Universal. Julien Noble, President of International Marketing (and sporting a pastel suit in honor of the film’s color palette) later came to the stage to tout the mega-promotional campaign and partners working with the studio on the film. He said a one-hour television special is in development which will feature live performances.

Other films presented with footage included DreamWorks Animation’s The Wild Robot and the live-action adaptation of How to Train Your Dragon; Blumhouse’s Wolfman and Speak No Evil; Focus’ Nosferatu from Robert Eggers and Piece by Piece, the animated Pharrell Williams biopic. There was also a trailer for Maxxxine which is eyed as counterprogramming when it releases in July. Of course, there was also a spot from Illumination’s Despicable Me 4 which starts early overseas rollout over the next weeks and goes domestically on July 3.

Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President of Distribution, Universal Pictures International, also highlighted the massive year Universal had in 2023 including Best Picture Oscar winner Oppenheimer and animated smash The Super Mario Bros Movie.

She noted, “From established franchises to dramatic event films, animated blockbusters and original horror – we are dedicated to filling your screens with a spectrum of movies that reinforce the fact that we have the most compelling and wide-ranging studio slate in the business today.” 

Commented Niels Swinkels, EVP and MD, Universal Pictures International: “While we look at our industry in the rearview mirror, I would like to take a brief moment to acknowledge that we are still in unprecedented times. More recently, uncertainty has resurfaced about cinemagoers’ choices and the state of the theatrical marketplace. But let’s not let that get in the way of striving for growth. We will prove the naysayers wrong again. Now is the time to invest in the theatrical experience, have faith, double down, take risks and chase success. I believe this growth mindset will lead to an exciting and prosperous future filled with unlimited possibility.”

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