For the most part, between the STX and Warner Bros sessions so far, it hasn’t been a star-heavy year at CinemaCon. However, any studio looking to send electricity through the Coliseum at Caesars Palace can always rely on Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, who were on hand Wednesday during Universal’s presentation to introduce the clip of Illumination Entertainment’s Secret Life of Pets 2, the sequel to the $875.4M global grossing hit.
Haddish, who was onstage last night with Melissa McCarthy to talk about Warner Bros’ mob wife drama The Kitchen, in which she expressed how she read the script and went after the project, came onstage today with a Shih Tzu, while Hart carried a bunny. They respectively voice cute critter rivals Snowball and Daisy in Pets 2.
“You gotta start moving this to night time, this is too early,” Haddish told the theater full of exhibs. “I got the same yes as this damn bunny,” quipped Hart.
“Here we are with live, live props,” added Haddish.
“I don’t know whose dog this is,” said Haddish, “the dog was drunk and broke (wandering around the casino).” The audience erupted.
The stakes got higher when the bunny started to climb up and over Hart’s shoulder. “This is my nightmare,” said Hart, “Oh, sh*t. You got a drunk dog, I got a frisky rabbit.”
“The good news, pellets coming out of my ass’,” said Hart, doing the voice of the rabbit, “We’re completely on script!”
The bunny must not have liked it, evidently digging its claws into Hart who said, “My chest is bleeding now” before rolling the teaser, which revealed the gang is all back. Haddish is the fearless Shih Tzu who shows up to teach Hart’s Snowball he’s not quite the most adorable creature on the block, said Illumination chief Chris Meledandri. The movie also features canine-intolerant cows, hostile foxes and a particular turkey. Harrison Ford plays an old farm dog in his first animated appearance.
Meledandri had come onstage earlier, when a The Grinch placard appeared on screen behind him with a quote: “Another bald guy. At least this one’s last name isn’t Fithian.” The reference to NATO boss John Fithian got a good laugh.
Said Meledandri: “Last year, we were just gearing up for The Grinch” which ended up exceeding “all of our expectations.” Next due, The Secret Life of Pets 2, which demonstrates the “Universal love we have for our pets and the unconditional love they have for us.”