Furious 7's premiere is fast approaching and Etihad Airways wants to make sure the cast arrives in style and glamor. And did SXSW's surprise screening show how the franchise will honor deceased star Paul Walker?
Furious 7 and Universal Pictures are teaming up with Etihad Airways to bring the crew from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to Los Angeles for the movie premiere on April 1. Choosing the Fast & Furious 777 was no joke since the airplane company is sponsoring the world premiere.
Don't Miss: iPhone 8: Everything You Need to Know
Vin Diesel walked off Etihad Airways Flight 171 at LAX, wearing a smile, as the global press junket kicked in to high gear on March 18.
Abu Dhabi is heavily featured in the franchise’s latest installment due to the beautiful backdrops, skylines, and architecture. Some of the film’s outdoor scenes were shot inside the Liwa Desert—in what is probably a racing scene similar to the California scenes in The Fast and the Furious—as well as the city center’s famous Yas Marina F1 race circuit. Interior shots included Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Emirates Palace hotel, and the Etihad Towers.
Contemporary and creative designs work together with older, more traditional structures to create a complex puzzle for the team to figure out before time runs out. After all, the team’s already down two: Gisele (Gal Gadot) and Han (Sung Kang).
Of course, mandatory aerial shots of the skyscrapers were included in the visual buffet of the city’s spiraling buildings and lush landscapes set against the surrounding blue sea. Stunning scenery is hard to ignore, after all.
Filmed for two weeks in April 2014, the cast and crew added an opulence found in movies like 2004’s Ocean’s Twelve and Daniel Craig’s James Bond era.
Variety notes the completed process “using a combination of unseen Walker footage from previous films and new scenes shot using stand-ins (including Walker’s two younger brothers, Caleb and Cody) who then had the late actor’s face digitally grafted onto their bodies” managed to up the budget from $200 million to nearly $250 million, but seemed worth the expense since the character’s ending is “within the boundaries of good taste.”
Recently, fans at SXSW were treated to a surprising screening before the rest of the world. The entertainment press reports the enthusiasm of crowd and movie quality may make Walker’s final time “may be the ultimate compliment to say that he plays each moment as though it were his last.”
Sleek, luxurious settings are a foundation to race against time feel as Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his makeshift family work to survive the revenge-filled Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). Statham plays the older brother of criminal Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), whom Dom killed in the Fast & Furious 6 (2013), and wants to make the team pay for what happened to blood kin.
So why not choose one of the preeminent airlines in the world? Marketing and film will come together in sponsorship.
Producer Neal H. Moritz stated, “We are so honored that Etihad has partnered with us to support this very personal film, and we thank the people of the United Arab Emirates for all the kindness and graciousness they showed throughout production."
The personal film comment references Paul Walker’s death during the beginning stages of shooting in November 2013 and before the racing crew left for Abu Dhabi. For later scenes, Walker’s younger brothers were used as stand-ins for fan favorite Brian O’Conner.
In the end, it is a “constant pleasure to watch the excitingly physical actor he was once again hurl himself into the movie’s complicated stunt sequences like a human cannonball.”
But who could have predicted the rise of a massive franchise to the point of an airplane decal?
Mortiz admitted “when we began filming The Fast and the Furious in 2000, if you told me that we would one day have our logo on a wide-body jet, I would have said you were crazy.” And the Fast & Furious decal will remain on the 777 for the next four-to-six months, about the length of promotional tour and (probable) theater run.
Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Airways, sees the relationship between Universal Pictures and the airline company as completely beneficial as well.
"We are pleased to work together with Universal, an organization that shares that same spirit of innovation and reimagination when it comes to the world of entertainment, to unveil our newly-decaled Boeing 777 aircraft in support of the Fast & Furious franchise and Furious 7, which premieres next month and highlights our airline's home of Abu Dhabi."
Even though Etihad Airways demonstrates “a commitment to reimagining the travel experience for our guests," most guests probably won’t fall out of the sky in a revved up and reimagined car, either. Hopefully. That could end very badly. No one needs a remembrance of the classic, crushed car in Con Air.
Azerbaijan and Los Angeles were also principal filming locations for the film. And Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges and Jordana Brewster all return for one last thrilling ride as the clock ticks against the fam.
Djimon Hounsou appears as another villain set on world domination, as well. And Kurt Russell shows up as a mysterious agent. Looks like team's expanding, or is that contracting? You never know who to trust
Better watch out, Dom: danger at all angles for your crew.
Furious 7 opens April 3, 2015.
Sources: Press Release, Variety