26/04/2018 Postcard from Vegas: Highlights from Day 2 at Cinemacon
Day 2 at CinemaCon got off to a rousing start, with beautifully cut sizzle reel highlighting the best of 2017 and a ‘State of the Nation’ keynote from NATO celebrating the health of the global box office (more on that in my end of week round up).
Next, Disney took the reins and devoted a large chunk of their presentation to honoring and thanking out-going President of Distribution Dave Hollis. The upcoming slate was presented by new Head of Global Distribution, Cathleen Taff, without the presence of any talent on stage – which has become the norm for their Cinemacon presentation. Disney shared exclusive scenes and behind the scenes footage from all five of its labels, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Animation and Disney Pictures.
Disney is preparing to release some truly epic stories for the big screen including SOLO, ANT-MAN & THE WASP, CAPTAIN MARVEL (which will ride the wave of 1990s nostalgia), MARY POPPINS RETURNS with an incredible cast, huge dance routines and original songs, CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (not to be confused with last year’s GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN from soon-to-be-part-of-the-family, Fox Searchlight), brand new IP in the form of THE NUTCRACKER & THE FOUR REALMS starring Kiera Knightly and Helen Mirren and live action remakes of DUMBO (sadly no flying footage revealed), led by the genius mind of Tim Burton and ALADDIN directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Will Smith as the Genie.
Disney played the full opening scene from THE INCREDIBLES 2 and an hilarious extended scene from RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET (follow up to WRECK IT RALPH), with Vanellope von Schweetz trapped in a room full of Disney princesses with some sharp, funny and bitingly self referential dialogue. This movie looks set to be extremely funny.
Disney wrapped their 2018 presentation with a sneak peek of their photo-real live action re-make of THE LION KING, which releases in July 2019. In the circle of life, it was a fitting end for Dave Hollis’s triumphant last Cinemacon and the dawning of a new era at Disney.
Next up, Warner Brothers began proceedings by celebrating a record breaking $5.1Bn global box office in 2017, with highlights including DUNKIRK, IT and WONDER WOMAN driving last years success. Turning to 2018 and beyond, host Will Arnett presented footage and clips from a rich, varied, film-maker driven slate.
Warners highlighted their upcoming DC movies in production including WONDER WOMAN 2 and SHAZAM! A brand new AQUAMAN teaser was presented by Director James Wan and lead star Jason Momoa.
For OCEANS 8, almost the entire cast joined Will Arnet on stage – including Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling and Awkwafina. Only Rihanna and Helena Bonham-Carter were absent, although both featured heavily in the clips that were played so we didn’t miss them too much.
Riding on the huge success of IT and The Conjuring series, Warners is keen to position itself as leaders in horror, through its New Line label. THE NUN is the next terrifying installment from The Conjuring universe and IT 2 was confirmed, taking the same September release date as IT, in 2019.
CRAZY RICH ASIANS is the first Hollywood movie in over 25 years to have a full Asian cast and looks hilarious. Other highlights from the slate included LIFE OF THE PARTY with Melissa McCarthy, SMALL FOOT, THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD, MOWGLI, which promises a darker story than The Jungle Book, closer to Rudyard Kipling’s source material and A STAR IS BORN. This is Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, in which he also stars alongside Lady Gaga. Everything is sung live, with real shots of Cooper and Gaga performing live on stage in front of huge crowds at Glastonbury, Coachella and Stagecoach. I cannot wait!
Warner Brothers assembled their entire cast of Cinemacon 2018 for a final photo opp on stage. It was a pretty special moment to see so much A-list film maker talent on stage together, from a Studio committed to telling diverse and inclusive stories.
And finally – it was a very busy day in Vegas – it was the turn of STX Films with their most confident presentation yet. Riding on the deserved success of THE FOREIGNER, MOLLY’S GAME and the BAD MOMS franchise, STX is proving there is strong audience appetite a high level of profitability from talent driven, mid-budget films.
At Cinemacon they presented a very impressive slate including soon to release ADRIFT, starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Clafin and celebrating the triumph of the human spirit; a shocking and hard hitting thriller PEPPERMINT starring Jennifer Garner in the lead role avenging the murder of her daughter; SECOND ACT, a strong vehicle for Jennifer Lopez; MILE 22 reuniting Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg and the much anticipated new franchise UGLY DOLLS, which releases next year.
If you ever imagined what Miss Piggy and Kermit get up to when they’re all alone with no TV cameras rolling then the final film that STX presented will exploit all of the dark places in your imagination! HAPPY TIME MURDERS is an R-rated live action movie with some of Jim Henson’s lesser known puppets (sadly no aforementioned mega stars Kermit and Miss Piggy) starring alongside Melissa McCarthy. This will change your perception of puppets. Forever.
Commitment to stars in signature roles and inspiring stories made for the Theatrical environment was STX’s calling card tonight.
That’s it from day 2 at Cinemacon. Over 30 new movies showcased in one day. I need to lie down.