27/04/2018 The emotional last day: Fox, Amazon Studios, Lionsgate… and a few tears
Day 4 at Cinemacon
We made it! The final day of Cinemacon and it got off to an emotional start with 20th Century Fox’s slate presentation. Fox knows how to put on a show and with an opening number that blended dancing girls, Deadpool and A Chorus Line, today was going to be no exception.
Proceedings quickly moved to an hilarious VT featuring Head of Distribution Chris Aronson, with Hugh Jackman and Deadpool himself in a trashed Caesar’s Palace hotel room waking up from the night before. I’m totally fucked,” said Aronson, with Ryan Reynolds replying “looks like Comcast really dodged a bullet” in the first of a few references to the impending Fox / Disney merger. There were no elephants in this room …. Although Pluto was seen in the closing frames of the film clip, skulking out of the hotel room.
Stacey Snider opened the show proper, with a well crafted and fond reminiscence of 20th Century Fox’s remarkable 85 year history and its incredible achievements as a studio, including 2017’s $3.9Bn global box office result and 27 Academy Award nominations. You could genuinely feel a lot of love in the room.
Brand new footage and extended scenes from ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL were revealed on stage by director Robert Rodriguez & producer Jon Landau, showing off the expansive world creation and special effects. Next up, Fox revealed first look footage from THE HATE U GIVE, based on the best selling young adult novel by Angie Thomas. This important film deals with class, eduction, violence against young African Americans and how truth can change the world. It stars Amandla Stenberg from ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise and Algee Smith from ‘Detroit’.
Fox shared some extended scenes and footage from the violent and darkly comic BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE, Steve McQueen’s female driven, powerful story of WIDOWS (a feature film adaption of a gritty British TV series from the 80’s), THE DARKEST MINDS and brand new first look at THE PREDATOR.
The closing section of the show was reserved for Freddie Mercury bio-pic BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, with producer Graham King and star Rami Malek presenting a brand new trailer. Apparently after seeing a recent cut of the film, Queen guitarist Brian May called Malek and gave the ultimate seal of approval saying that Freddie would have been proud.
But the final emotional moment of Fox’s presentation came as a local high school band played the famous Fox fanfare, live in the auditorium. “Da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da, da-da-da-daaa, da-da-da-daaa……” It was a fitting end to a world class show.
Next up was lunch with Amazon Studios. It’s Amazon’s third year at Cinemacon. They recently moved into a new HQ in Culver City and with a busy slate filled with high quality drama and innovative stories, Amazon is becoming increasingly important to the cinema industry and helping to fill a 52 week film schedule in theaters.
Bob Berney, Head of Marketing and Distribution led proceedings and revealed a wealth of new footage and exclusive clips. Highlights included LIFE ITSELF, a new project by TV director Dan Fogelman; DON’T WORRY HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT which stars Jonah Hill and Jack Black and has already played to strong reviews from the Sundance and Berlin festivals; BEAUTIFUL BOY with Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell who joined via Skype and on stage respectively to introduce the film and its trailer.
Perhaps some of the most shocking footage I’ve seen over the past four days came from Luca Guadagnino’s SUSPIRIA, starring Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson. Guadagnino – who directed CALL ME BY YOUR NAME – was on stage to present the disturbing and horrifying clip, which made the room feel very uncomfortable. This film will bear witness to some incredible performances, but is not for the faint hearted.
So, to the final presentation of the day and of Cinemacon 2018, from Lionsgate. There was a party atmosphere in the Colosseum with a DJ-pre show and host Lil Rel Howery (from last years GET OUT) as Master of Ceremonies.
Lionsgate has had an excellent run, its movies featuring in the Top 7 global box office every year since 2012, carving a powerful niche in producing films that target under served audience demos. And the year ahead looks set to continue that trend.
Perhaps one of the most memorable and poignant moments from today came from long time friends and writing partners Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs, on stage to present their film BLINDSPOTTING. It deals with similar issues of race, class and gun violence to Fox’s THE HATE U GIVE. Live on stage Rafael and Daveed performed a very moving poem they had written just a few hours earlier about victims of police violence. As they came back around to the chorus each time, the list of names grew and grew and became harder for them to remember. Lionsgate picked up the film earlier this year at Sundance and will be releasing in the summer.
Other highlights from Lionsgate’s presentation today included THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME, with the very funny pairing of Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon; KIN, a new project from ‘Stranger Things’ producer Shawn Levy, Paul Feig’s deliciously dark comedy-thriller A SIMPLE FAVOR starring Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick; HUNTER KILLER, an old school submarine drama with Gerard Butler; UNCLE DREW starring host Lil Rel Howery and ROBIN HOOD, a completely reimagined big action blockbuster with no tights in sight, starring Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx.
And with that the curtains closed and the lights came up at the end of Cinemacon 2018.
Thanks for staying with me and reading these updates. This is the fourth in a series of four … if you want to check back and read the others. I would also love to hear your comments or questions. I feel very privileged to have seen clips and footage from over 100 movies in the past 4 days and so excited for the year ahead in the industry I love. Until next year…. I’m leaving Las Vegas.