CinemaCon took place over the last week in Sin City and there was SO MUCH to take in from each studio that presented! While we were not physically there in Las Vegas for the presentations, we did try our best to keep up with absolutely everything that was going on related to awards season!
Here is a brief recap of each day and studio’s presentations. Quick note, we are not going to be breaking down absolutely everything, just a quick recap of what we think could play into the award season.
CinemaCon kicked off with Sony Pictures delivering the first studio presentation with an urgent commitment to theatrical releases. With 23 feature films coming to theaters this year, Sony is delivering on that pledge. While Sony did not announce any new projects, the studio offered many first looks at major upcoming releases.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, coming to theaters on June 2nd, was the biggest part of their presentation last year and is the studio’s biggest film of the calendar year. Kemp Powers, one of the film’s co-directors, presented a 14-minute clip of the film alongside stars Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, and Issa Rae.
The superhero theme continued as Sony Pictures presented footage from Kraven the Hunter starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson. The actor, via video stream, confirmed the movie will definitely be Rated R. The footage shown to the CinemaCon audience was heavy on violence and brutal action sequences. The film will be released this October in theaters only.
Another film featuring even more brutal violence, The Equalizer 3, starring Denzel Washington was showcased with a trailer by Sony Pictures. Washington was honored with a CinemaCon Lifetime Achievement Award from director Antoine Fuqua. The film reunites Washington with previous Man on Fire co-star Dakota Fanning and will be exclusively in theaters on September 3rd.
Napoleon, the Sony Pictures collaboration with AppleTV+, did not have a trailer, but an extended sequence was played for CinemaCon audiences. Sony confirmed the film will have a “full-fledged theatrical release” on November 22nd. Per attendees, the scene played was an intense battle sequence that displayed the mercilessness of Napoleon on the battlefield as soldiers fought in a tough winter. While much of Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in the leading role wasn’t seen, audiences did confirm they heard him using an American accent.
The opening scene from director Craig Gillespie’s film about the GameStop stock short squeeze of 2021, Dumb Money, was played for audiences. Gillespie was on hand to introduce the footage with leading man Paul Dano. Per audiences, the footage was similar to The Big Short and I, Tonya and could be an Oscar contender come the fall release, October 20th.
Several other films were plugged from comedies such as No Hard Feelings with Jennifer Lawrence to horror films like Insidious: The Red Door and action films like Bad Boys 4.
The second day of CinemaCon was Warner Brothers’ day to show off not just their impressive upcoming slate of films but to recement their commitment to theaters following quite a turbulent last two years with theater chains and HBO Max (Max?). President and CEO David Zaslav told the audience, “We tell the stories, and you bring the people in. We believe in the full windowing of theatrical releases. We’re in no rush to bring movies to Max.”
Warner Brothers knows what they have as the presentation started out with Domestic Distribution Chief Jeff Goldstein and International Distribution Chief Andrew Cripps both ran out in pink suits while “Barbie Girl” played in the auditorium. The Barbie co-writer and director Greta Gerwig along with stars Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, and America Ferrera were brought out to introduce a new trailer for the movie, which hits theaters on July 21st. The new footage highlighted the comedy of the film and featured new music from star and Grammy Winner Dua Lipa, who has new music exclusively for the film.
Oprah Winfrey and director Blitz Bazawule introduced a new trailer for the highly anticipated The Color Purple. The footage was described as stunning and stars Danielle Brooks, Taraji P. Henson, and Fantasia were all on hand to discuss how important the film is to them and will be to audiences this holiday season. The song ‘Hell No’ was highlighted in the trailer and it seems this will definitely be the major awards player many are anticipating, releasing this Christmas in theaters.
One of the most anticipated films of the year, Dune: Part Two, was highlighted with some footage shown to the CinemaCon audiences. Director Denis Villeneuve joined Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya on stage to present an early peak at footage from the film. Dune: Part Two is still having work on visual effects, but Villeneuve confirmed the entire film was shot in full IMAX and audiences described the footage as breathtaking. The footage provided first official glimpses of new characters played by Florence Pugh and (a bald, pale) Austin Butler. Dune: Part Two features entirely new sets and locations compared to the first installment and was described as a much larger scale film, which will be exclusively in theaters on November 3rd.
Warner Brothers kept their Timothée Chalamet fan hats on for a bit as they showcased a trailer for the upcoming Wonka film. The trailer reportedly opened with notes from the song “Pure Imagination.” It showcased the impressive sets for the Willy Wonka origin story. No original music coming from this musical was played for CinemaCon audiences. They did get a peak at Hugh Grant as a tiny, orange Oompa Loompa in the film. Chalamet’s performance in the trailer wasn’t described as overtly eccentric. Wonka will be in theaters on December 15th.
Additional films were plugged with trailers and appearances from their stars from The Meg 2: The Trench to The Nun II. DC offered extended looks at their films from Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom and Blue Beetle. The Flash played in full for audiences later in the day at CinemaCon and received much praise despite the problematic lead.
One of the biggest studios in the world had much to brag about from 2022 and they wasted no time once on stage; Disney Co-Chairman Alan Bergman began their presentation by proudly discussing the massive box office success of Avatar: The Way of Water and hopes to see the continued Disney success in 2023. In addition to this being Disney’s 100th anniversary, 2023 will mark the first time since 2019 that Disney has films coming out from all of the seven labels under the Disney brand, Walt Disney Pictures, Disney Animation Studios, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, 20th Century Studios, and Searchlight Pictures.
Disney kicked off their presentation for CinemaCon audiences with offerings from their Marvel brand. An exclusive clip was played from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which opens next week and is expected to be a huge box office player. Tony Chambers, Disney’s head of Theatrical Distribution, then showed the previously released trailer for The Marvels, which is the next MCU film that will be released exclusively in theaters November 10th.
The next film previewed by Disney at CinemaCon was an animated feature, Wish, which stars Chris Pine and Academy Award Winner Ariana DeBose. The casting of Pine was an announcement at the convention as well as a plot synopsis and an exclusive clip of the film. Wish sounds like an old school Disney Animated film with Asha (DeBose) singing about wishing for something more in her life and longing to break out from the world she feels trapped in. Wish will be released this November in theaters.
Another animated film Disney promoted at CinemaCon was Pixar’s Elemental. Disney showcased the first 20 minutes of the film, which the audience seemed to love. Disney played the footage in 3D to emphasize the beautiful animation style in the film. Elemental will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, as the closing night film, before its release on June 16th in theaters.
The only star on hand during the Disney presentation was The Academy Award nominee Melissa McCarthy as she was there to promote the upcoming live-action Disney film, The Little Mermaid. The actress introduced an extended clip from the film featuring the full performance of her Ursula’s “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” Audiences reported the song was great, and that McCarthy appeared to be having a great time as Ursula. The Little Mermaid will be in theaters exclusively on May 26th.
Disney teased their upcoming Haunted Mansion film, which will arrive in theaters on July 28th. The studio offered CinemaCon audiences an exclusive clip of the film that showcased the comedy of the horror-esque film. Attendees of the convention reported the film looked like a fun time for young audiences.
The studio next leaned into their Searchlight Pictures and 20th Century Studios films. First up, they showcased A Haunting in Venice, the latest installment in Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot franchise. Disney debuted the trailer for the first time to the CinemaCon attendees, which was later that same day released online. The film appears to lean heavy on the story’s horror elements unlike the sterner tone of the previous films.
Another trailer debut excited the crowd, that was also dropped online the same day, was Academy Award Winner Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins, which has been delayed for a few years. This film, based on a true story, stars Michael Fassbender as a soccer coach who takes the position of coaching the, well, terrible American Samoa team. The film has been highly anticipated as a return to the smaller scale for Waititi and will be exclusively in theaters in November.
Disney ended their CinemaCon presentation with an extended clip from the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Per attendees, the footage looked great with creative work from director James Mangold on display. The film will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, out of competition, and be released exclusively in theaters on June 30th.
The CinemaCon audience is mostly theater owners and Universal wanted to highlight their major theatrical success with The Super Mario Bros movie as it was reported almost every speaker for Universal brought up the animated film. Universal wants to keep growing the box office with 27 movies coming to theaters throughout the rest of 2023, most of which were presented during their lengthy presentation. It was the longest presentation of CinemaCon. The studio not only highlighted most of their 2023 releases, but also teased releases to come in 2024 and even beyond that.
To open their presentation, Universal played a montage full of filmmakers including Steven Spielberg, Jordan Peele, Christopher Nolan, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Anderson, James Wan, Jon M. Chu, and many others, reiterating the significance of the theatrical experience. Not only does this sentiment please the theater chain owners in the CinemaCon audience, but this display shows that Universal should be regarded as thedirector’s studio for directors wanting to make sure their films are theater exclusives.
Nolan was on hand in person to deliver a new extended trailer of his upcoming film, Oppenheimer, which is his first film with his new partnership with Universal. The footage shown in the newest trailer for the film was met with quite the audience response. Oppenheimer was shot fully in IMAX and in both color and black and white. “Not too much black and white, don’t worry,” Nolan joked, which seemed to relieve some of the theater owners in the audience. The film releases in theaters exclusively on July 21st.
Up next, Universal brought out the stars of the upcoming Fast X. Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang, and Tyrese Gibson were all joined on stage to provide a look back at the franchise’s history with a loving tribute. The now lead of the franchise, Vin Diesel, came out to give a memorable speech. Diesel compared the theater owners to “soldiers on the front lines.” He also stated that the Fast & Furious franchise was the longest-running franchise in cinema history, with the same actors playing the same characters, which doesn’t exactly check out, but the franchise’s numbers definitely do. The film releases in theaters on May 19th.
Horror films are finding a great home at Universal as of late; Jason Blum and David Gordon Green took to the CinemaCon stage and touted the major success of Blumhouse’s M3GAN, which is turning into a franchise, but as Blum reminded the audience, it started as an original film. However, Green was on hand to introduce a new franchise he’s rebooting, The Exorcist: Believer. A trailer was played exclusively for CinemaCon attendees, and it was apparently well received.
Chris Meledandri, CEO of Illumination, was on hand to introduce their latest animated film, Migration. The film follows a father duck who is anxious about migrating with his family, the film stars Kumail Nanjiani, Elizabeth Banks, Awkwafina, and many more. Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake came out for to show audiences a new (unfinished) trailer for Trolls Band Together. The animated segment ended with a trailer for Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, which will release on June 30th.
Focus Features was up next with Chairman Peter Kujawski highlighting that the specialty market didn’t just bounce back from the pandemic along with the rest of the film market, but it returned to levels higher than pre-pandemic. CinemaCon audiences were given a new Asteroid City trailer, which will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival ahead of its release on June 16th. Focus also provided a trailer for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3.
CinemaCon audiences were given a major treat with a trailer for Alexander Payne’s reteaming with Paul Giamatti for The Holdovers, which is a highly anticipated award season title. Based on the audience response, this film seems like a big contender to keep an eye on for award season. The trailer reportedly teases some comedy and emotional performances from Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Dominic Sessa. Ethan Coen’s solo feature debit, Drive-Away Dolls, also had a trailer on hand for the CinemaCon attendees. Margaret Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan are the two leads in what could be a big awards player.
Universal wrapped up their presentation with some 2024 teases. David Leitch brought out an entire stunt team to perform stunts for the attendees. Soon after, Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt came out on stage to premiere a trailer for their film The Fall Guy, which follows Gosling’s out-of-work stuntman who returns to work for his ex’s directing debut. The final bow out from the studio was for the first installment of Jon M. Chu’s Wicked films starring Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande. While the film won’t release for over a year, audiences reported the footage was stunning and showcased impressive large-scale sets.
The final day of CinemaCon went off with quite a bang with Paramount. The studio’s Domestic Distribution Chief Chris Aronson started off their presentation by rising from a sewer with a pizza and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles group of dancers behind him. Paramount had a lot to brag about from 2022; Top Gun: Maverick was a massive success and Smile, originally meant for their streaming platform, was one of the biggest performers of their slate last year. Paramount promised to continue to provide films exclusively for theaters, met to much praise from the theater owners in the audience.
Following the theme kicked off, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem was the first film on display in the Paramount presentation. Writer and producer Seth Rogen took the stage to introduce the film with an extended trailer. Rogen highlighted that the Turtles are voiced by actual teenagers, giving the film a more authentic feel. He really emphasized his love for the characters and how connected he feels to them. The film hits theaters exclusively on August 4th.
Up next in the Paramount CinemaCon presentation was another hit franchise for the studio; director Steven Caple Jr. alongside stars Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback hit the stage to promote Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. The team played a new trailer for the attendees and the director discussed their reliance on shooting in real locations rather than in studios or backlots. Ramos and Fishback were excited about the 90s setting of the film, saying the latest Transformers film is full of the fashion and music of the 90s we all seem to love.
The most anticipated part of Paramount’s appearance came from the iconic, legendary Martin Scorsese. The Oscar winning director introduced the premiere trailer for his highly anticipated film Killers of the Flower Moon. The trailer highlighted the large scale of the film and featured stunning shots. “This is a picture designed to be seen on the big screen,” Scorsese said. “This is a big-screen movie, and that’s what you’ll see.” The audience was reportedly blown away by the footage and it will definitely be an awards contender for the year. The film, a partnership with Apple TV+, will have an exclusive theatrical run release in October before premiering on the Apple streaming service.
Another possible award season player was introduced by Ziggy Marley, the son of the late Bob Marley. The first trailer for Bob Marley: One Love was shown to the audience at CinemaCon starring Kingsley Ben-Adir as the titular singer. Well most biopics always generate awards buzz for their leading actors, the audience appeared to love the footage of Ben-Adir, so this could be the real deal!
The Office alum John Krasinski was next in the Paramount presentation. He came out on stage to tease two upcoming projects in 2024. A Quiet Place: Day One, directed by Michael Sarnoski, is the next installment in the franchise started by Krasinski. The premiere trailer played for audiences at CinemaCon focused on Lupita Nyong’o’s character trying to survive as the creatures first hit Earth. Then Krasinski was there to announce his next directorial feature film, If. In a behind-the-scenes clip, Ryan Reynolds describes the film as a “live-action Pixar film.” Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Steve Carrell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and more will also voice imaginary friends who come to life in the live-action film.
The final film highlighted in the Paramount presentation is perhaps the film they’re most excited for with Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One. The studio treated CinemaCon goers to a new trailer as well as a 20-minute sequence from the film. Tom Cruise was serious when he said he’ll see you at the movies because all audience members report it was an exhilarating sequence that demands to be seen on the big screen.
The final studio to present was Lionsgate and they kept things short and sweet to wrap up the busy week in Las Vegas. It was reported the studio executives simply read down the list of upcoming film releases, mentioned a few highlights from last year as well as what’s already been released in 2023, and that’s about it.
Joy Ride was a major part of the studio’s presentation as the studio brought out director Adele Lim, stars Ashely Park, Sherry Cola, Stephanie Hsu, and Sabrina Wu, along with writer Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and producer Seth Rogen. After the Lionsgate presentation, audiences at CinemaCon were treated to a special screening. Joy Ride will be released exclusively in theaters on July 7th.
Up next was the highly anticipated The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which will release in theaters on November 17th. Lionsgate revealed a new poster and trailer shortly before releasing both online for all. Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, Viola Davis, and Jason Schwartzman all star in the prequel.
Following these trailers and sneak peaks, Lionsgate provided no new footage for their upcoming releases. The studio instead read through their upcoming slate and quickly describing each project. Films such as the Expendables 4 and Saw X for continuing franchises. White Bird, which formerly had the subtitle A Wonder Story as it is continuing the world of the hit Wonder from 2017. The studio also highlighted films such as About My Father, starring Robert De Niro, the summer horror-comedy The Blackening, and the faith-based Hilary Swank film, Ordinary Angels.
Following the early 2023 success of films such as John Wick: Chapter 4, Lionsgate promises to keep that success to theaters the rest of 2023. Films such as Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. and Sisu in theaters this weekend will continue to showcase the studio’s commitment to theaters.
CinemaCon always provides so much content for us at home to look forward to in theaters. What studio do you think won the week? Which new trailer are you dying to see that hasn’t been released online yet?
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