80.3 F
San Fernando
Tuesday, Dec 6, 2022
-Advertisement-

Content Candy

At the CinemaCon 2019 trade show in Las Vegas, as movie exhibitors and industry attendees checked out hardware on the exhibit floor, the Valley’s three big studios — Walt Disney Co., Comcast-owned Universal Studios and Warner Bros. — held presentations in the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace Hotel and Casino. The National Association of Theatre Owners sponsors the show, so the studios’ presentations aimed to impress multiplex owners to screen specific films. The weeklong exhibition culminated with NATO honoring 17 stars with awards, including Icon Award winner Steve Buscemi, Man of Tomorrow Award winner Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”), Seth Rogen and his “Long Shot” co-star Charlize Theron, and Directors of the Year Anthony and Joe Russo, directors of the last two “Captain America” and “Avengers” movies. Riding high on the success of 2018’s “Crazy Rich Asians” and the blockbuster D.C. Extended Universe superhero year-closer “Aquaman,” Warner Bros. was first out of the gate with the April 2 release “The Big Picture” about a film student. During its two-hour block, the studio welcomed to the stage “The Good Liar” director Bill Condon and actress Helen Mirren; “Barry” star Bill Hader and the rest of the cast of “It: Chapter 2”; and a hologram of animated character “Detective Pikachu.” And if the similarity between CinemaCon and San Diego’s Comic-Con wasn’t obvious enough, comedic actresses Tiffany Haddish and Melissa McCarthy appeared in cosplay. “Warner Bros. is a good home for us because of ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’” said Gurinder Chadha, filmmaker behind “Blinded by the Light,” a Bruce Springsteen-infused movie musical centering around a young Indian immigrant. Other Warner Bros. offerings include the Stephen King-sourced “Dr. Sleep,” a sequel to “The Shining.” The studio’s buzziest moment was its exclusive first full-length trailer for “Joker,” an unorthodox story about the Batman villain starring Joaquin Phoenix, which was introduced by director Todd Phillips of “The Hangover” movies. “I spent three years living in Caesar’s Palace (while making ‘The Hangover’),” Phillips told the audience. Led by Jim Orr, president of domestic theatrical distribution, and Donna Langley, chair of filmed entertainment, Universal came to convention hot on the heels of winning the Best Picture Academy Award with “Green Book” and last month’s successes “Us” by “Get Out” filmmaker Jordan Peele and a third “How to Train Your Dragon” animated feature. Langley and Orr crowed about last holiday season’s “The Grinch,” the highest-grossing Christmas-themed movie in history; and “Despicable Me,” the biggest animated franchise of all-time. The Universal City-headquartered studio delivered what was arguably the most entertaining of the studio showcases, from “Secret Life of Pets 2” voices Haddish and Kevin Hart firing off hilarious unscripted moments as a rabbit that Hart was holding began digging into the comic actor’s shirt; to a presentation that piqued with the arrival of international action stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham to introduce “Hobbs & Shaw,” the first spin-off and ninth installment of Universal’s most lucrative franchise, “The Fast and the Furious.” Johnson said the spin-off continues “paying homage to the value systems that have made ‘Fast & Furious’ such a global juggernaut, which is family,” and added that the summer movie will be set in England and Samoa, cultural homes of Statham and Johnson, respectively. Also at Universal’s showcase: a “Downton Abbey” feature film; the Issa Rae comedy “Little”; and Lena Waithe’s “Queen + Slim.” “Slumdog Millionaire” filmmaker Danny Boyle brought out his pending Beatles-themed movie musical “Yesterday,” and producer Jason Blum (“Get Out,” “Us”) prefaced a preview of the horror thriller “Ma,” starring Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer. Universal ended its presentation with a preview of a movie musical based on “Cats” with singer Jennifer Hudson belting out the Broadway phenomenon’s signature hit “Memories.” Sitting pretty as Hollywood’s No. 1 studio with four record-breaking franchises, Disney did not invite one celebrity to tout its coming attractions. Instead, the Burbank-based behemoth, led by Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn, showcased its latest live-action offerings: “Aladdin” starring Will Smith,” “The Lion King” from “The Jungle Book” director Jon Favreau and Marvel superhero flicks. Speakers referred to the Russo brothers’ April 26 release “Avengers: End Game,” as breaking the internet with its advanced-ticket sales campaign. “We’re very sorry that we broke all of your websites,” joked Joe Russo at a filmmakers’ forum panel discussion. The studio culminated with a preview of the first 20 minutes of Pixar’s “Toy Story 4.” Having freshly acquired 21st Century Fox last month, Disney also offered glimpses at a slate of lingering Fox and Fox Searchlight releases, led by the latest saga of Marvel’s “X-Men” movies, “Dark Phoenix.”

Michael Aushenker
Michael Aushenker
A graduate of Cornell University, Michael covers commercial real estate for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. Prior to the Business Journal, Michael covered the community and entertainment beats as a staff writer for various newspapers, including the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, The Palisadian-Post, The Argonaut and Acorn Newspapers. He has also freelanced for the Santa Barbara Independent, VC Reporter, Malibu Times and Los Feliz Ledger.
-Advertisement-

Featured Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-

Related Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-