The Warner Bros. presentation Wednesday at CinemaCon in Las Vegas featured teasers for the studio’s upcoming releases, including the world premiere of the new trailer for Man of Steel. But first, studio President Jeff Robinov showed a recorded message from The Great Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann.
“We were like a little theater company,” Luhrmann said of his cast, which includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Joel Edgerton. He cited author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s love for the popular culture of his day as the reasoning behind his use of contemporary music in the adaptation. Luhrmann also mentioned Fitzgerald’s embrace of technology as part of his motivation for using 3D, and cited Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, an early 3D release, as an inspiration. “I’m really not going to walk away from this new form,” he said. The extended preview that followed featured plenty of modern music, as well as lush imagery taking full advantage of 3D.
The next director on the docket showed up in person, as The Hangover Part III‘s Todd Phillips took the stage and joked that “it’d be nice if Baz showed up.” Phillips discussed his longtime love of movies, one not shared by his mother (“Your sister’s a doctor,” she told him at his first premiere), and told the room full of exhibitors that “comedies need to be seen in theaters with groups of people who can laugh together.” The footage Phillips screened revealed more about the movie’s plot, which begins with the death of Alan’s father and continues with the group carting off Alan (Zach Galifianakis) to rehab, only to get derailed by a crime lord (John Goodman) who kidnaps hapless Doug (Justin Bartha) and demands the rest of the group track down Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), who stole $20 million.
Man of Steel director Zack Snyder talked about his love for Superman and his hesitancy at taking on the franchise reboot. “There’s no competition between superheroes, but if there was, he’d win,” Snyder said. “I had so much respect for the character that I wasn’t sure what I had to give him.” But after meeting with Christopher Nolan and David Goyer and reading Goyer’s script, Snyder felt confident about the film. “I wanted to give to the cinemas of the world a big, giant movie-movie,” he said.
The trailer revealed longer looks at Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Michael Shannon as Zod, and showed Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent living anonymously before being tracked down by Lois Lane (Amy Adams). Asked about his “S” symbol, Clark says that “on my world, it means hope.”
Guillermo del Toro matched Snyder’s enthusiasm as he took the stage to talk about Pacific Rim. “At the age of 48, the experience of making this movie has changed my life,” he said. “It allowed me to try a scope and a palette that I haven’t tried before.” He said the film, in which humanity creates giant robots to fight off an invasion from giant monsters, came from “the 12-year-old kid that is in love with giant monsters without any judgment, the guy that sees a giant robot and has a good day.”
Del Toro waxed poetic about the summer movie season as well. “It’s not only the time to create loud, big, beautiful movies, but to engage in world creation,” he said. “It’s not a thing that you use to escape, but to understand who you are in the world, and who you can be.”
Introducing the movie’s trailer, the director said, “It is my sincere hope that we can transmit through the movie the immense scope and love that represent this film.” The scope certainly came through, with plenty of robot-on-monster action, including a robot wielding a full steam ship as a bludgeon to take out a monster, plus glimpses at actors Charlie Day, Idris Elba and del Toro favorite Ron Perlman.
Del Toro was the last in-person guest, and the rest of the presentation featured footage and a few recorded messages. The trailer for James Wan’s horror movie The Conjuring, based on real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), promised “it’s not a haunting, it’s not a possession,” while serving up familiar haunted-house imagery.
Director Noam Murro delivered a brief video greeting in advance of footage from 300: Rise of an Empire, based in part on Frank Miller’s upcoming miniseries Xerxes. The footage showcased a style similar to the original film but with what appeared to be more physical sets, and focused on new star Sullivan Stapleton and Artemisia, played by Eva Green.
Footage from the comedy We’re the Millers, starring Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston and Emma Roberts, featured Aniston as a stripper and comedic set pieces involving both hugely swollen testicles from a tarantula bite and an epic sing-along to TLC’s “Waterfalls.”
There was a brief glimpse at some spectacular-looking 3D footage from Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, featuring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as astronauts stranded in space after their space station is damaged. It garnered probably the most enthusiastic response of the presentation.
The still-in-production thriller Prisoners, opening in September, got an extended look, with some intense scenes featuring Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard and Viola Davis as the parents of a pair of missing girls, and an explosive faceoff between Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal as the detective attempting to find the young children.
Peter Jackson showed up with a recorded message but no footage from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, saying only that there would be a new trailer “very soon,” and teasing the arrivals of actors Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom (returning as Legolas), Luke Evans and Benedict Cumberbatch (as the voice of dragon Smaug).
The reel ended with brief reminders of two more upcoming releases, Getaway and Seventh Son.