At the beginning of Tuesday’s Warner Bros. presentation at this year’s CinemaCon in Las Vegas, CEO Kevin Tsujihara cited three franchises as key to the company’s slate of tentpole movies: DC Comics, LEGO and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter spinoff “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Despite that vote of confidence, there were no new announcements about any of those franchises, nor any new footage shown. Tsujihara reiterated that the studio is planning “at least 10” DC movies between now and 2020, including both “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad” in 2016. He also plugged the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie, set for November 2016. Earlier, Warner Bros. President of Domestic Distribution Dan Fellman had joked that the sequel to “The LEGO Movie” won’t be out until 2018 because “LEGOs take a long time to assemble.”
Instead of those big franchises, the Warner Bros. presentation mostly highlighted the studio’s summer and fall slate, with a decent amount of new footage and plenty of celebrity guests. “Extra” host Mario Lopez was the emcee for the presentation, which started with Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon talking about their incoming comedy “Hot Pursuit.” Vergara touted their roles as “two strong female characters who can still be feminine and sexy,” and the extended trailer showed off some familiar comedic bits — including Witherspoon in drag as a Justin Bieber lookalike, which elicited the biggest laughs.
Stars Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult introduced an extended look at “Mad Max: Fury Road,” showcasing Theron’s character (complete with shaved head and robotic arm) facing off against a menacing biker gang. Hoult promised that the movie would be full of “real cars and live stunts.”
The always-charming Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and “San Andreas” co-star Carla Gugino took the stage after a look at the earthquake thriller. There was plenty of destruction in the footage (including the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge), along with some family bonding. Johnson said that “we wanted to make a movie that was truly epic and global,” and Gugino emphasized the character dynamics: “It’s about a fractured family that comes together because of this huge and terrifying event.”
The cast of the “Entourage” movie, minus Jeremy Piven) emerged along with director Doug Ellin to talk about the film version of the long-running HBO series. Ellin touted appearances from Pharrell, Liam Neeson and Gary Busey, and the preview footage featured even more celebrity guests, plus a Jewish wedding for super-agent Ari’s long-suffering assistant, Lloyd.
After brief looks at true-life drama “Max” (about a military dog with PTSD), horror movie “The Gallows” and EDM drama “We Are Your Friends” (starring Zac Efron as an underground DJ), the cast of “Magic Mike XXL” (including Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello) drew huge applause by briefly pretending to perform a striptease routine. They ended up keeping their clothes on, but the clips from the movie featured plenty of shirtless men, along with winking double entendres and a surprising amount of welding.
The “Magic Mike” guys gave way to Ed Helms and Christina Applegate of the new “Vacation” film, who offered tongue-in-cheek recollections of their experience watching the original 1983 comedy (“I saved up all my babysitting money, and I could buy my own ticket,” Helms said; “They sent it to my screening room and I watched it with Molly Ringwald,” Applegate countered). “We get into even more hijinks and trouble than Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo did,” Helms promised. “We think we’ve made an edgy but heartfelt R-rated comedy.” The footage featured plenty of edgy, raunchy humor, including co-star Chris Hemsworth showing off his abs and a pronounced bulge in his boxer briefs. There were meta-jokes about the original movie (“The new vacation stands on its own,” Helms’ grown-up Rusty Griswold promises his kids), plus a brand-new Christie Brinkley-style hottie in a red Ferrari — which gets hit by a semi-truck.
Stars Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer introduced a brand-new trailer for their adaptation of the classic TV series “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” which tells the origin story of how the two main characters — one a CIA agent and the other a KGB agent — teamed up. “You may know our characters, but this is the story you do not know,” Cavill said, before showing off footage featuring plenty of explosions in glamorous European locations.
Director Scott Cooper showed off footage from “Black Mass,” his biopic starring Johnny Depp as notorious criminal Whitey Bulger. “This is a film about the abuse of power, Whitey Bulger as an informant and the fact that in the city of Boston at this time, criminals and law enforcement were virtually indistinguishable,” Cooper said. He called Depp’s turn as Bulger “a performance for the ages,” and the footage showcased Depp with a receding hairline and a Boston accent, menacing a timid associate.
A new trailer for the comedy “The Intern,” starring Robert De Niro as the unlikely intern to a corporate executive played by Anne Hathaway, followed; along with extended footage from the Peter Pan origin story “Pan,” which recently moved from summer to an October release date. The meticulous special effects credited for the delay were on full display, with images of flying ships on giant water droplets, a massive crocodile and Peter Pan riding a huge bird.
The theme from “Rocky” played as stars Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone and director Ryan Coogler arrived to talk about “Creed,” the “Rocky” spinoff starring Jordan as Adonis Creed, son of Apollo Creed. “I thought [Coogler] was insane because I pretty much thought the Rocky journey was over,” Stallone said of first hearing the idea for the movie. “I wasn’t sure if people were going to take this as ‘Rocky 7.’ It’s really not. It’s the beginning of a new era.” The footage showcased a buff Jordan shadowboxing as a crowd chants Creed’s name, and the character approaching Stallone’s Rocky Balboa to ask for training, along with some brutal in-ring action.
The final two extended looks came for Ron Howard’s period drama “In the Heart of the Sea,” based on the true story that inspired “Moby Dick” and starring Chris Hemsworth, and the “Point Break” remake. Both featured impressive images, with a huge whale toppling ships in “In the Heart of the Sea,” and extreme athletes running the gamut from dirt-biking to snowboarding to surfing to cliff-jumping in “Point Break.” The centerpiece of the “Point Break” footage was a breathtaking, epic wing-suit jump that showed off the skills of the real extreme athletes who worked on the movie and were sitting in the auditorium.
Lopez ended the presentation by introducing a look at the recently premiered trailer for “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” but no one from the film was there to talk about it (even though Cavill, who plays Superman, had just been onstage to talk about “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”).
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