The 20th Century Fox presentation at CinemaCon in Las Vegas began with a bit of showmanship, as rapper Vanilla Ice took the stage flanked by dancers in sequined blue-and-white outfits to perform a variation of his hit "Ice Ice Baby" modified into "Ice Age Baby," to celebrate the studio's hit animated franchise.
Chris Aronson, Fox’s president of domestic distribution, then joined the dancers in his own sequined outfit, which broke away to reveal a suit, as the more subdued portion of the program began.
He introduced "Ice Age: Collision Course," the fifth film in the series, which opens July 22. In this installment, hapless sabretooth squirrel Scrat discovers an ancient spaceship and inadvertently sets off a cosmic disaster that sends an asteroid hurtling toward Earth, threatening the extinction for all prehistoric life.
Studio co-chairs Stacey Snider and Jim Gianopulos came out to introduce the rest of the upcoming projects, beginning with confirmation that “Deadpool’s” entire creative team, including director Tim Miller and star/producer Ryan Reynolds, is “hard at work" on the sequel.
Staying in the X-Men family, they moved on to director Bryan Singer’s "X-Men: Apocalypse" (May 27), promising that the sequel outdoes the “epic scope” of "X-Men: Days of Future Past." The exclusive trailer was heavily focused on Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique, who becomes the team's de facto leader in the battle against Apocalypse after Professor X (James McAvoy) is taken. "You're not students anymore, you're X-Men," she tells the young characters.
Stars Anna Kendrick, Adam DeVine and Zac Efron then took the stage to introduce their comedy "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates," opening July 8. After joking about Efron taking off his clothes, they showed the trailer, featuring DeVine and Efron as irresponsible brothers in need of respectable dates for their sister's wedding, and Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza as equally irresponsible women who con them into thinking they're respectable. It was followed by an exclusive, and raunchy, clip featuring Kumail Nanjiani as a very hands-on masseur.
Next up were the stars of "Independence Day: Resurgence," including Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, Sela Ward, Brent Spiner, Jessie Usher and Maika Monroe. "They wanted to do something terrific," Goldblum said of the filmmaking team. "They didn't want to betray the enthusiasm and devotion of the fans from the first one." He called the premiere of the new trailer "a little snippet that I think you'll find delicious."
Director Roland Emmerich joined the cast and praised their work. "It felt like a class reunion with some new kids thrown in," he said. The trailer showcased all of those cast members, along with plenty of action and a rousing speech from returning star Bill Pullman.
DreamWorks Animation's Jeffrey Katzenberg hit the stage next to tout his studio’s latest release, "Trolls," opening Nov. 4. Anna Kendrick, who stars as lead troll Poppy, joined Katzenberg to introduce a clip from the movie. "Pretend I wasn't just out here with a really raunchy movie," the actress joked. She described the trolls, based on the popular dolls, as "the happiest 5-inch-tall people in the world. Poppy is the singing-est, dancing-est troll of them all." In the clip, Kendrick's Poppy and Justin Timberlake's character, Branch, bicker as she serenades him with a take on "The Sound of Silence."
"Assassin's Creed" star Michael Fassbender was unable to be in Las Vegas, but he appeared in a recorded message to introduce new footage from the video-game adaptation, which opens Dec. 21. "We are confident that fans of the game and new audiences alike will embrace 'Assassin's Creed,'" he said. The clip featured Fassbender's convicted criminal Callum Lynch being sent back into the memories of his warrior ancestor, with plenty of action and scope.
There was another video introduction for the comedy "Why Him?" (Dec. 25), featuring stars Bryan Cranston and James Franco. Franco joked about the supposed debauchery of CinemaCon (mentioning a number of theater executives by name), and then the footage rolled, showing Cranston as an overprotective dad and Franco as an obnoxious tech millionaire about to become engaged to Cranston's daughter.
Fox Searchlight executives Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula took over to introduce their drama "The Birth of a Nation" (Oct. 7), which premiered at Sundance. Written and directed by star Nate Parker, it tells the story of the 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner. They debuted a full-length trailer that won't receive wide release for another few months, showcasing the film's intense drama. Parker and co-star Aja Naomi King then made their way to the stage. "It feels like just yesterday I was sitting in college and shocked to learn about Nat Turner for the first time," Parker said, emphasizing the importance of telling Turner's story.
The final scheduled film in the presentation was Tim Burton's "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," opening Sept. 30. The exclusive clip showcased a school for children with special powers, led by Eva Green as the titular headmistress, plus a nasty-looking villain played by Samuel L. Jackson.
Like Columbo, Gianopulos promised "just one more thing" to close the presentation, and then introduced filmmaker James Cameron.
"I need to get out more. I need to make more films," Cameron joked before announcing plans to produce four sequels to his record-breaking film "Avatar," arriving at Christmas in 2018, 2020, 2022 and 2023.
"I've been working the last couple of years with a team of four top screenwriters in parallel with some of the top artists and designers in the world," he explained. "It's going to be a true epic saga that's told in this rich and complex world.” Each of the movies will be able stand alone, "but together form a big saga."
A glimpse of concept art, featuring some strange new creatures, followed, with Cameron heading out by noting, "I need to get my ass back to L.A. and get back to writing."