CinemaCon 2015 opened Tuesday morning to a packed Colosseum at Caesars Palace and the opening volley from Paramount looked into their production schedule through early 2016, all sandwiched between personal appearances from a pair of the production company's biggest stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Cruise.
Garbed in a black motorcycle jacket similar to his typical Terminator outerwear, Schwarzenegger arrived on stage as the official theme of "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" -- Guns N' Roses' "You Could Be Mine" -- blared throughout the cavernous venue. Of course, he was in attendance to unveil early footage from "Terminator: Genisys," which made the introduction particularly apropos as in each of the movies since the 1984 original he plays a protective T-800 model Terminator rather than one hunting Sarah Connor.
Schwarzenegger indicated he wanted to make a grand entrance via helicopter, motorcycle or even "atop Caesar's chariot" but instead he just walked onstage. From the roar of the crowd, no one seemed to mind. After commenting on the previous movies -- "First three 'Terminators' I was involved in which are the only ones that count" -- he transitioned to surprise the crowd with 12 minutes of footage from "Genisys," which is designed to kick off a brand new trilogy. While no complete scenes were shown, a good swath of the movie was revealed.
The film appears to be set in a dystopian future caused by Skynet's attempt to take over the world, but a heavily scarred John Connor (Jason Clarke) and his ragged band of survivors are inexplicably on the precipice of winning the war against the machines. In what appears to be a last ditch effort for victory, Skynet uncovers a time machine and once again sends a Terminator to the past to dispatch with Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). In an attempt to protect her, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) also gets sent back where he encounters a viciously viscous new T-1000 in the guise of Byung-hun Lee.
Upon first impression, "Genisys" draws heavily upon the original trilogy with nods to both Schwarzenegger's T-800 from the first movie and Robert Patrick's T-1000 from the sequel. But conversely -- massive spoiler alert for those who haven't seen the latest trailer -- an adult John Connor arrives in 2017 as some type of nanobot-Terminator hybrid which the trio of Sarah Connor, Reese and the T-800 must stop to prevent the future from being altered.
After the footage, Schwarzenegger introduced Paramount Pictures Vice Chairman Rob Moore, who highlighted numerous releases planned for the coming year. Between new editions of both "Paranormal Activity" and "The Ring," "Scouts' Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse" will be released on Halloween. And on more serious topics, "13 Hours" from Michael Bay, which highlights a Benghazi rescue, will release on MLK weekend in 2016 while Michael Lewis' exploration of the housing bubble, "The Big Short" is currently shooting.
Clips from the upcoming Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell comedy "Daddy's Home" were shown next, showcasing the duo's adversarial relationship. With Ferrell portraying the stepdad and Wahlberg the estranged father, each attempts to outdo the other in an attempt to impress Ferrell's current wife -- who just happens to be Wahlberg's ex.
An extremely brief prerecorded introduction of "Star Trek 3" director Justin Lin (of "Fast & Furious" fame) by producer J.J. Abrams was followed by an immensely more entertaining video from Derek Zoolander himself! While Ben Stiller's character seemed a little confused as to the audience he was appearing in front of ("Hello Comic-Con fans in San Diego or New York!"), he excitedly spoke about the ensemble cast of "Zoolander 2" including Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Milla Jovovich (whose last name he couldn't pronounce), "Australian actress" Penelope Cruz and a bewildered Billy Zane.
Paramount then revealed their coup de grace, delivered by the arrival of "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" Tom Cruise cruise. Traipsing onto the stage to the "Mission: Impossible" theme song with co-stars Simon Pegg and newcomer Rebecca Ferguson in tow, Cruise provided an introduction to two scenes shown to the crowd. In the first, Ferguson's character Ilsa Faust is introduced in a scene where she assists Cruise's Ethan Hunt in an escape from the tortuous Bone Hunter; in the latter, she attempts to escape from Hunt and Pegg's Benji Dunn in a race through the narrow streets of Morocco.
While both scenes are filled with typical "Mission: Impossible"-style action, they pale in comparison to what appears to be the Burj Dubai-esque scene of "Rogue Nation" with Cruise scaling across an in-flight Airbus A400. Since it's well known that Cruise does his own stunts, as an extra treat he walked the crowd through what it takes to pull off such a stunt in real-life. He indicated that while shooting eight takes to get all the right angles, they had to contend with excessive wind speeds (for which he was outfitted with special contacts), frigid England winter temperatures, jet fuel fumes and even small pieces of flying debris with a particular concern for bird strikes. The star candidly admitted he was "scared shitless" while hanging off the side of the plane in a loose harness. Given just a small glimpse, it'll be great to see the scene in full effect when "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" opens July 31st.