As the lights dimmed in The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, 20th Century Fox began its presentation with DJ Enferno commanding the room from an elevated booth onstage. What began as scratching to the 20th Century Fox theme segued into a remix of “The Peanuts Movie” theme, as the Academy of Villains dance troupe performed acrobatics.
President of Domestic Distribution Chris Aronson was introduced, sauntering onstage in a B-boy outfit, complete with massive headphones. Approaching the lectern, he spoke into the mic only to begin speaking in the Charlie Brown teacher voice — “wah wah wah wah” — to the amusement of the packed house. After a quick transition into a suit, Aronson announced the studio is “very excited about ‘The Peanuts Movie,'” and introduced a never-before-seen montage of footage from the upcoming 3D animated feature set to The Who’s “Baba O’Reily.”
The montage featured everyone’s favorite characters, from Schroeder and Pig-Pen, to van Pelt siblings Linus and Lucy, to Peppermint Patty and the film’s main stars, Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Scenes included Charlie Brown’s attempts to meet The Little Red-Haired Girl, Snoopy dive-bombing in an aerial assault against the Red Baron, and a school dance with the whole cast of characters.
Following the “Peanuts” footage, Aronson transitioned the presentation to a pair of Fox executives: Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos and Film Studio Co-Chair and former Dreamworks Co-Chairman/CEO Stacy Snider. The duo proceeded to introduce footage from a multitude of releases the studio has in the upcoming year.
In an entertaining segment highlighting the upcoming movie “Spy,” 50 Cent appeared onstage, claiming to be a disguised Melissa McCarthy, bragging about being able to get into OMNIA Nightclub and “pulling tail like Sinatra.” Similarly, McCarthy appeared on the big screen claiming to be 50 Cent, reflecting that the outfit allowed him to pick up apples from Trader Joe’s whenever he cared to. As he left the stage, the real-life 50 onstage yelled to the incognito 50 on the screen “Thanks, 50!” to a large round of laughs.
Fox then brought out “Spy” cast members Jason Statham, Rose Byrne and Jude Law, who quipped with one another onstage. Statham, referring to McCarthy’s 50 Cent disguise, said, “it’s that kind of commitment that makes her the best.” Byrne praised Statham’s funny movie performance. “Don’t get me wrong — he’s still killing people, but in a quite funny way.”
The lights dimmed, and a demonic clown face appeared onscreen to usher in scenes from an upcoming Poltergeist remake. The extended clips showcased a substantial amount of footage not previously shown, including classic scenes including, “They’re here!” the clown attack, and — probably the original’s creepiest moment — face peeling. Snider remarked, “This proves, once and for all: clowns are not cute — they’re creepy.”
After showing scenes from the coming-of-age story “Paper Towns” and an extended trailer for “Hitman: Agent 47,” of which Gianopulos said he “feels confident will launch a new franchise for the studio. Featuring a lot more action than the first movie, the sequel’s footage highlight was a perilous jet engine scene with a strung-up Katia van Dees (Hannah Ware).
New footage of “Victor Frankenstein” showcased James McAvoy as the title character and Daniel Radcliffe as Igor. With an apparently dystopian and certainly steampunk backdrop, scenes of The Monster being brought to life were shown, providing a view of the story from Igor’s perspective — a vantage point never previously explored.
In a huge introduction, the cast of “Fantastic Four” arrived onstage. Miles Teller (Reed Richards – Mr. Fantastic), Kate Mara (Susan Storm – Invisible Woman), Michael B. Jordan (Johnny Storm – Human Torch) and Jamie Bell (Ben Grimm – The Thing) joked about a belonging to a Secret League of Superheroes populated by actors who have brought fanboy favorites to life before introducing the newest trailer. Seeing more than a glimpse of the quartet with their powers in full-effect — and Doom! — on the big screen makes this reboot a bit more tempting.
Raw footage of “The Revenant,” starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hardy, was previewed. Shot with only natural lighting in the Canadian backwoods, the period film has a gritty and realistic tone. A preview of a “Hangover”-esque “Alvin and the Chimpmunks: The Road Chip” was billed as a “raucous comedy,” but seemed like more of the same.
To close out the session, Matt Damon was shown (in prerecorded footage) joking about being left behind at the airport by the Fox crew heading to CinemaCon in a manner similar to the premise of his new film, “The Martian.” However, in the movie, his astronaut character Mark Watney is left just a tad bit farther away — on Mars.
A clip from the movie showcased a fight for survival, as Watney has to engineer a means of growing food on a planet that doesn’t support life on its own with only the supplies left behind — think Apollo 13 on Mars — while attempting to communicate with the rest of his departed crew and NASA itself. The footage conveyed tension and a sense of isolation, while not completely eradicated hope that the castaway will find himself rescued.
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