Catching you up on some of our favorite things to come out of CinemaCon this week:
NCM is back on location in Las Vegas at CinemaCon 2016, kicking of the biggest annual film industry gathering in America. A great montage of movie scenes shot at Caesar’s Palace got the Gala Opening Night Event off to a fun start as the first studio up, Paramount Pictures, gave attendees a snapshot of what’s coming up from the studio this year.
Cowabunga, dude! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, the explosive sequel starring Megan Fox and Will Arnett, will revisit The Turtles as they return to save the city from a dangerous threat. Fox and Arnett even had a special pizza delivery on stage to enjoy while watching the never-before-seen Turtles footage.
Epic Ben-Hur was next up, in theaters August 19, with an introduction from the voice of Morgan Freeman and star Jack Huston, who promised that, “for the first time in 3D, we will tell this story to a new generation.” The original won 11 Academy Awards, and from what we could tell from the new expanded teaser, the chariot race certainly lives up to that legacy.
Tom Cruise, in a taped message from London, presented the next film in his franchise, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, happily declaring that the film was, “real classic movie-movie stuff.” Cruise also said he was already hard at work on the next Mission Impossible, which starts filming this fall. Also appearing via video was Vin Diesel hyping xXx: The Return of Xander Cage and Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron and the rest of the lifeguard cast talking beaches, balls and butts in new clips from the Baywatch movie.
On a more sophisticated note, the studio also announced that Stephen Frears’ Meryl Streep-Hugh Grant period piece Florence Foster Jenkins will open in the U.S. on August 12. The film is the true story of a New York heiress and socialite who pursued her dream of becoming an opera singer despite the fact that she couldn’t actually sing. Other films highlighted included Allied, a World War II spy movie with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard out this Thanksgiving, and Fences, a film version of the Tony Award-winning play starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.
Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner then took the stage to introduce the very compelling first trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s Story of Your Life, the story of a language expert who is recruited to translate for a newly-arrived extraterrestrial race. Renner said he was drawn to the project because, “It’s Amy’s story, and there’s not enough cinema in Hollywood where we have a strong, badass, intelligent female lead,” he said. “I think that’s important.”
Surprisingly absent from the Paramount presentation was new footage Star Trek Beyond, the highly-anticipated film sequel to the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness, which we can’t wait to see on July 22. And speaking of which, Star Trek Beyond co-writer and co-star Simon Pegg did take the stage to present movie franchise helmsman J.J. Abrams with the CinemaCon Showman of the Year Award, who spoke about the way he, and the rest of the moviegoing public “looked up to the movies,” adding that, “some of the favorite moments in my life happened at the movies. There is nothing better than going to the movies, and there never will be.”
But the special star that stole everyone’s heart was 91-year-old Evylena Shubarth, a cashier at the Cinemark theater in Colorado Springs, CO, who was there as a guest of NATO representing the millions of people in the movie theater industry. She’s worked at movie theaters for nearly 47 years, and attributes her longevity to her desire to “keep selling tickets!” Now if that’s not a great mantra for Hollywood, we don’t know what is!