Catching you up on some of our favorite things to come out of CinemaCon this week:





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Disney and Universal were up next on Wednesday to showcase their upcoming film slates.

The Walt Disney Studios

As Disney’s Dave Hollis, head of distribution said, “It’s a great time for movies in a movie theater,” and there is no shortage of great content coming up from Disney’s five studios (Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Animation, Disney Studios, Pixar and LucasFilm).

Star Wars VIII is in production, but before the continuation of that story, movie fans will get to go back in time and explore the world of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, set just before the start of the original 1977 Star Wars film, as the Rebels set out on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star.

There will be a new Disney princess in town this Thanksgiving — Moana, a new film from Disney Animation, tells the story of a young woman using her navigational talents to set sail for a fabled island. Joining her on the adventure is her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson. (Is there any film he’s NOT in this year?) The movie will also feature music from Hamilton composer Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The studio is also continuing it’s live-action versions of what Disney does better than anyone else — the modern fairy tale.  In addition to The Jungle Book opening on Friday, fans can look forward to Alice Through The Looking Glass with the return of the original zany cast of characters in May, Pete’s Dragon featuring Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford, and Beauty and The Beast starring Emma Watson as Belle.

Disney also highlighted a real-life Cinderella story, The Queen of Katwe, a biographical drama about a Ugandan chess prodigy starring Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, and newcomer Madina Nalwanga. Hollis pointed out, “If you do not weep at this story, you’re a cyborg!”

Back on the animation front, the studio showcased the beautiful new trailer for Stephen Spielberg’s The BFG, showing the audience that “the world is more giant than you can imagine.” Based on the Roald Dahl book, the giants, big friendly or otherwise, are sure to capture kids’ imaginations on July 1.

And 13 years after Finding Nemo, the lovable fish are back in Finding Dory. CinemaCon audiences were treated to the first 27 minutes of the new film, and if you liked the first one, you’ll love this one even more as Dory, Nemo and Marlin set out on a quest to reunite Dory with her parents, encountering a new cast of characters including sea lions, octopi and Sigourney Weaver along the way.

Finally came the obligatory superhero movies, and Marvel Studios didn’t disappoint. Doctor Strange, shot on locations in Nepal and elsewhere, will challenge moviegoers to “open your mind, change your reality” on November 16. The visually stunning trailer starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the powerful sorcerer, looks to excite even non-Marvel fans.

Disney’s presentation concluded with the screening of Captain America: Civil War, featuring pretty much every superhero character in that universe that we’ve met so far – and a few new ones! When this one opens May 6, there’s no doubt it’ll break records!

Universal Pictures

Universal’s Nick Carpou, president of domestic distribution, and Donna Langley, chairman, highlighted a select mix of films in all genres for all audiences with great trailers created exclusively for CinemaCon audiences that had never been seen before — which is always a pleasure.

Up first was Warcraft, the first film version of the most popular online game of all time. Director Duncan Jones introduced the new trailer, saying that, “this story shows that heroes come in all sizes, but a film like this can only come in one size — really big!”

The Girl on the Train, based on the hit book and starring Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson, is due out in October 2016. According to Director Tate Taylor, “It’s got all the things that you go to the movies for —sex, infidelity, deception, obsession, more sex, a little bit of murder, and plenty of cocktails.”

After a nearly 10-year hiatus, Matt Damon is back as Jason Bourne in a new plot that takes him to Greece, Berlin, London, Washington, DC and Las Vegas for the best Bourne chase scene ever filmed (they shut down the Strip for several weeks every night to shoot it!)

Kevin Hart took the stage with Vegas showgirls to introduce his combination action/comedy film Kevin Hart: What Now?, which documents his epic performance in front of a crowd of 50,000 people at Philadelphia’s outdoor Lincoln Financial Field football stadium — his largest crowd ever for a comedy show.

Universal’s Illumination Entertainment has a great animated line up in store for movie fans this year as well, starting with July 8th’s The Secret Life of Pets, which will also include an exclusive Mower Minions animated short before the film in theaters. The animation is gorgeous, and the story of what our pets do when we’re not around is sure to appeal to animal lovers everywhere. Another original animated story, Sing, tells the story of down-on-his-luck koala impresario Buster Moon’s big idea to put on a singing contest at his theater, featuring the voices of Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton, Matthew McConaughey, Seth McFarlane, Reese Witherspoon and more singing their hearts out.

But perhaps coolest of all, CinemaCon attendees were given the chance to see some early animation tests for two exciting new films coming up next year — Despicable Me 3 and The Grinch. In Despicable Me 3, Gru learns he has a long lost twin brother Dru (both voiced by Steve Carell) the exact opposite of him in every way. Together they must thwart Balthazar (Trey Parker), a deranged 80’s child star with some totally tubular dance moves, driven to super-villainy by the cancellation of his TV series when he hit puberty.  And, The Grinch is going to be back stealing Christmas in 2017 in a new animated version starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of the green one himself. Normally we wouldn’t want to touch a remake of this animated classic with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole, but the initial character animations looked wonderful, and if anyone can win fans over, the talented Cumberbatch can.


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