Sony was the first studio up at CinemaCon this year, and they got the show off to a great start with a look at some of the 20 movies coming to theaters worldwide, highlighting a strategy that focuses on increased investment in literary properties, animation and signature directors.

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First up was an original movie from director Edgar Wright, Baby Driver, a “car movie driven by music” starring Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, Lily James and Jamie Foxx. There are 35 songs written into the script, and apparently, the car chases were as arduous to film as they are exciting to watch, shot on real locations with real cars and real driving. If the first scene is any indication, it truly is a movie designed to fill the silver screen and give exhibitors’ fancy new sound systems a workout when it opens on June 28.

Then came a first look at Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, starring Idris Elba as the gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey as the man in black, with Tom Taylor, Claudia Kiim, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee and Jackie Earle Haley. The footage was dark, beautiful and stunning – fans of the novel will not be disappointed when it hits the big screen July 28.

Sony Pictures Animation promised a year-round slate of movies, including Smurfs: The Lost Village (a sequel with girl smurfs!), Hotel Transylvania 3, an animated Spiderman, The Star (featuring the Christmas story from the donkey’s point of view), The Emoji Movie (the secret world inside your phone, with the esteemed Sir Patrick Steward playing…Poop) and Peter Rabbit, a new animated/live action hybrid telling of the classic cotton tail tale just in time for Easter.

The presentation then continued as Ryan Gosling took the stage to introduce a new trailer for Blade Runner 2049, the continuation of the 1982 Ridley Scott classic now starring Gosling and featuring the return of Harrison Ford and Edward James Olmos. Gosling, who was two when the original came out, talked about how surreal it was to be in the world of such a classic movie on set (which, like Baby Driver, employs physical locations, sets and props rather than CGI), and told CinemaCon audiences to, “prepare to go steady with the edge of your seat!” When the lights came up after the thrilling footage, Sony Pictures Chairman Tom Rothman gleefully stated, “Netflix my ass!” Indeed.

Speaking of which, there’s a new Spider-Man in town, as Tom Holland talked about his role as the young Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming, highlighting how the web slinger has really always been a part of the Marvel cinematic universe with the second trailer premiere.

Sony then presented brief looks at several upcoming movies – the extremely creepy horror flick Cadaver coming to theaters on February 8 2018; Proud Mary, the story of an assassin played by Taraji P. Henson; the Flatliners remake due out September 29; a new Denzel Washington untitled film from director Dan Gilroy; and a Weekend At Bernie’s-esque chick flick called Rough Night – before wrapping it up with Dwayne Johnson taking the stage alongside Jack Black, Nick Jonas, Karen Gillan and Kevin Hart (via video) to take a fun look at Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, out on December 22. It looks like a great updated take that pays homage to the original while being hilariously “evolved and global.”

Also cool to see, as noted by The Hollywood Reporter, was Sony’s experimentation with a new theater technology called projection mapping — the use of projectors to display images on non-flat, non-screen surfaces. It gave an interesting immersive effect to the big screen graphics throughout the presentation as they wrapped around the proscenium and walls of the Colosseum, and is just one of the things studios and exhibitors are working on to continue to innovate in theaters.

On deck, CinemaCon presentations from STX, Paramount Pictures, and Disney.



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