All of the major Hollywood studios (and a few up and comers and indies) descended on Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for one week beginning on April 23 for CinemaCon, where they showed theater owners and press what they have in store for the remainder of the year and part of next year via a parade of stars and exclusive footage.
It was also a place for studio executives and other industry leaders to try and soothe any concerns about ongoing instability at the box office as Hollywood heads into the summer season, which began with the debut of Avengers: Infinity War on April 27.
Highlights of the four-day gathering in Las Vegas included Charles Rivkin’s first CinemaCon speech as chief of the Motion Picture Association of America. He was among a slew of industry notables on hand Wednesday night to fete Tom Cruise who received the Will Rogers Pioneer of the Year Award, an honor generally reserved for executives. (Cruise is only the second movie star to be named Pioneer of the Year, following Bob Hope in 1980).
Jodie Foster Receives the Lifetime Achievement Award
After Tom Cruise, the most memorable moment of CinemaCon 2018 was being able to talk to Jodie Foster, who was there to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award.
One of the most memorable things that she revealed was that on the night she was at the Oscars for being nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Taxi Driver (1977), she got hives. “The minute that the presenter began to say my name, when he said Jo, I began to break out in hives. I was actually glad that I didn’t win, because I wouldn’t have known what to do.”
Warner Bros at CinemaCon 2018
At CinemaCon, Warner Bros. revealed more about its live action/CG retelling of Rudyard Kipling’s classic The Jungle Book, which it has now titled Mowgli and set to open Oct. 19. Kipling’s 1894 collection of stories was also the subject of Disney’s Jon Favreau-directed The Jungle Book, which was a critical and financial success when it opened in 2016, earning $966.6 million worldwide as well as collecting strong reviews and an Oscar for its visual effects. Disney also is planning a sequel, though Favreau is currently busy directing his next feature, Disney’s The Lion King.
Warners’ film will return audiences to the Indian jungle. Directed by multihyphenate Andy Serkis (a master of performance capture, he also plays Baloo), it features a cast that includes Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch and Cate Blanchett. Debuting the first footage from the film, Serkis said that this is a darker film version of the material.
Mowgli was originally titled Jungle Book: Origins, and had a fall 2016 release penciled in. But with frequent comparison to the Favreau film while both were in production, the release date was moved, and last December, it was confirmed that the title would be Mowgli, further differentiating it from the Disney film.
Warner Bros. takes the cake for trotting out the most stars, but giving the press the least amount of access to them.
Jason Momoa and Amber Heard introduced footage from the upcoming Aquaman movie.
Save for Helena Bonham-Carter and Rihanna, the rest of the Ocean’s 8 top billed cast, including Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina and Oscar winners Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Anne Hathaway, introduced footage from the fourth film in the rebooted franchise.
Melissa McCarthy couldn’t have been happier to introduce a clip from her 2018 summer comedy, Life of the Party.
Common, Zendaya and Channing Tatum introduce their animated film Smallfoot, which arrives in theaters this fall.
The cast of Tag unite onstage to introduce a new trailer from the film arriving in theaters this summer.
Paramount Pictures at CinemaCon 2018.
Tom Cruise and the rest of the headlining cast of the upcoming Mission: Impossible Fallout movie, introduced exclusive footage from the film.
John Cena and Hailee Steinfeld bring CinemaCon an exclusive clip from Bumblebee, a new movie in the Transformers franchise, in theaters this Christmas.
Walt Disney Pictures at CinemaCon 2018.
The most spectacular footage from CinemaCon 2018 was that of the upcoming live action version of Dumbo, in theaters in 2019. None of the film’s cast was there. But, boy, were the images and clip shown memorable.
Lionsgate at CinemaCon 2018.
For Lionsgate, Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick appeared on stage to show the audience how to make a perfect martini, in conjunction with releasing footage of their upcoming movie A Simple Favour, that seems reminiscent of Gone Girl.
Also appearing to promote their Robin Hood, Jamie Foxx and Taron Egerton.
STX at CinemaCon 2018.
Among the movies that STX trotted out on stage during their presentation, Mile 22, directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg, their fourth collaboration. And the movie Adrift, starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin.
The stars and director of each film appeared to present footage from each film.
Amazon Studios at CinemaCon 2018.
Amazon Studios might be one of the newest threats in Hollywood, but they introduced Luca Guadagnino, director of this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominee Call Me By Your Name. His upcoming film is the remake of Dario Argento’s Suspiria and features Dakota Johnson in the lead. The clip they showed both revolted and wowed the audience watching.
Universal Pictures at CinemaCon 2018.
M Night Shyamalan introduces footage from the 2019 movie Glass, a merging and sequel of Split and Unbreakable.
And Eli Roth and Jack Black introduce footage from The House With A Clock In Its Walls.
Focus Features at CinemaCon 2018.
Focus Features has been one of the most prolific at the Oscars every year since their inception. Think Brokeback Mountain, Phantom Thread, Darkest Hour, and on and on. Next Oscars will be no different. The studio, with the help of Lisa Bunnell, President of Domestic Distribution, unleashed a slew of clips and brought out endless talent, including Lucas Hedges, from the upcoming movie Boy Erased, which is based on the Best Selling book of the same name. And Saoirse Ronan from her upcoming movie Mary Queen of Scots.
20th Century Fox at CinemaCon 2018.
20th Century Fox presented footage from their film The Hate U Give (short for THUG) and brought out Amandla Stenberg. And Rami Malek from their Christmas release Bohemian Rhapsody, about the life of Queen singer Freddie Mercury.
Columbia Pictures at CinemaCon 2018.
Tom Hardy, Riz Ahmed and Michelle Williams introduce an exclusive clip from the R-Rated Venom, in theaters this fall.
Amy Pascal, Fede Alvarez and Claire Foy backstage before a clip from The Girl In The Spider’s Web debuts.
Will Ferrell introduces a clip from the the Christmas action comedy Holmes and Watson.
The cast and director of Superfly introduce the remake onstage.
The star, Leonardo DiCaprio, and director, Quentin Tarantino, of the 2019 theatrical release Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, a story based on the last days of Sharon Tate, who was murdered by Charles Manson, make a surprise appearance.
CinemaCon 2018 Live from Las Vegas
Hollywood A-listers Take Over 2018 CinemaCon