CinemaCon 2021 – Roundup
The 10th installment of CinemaCon, the largest annual gathering of the motion picture industry, took place between 23 – 26 August 2021 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
CinemaCon is a global event that attracts delegates from more than 80 countries across the cinema industry, including studios, distributors, exhibitors and content creators.
Whilst the scale of the event was nowhere close to previous editions, mainly due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, the show did go on, with studios setting the stage for their upcoming movies and giving the industry hope, confidence and a clear message that cinema is here to stay.
Here’s a roundup of studio announcements at CinemaCon 2021:
This year’s event enumerated blockbusters such as F9, Godzilla vs. Kong, A Quiet Place Part II and Cruella as the major drivers behind the extraordinary resurgence of the cinema industry, due to their encouraging box office figures. However, the highlight of the show included the preview of upcoming tentpoles by major studios, while it was announced that most of the preview films will be exclusive theatre releases.
- MGM began its presentation with a treat to moviegoers – an announcement form studio boss Michael De Luca, that the upcoming James Bond movie ‘No Time to Die’, will stay on track for its US. release – confirmed for October 8. The studio also unveiled an early look at titles such as the Sylvester Stallone action vehicle ‘Samaritan’, Ron Howard’s cave rescue drama Thirteen Lives, and the upcoming musical ‘Cyrano’. The studio also announced new installments from a couple of their blockbuster franchises for 2022: ‘Legally Blonde 3’ and ‘Creed III’
- Universal Studios opened with Jim Orr, the studio’s president of domestic distribution, taking the stage and expressing his support for the revival of the cinema industry. The studio previewed animated title Sing 2, horror sequel and thriller ‘Halloween Kills’ and ‘The Black Phone’ (both from producer Jason Blum), a female driven thriller starring Jessica Chastain ‘The 355’, ‘Marry Me’ a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson, Michael Bay Heist’s thriller ‘Ambulance’ – starring Jake Gyllenhaal, and the upcoming animated movie ‘The Bad Guys’. Universal closed with preview clips from the stars in ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’, which will bring together cast members from the original Jurassic Park films, together with the stars from Jurassic World titles
- Focus Features head of distribution Lisa Bunnell introduced the studio’s upcoming titles. Edgar Wright unveiled footage from ‘Last Night in Soho’ – stressing on his remarks that he was personally involved in securing a fall theatrical release date for the film. Kenneth Branagh introduced footage from his upcoming film, ‘Belfast’, and Robert Eggers unveiled early footage from ‘The Northman’ – a period Viking drama which includes a stellar cast such as Alexander Skarsgard, Ethan Hawke, Nicole Kidman and William Defoe. The Focus presentation closed with footage from the new Downton Abbey film, ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’, which is scheduled for release in March 2022
- Sony Pictures produced plenty of Buzz, showcasing footage of several titles in its upcoming slate (all of which will be exclusively releasing in cinema) – mainly Brad Pitt’s action vehicle ‘Bullet Train’, and the debut trailer for ‘Spider-Man No Way Home‘. Tentpoles such as ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ and ‘Morbius’ indicated the new development of the Spiderman Universe
- Paramount Studio head of domestic distribution Chris Aronson opened with action-packed sequences from two Tom Cruise movies, ‘Top Gun Maverick’ and the next installment of ‘The Mission: Impossible’ franchise – both of which has unfortunately been pushed to 2022. Paramount’s presentation concluded with a screening of ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog’, introduced as a title that the studio is looking forward to bringing to theaters
- Lionsgate Studio previewed its 2021 and 2022 slate, showcasing a trio of faith-based titles that will be coming to theaters in fall and winter. It also screened footage from ‘American Underdog’, a sports biopic about the life of former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, which is scheduled for release on Christmas Day. Highlights of Lionsgate’s 2022 slate included a preview from Moonfall, a disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich – scheduled for February, and ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’, starring Nicolas Cage as himself – dated for April
- Warner Bros. presented James Wan’s original horror title, ‘Malignant’, ‘The Batman’ by director Matt Reeves’, the Williams Sisters biopic ‘King Richard’, and featurette for Clint Eastwood’s ‘Cry Macho’. The features also included the debut of ‘The Matrix Resurrection’. The presentation closed with video remarks from ‘Dune’ star Timothy Chalamet and director Denis Villeneuve. The duo introduced an upcoming scene of the film, which is set to hit theaters in September/October
This edition of CinemaCon also featured some discussions on the industry’s challenges coming out of the pandemic. Patty Jenkins, director of ‘Wonder Woman 1984’, emphasized that day-and-date” release is a “heartbreaking experience”. “I’m not a fan of day-and-date, and I hope to avoid it forever,” stated the filmmaker, expressing her strong preference of maintaining an exclusive theatrical window for all her upcoming films. “I don’t understand why we’re talking about throwing (the big-screen experience) away for 700 different streaming services that there’s no room for in the marketplace. It’s crazy to me,” said Jenkins. “One studio should plant a flag and make a huge move just for the theatrical experience, and the filmmakers will go there as a result”
The Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures also slammed day-and-date releases, pointing to the success of Free Guy at box office, and stated that such ‘terrific’ movies are not meant to be watched at home.
The next edition of CinemaCon is scheduled to be held between 25 – 28 April 2022.
Sources: CinemaCon and Box Office Pro