By Phil Contrino
Jeff Robinov, president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, took the stage of The Coliseum Theatre on Tuesday morning to introduce footage from Warner Brothers' impressive 2012 slate.
Dark Shadows: Tim Burton made a brief introduction in which he discusses being obsessed with the Dark Shadows show as a kid. Burton then introduced Johnny Depp to rapturous applause. Depp said simply, "Have fun" right before the clip played. The audience reaction was strong, but not overly enthusiastic.
The Dark Knight Rises: Christopher Nolan took the stage to introduce a series of images and brief scene snippets from his highly-anticipated film. There was plenty of Bane and Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle to keep Batman enthusiasts entranced. The audience reaction was overwhelmingly positive.
Rock of Ages: Director Adam Shankman won the crowd over by joking, "I want to be Christopher Nolan when I grow up." It was the perfect way to lighten the mood after the serious tone of Dark Knight Rises. The footage of Rock of Ages featured plenty of Tom Cruise's rendition of "Wanted: Dead or Alive." Attendees responded well.
The Campaign: Jay Roach introduced a rough trailer for this Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis vehicle. Following in the great tradition of The Hangover and Horrible Bosses, both of which brought the house down at past Vegas events, The Campaign was met with a very warm reception. Keep a close eye on this one.
The Great Gatsby: Any concerns about Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby being a bad fit for 3D were squashed by this incredibly impressive series of clips. Luhrmann introduced the footage via a recorded message.
The Hobbit: This extended look at Peter Jackson's new film will be picked apart for a while to come. Jackson introduced the footage via recorded message and he warned that 48-frames-per-second cinema takes some time to adjust to. Audience reactions were mixed at best. Like any new technology, a higher frame will certainly have its mix of champions and detractors.
By Phil Contrino
Sacha Baron Cohen stole the show during Paramount's reel presentation at CinemaCon on Monday evening.
Cohen appeared in character as The Dictator's General Aladeen, shocking those in attendance. As he made his way down the aisle of The Coliseum Theatre in Caesars Palace, Cohen asked one attendee, "How much for your daughter?"
Once on stage, Cohen made plenty of jokes aimed at Hollywood. "I thought I was the only dictator here, but then I found out Jeffrey Katzenberg is here as well," quipped Cohen. The best joke of the bit came at the expense of Disney. Cohen joked that if exhibitors didn't book his film he would ignite bombs under their seats before saying, "Trust me, there are bigger bombs than John Carter. Calm down, Disney. I'll employ all of you. I'll kill your executive. Wait, you already did." The last part referenced the recent firing of studio head Rich Ross.
Cohen is doing all he can to drum up publicity for The Dictator—but Paramount's decision to move the film from a May 11 release date to May 16 does not bode well. The actor was riding high after Borat until Brüno destroyed a lot of mainstream good will. It's also very likely that jokes about terrorism—of which The Dictator seems to have plenty—won't come across as funny to a lot of viewers.
The dozens of displays lined up in the halls of Caesars Palace make walking around during CinemaCon a treat for any film enthusiast. The convention focuses a lot of attention on the summer slate, and there's plenty of promotion for such high-profile releases as The Amazing Spider-Man, Total Recall and Ted. A handful of fall releases such as The Hobbit and Les Miserables also have a presence at the event.
Here are a few shots of some of this year's displays:
WASHINGTON D.C. -- Sylvester Stallone will receive the "CinemaCon® Career Achievement Award," it was announced today by the convention's managing director, Mitch Neuhauser. CinemaCon, the official convention of The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), the largest and most important gathering of cinema owners and operators from around the world, will be held April 23 - 26, 2012 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Stallone will be presented with this special honor at the "CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards" ceremony to take place on Thursday evening, April 26, in The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The Coca-Cola Company, the official presenting sponsor of CinemaCon, will host the final night gala awards program.
"Sylvester Stallone has proven himself time and time again to be a prolific actor, writer and director over the years," says Neuhauser. "Throughout his incredible career spanning nearly 40 years, Sylvester has established his ability to continually captivate his audiences. We are very thrilled to acknowledge his remarkable career by honoring him with our ‘CinemaCon® Career Achievement Award.'"
Stallone can next be seen in Liongate's highly anticipated sequel, "The Expendables 2." On August 17, 2012, the star-studded cast is back when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job. The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney (Stallone) and his band of old-school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time. Joining Stallone are the newest cast members Liam Hemsworth, Scott Adkins, martial arts legends Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Dame, and Chinese actress Yu Nan as the first female Expendable. Reprising actors include Stallone, Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture.
Stallone, the only actor to open a number one box office hit across five decades, escalated to icon status with his stunning portrayal of prize fighter Rocky Balboa in the seminal motion picture "Rocky." The film grew to a franchise of five sequels that ended in 2006 when Stallone concluded the series with "Rocky Balboa," a critical and audience success which resolutely confirmed both Stallone and Rocky as iconic cultural symbols. In addition to his most recent release, "The Expendables," Stallone has written, directed and starred in "Rambo," "Rocky II" and "Paradise Alley." As actor and co-writer, Stallone filmed "F.I.S.T.," "First Blood," "Rambo: First Blood Part II" and "Rambo III." He co-wrote, directed and produced "Staying Alive," and starred in "Nighthawks," "Victory," "Tango & Cash," "Cop Land," "Demolition Man" and "Lock Up." Stallone has also appeared in other films such as "Get Carter," "Driven" and "Avenging Angelo." He is presently filming a starring role in "The Tomb."
Grosses for April 20-22, 2012:
Battleship: $58.4 million from 9,038 locations in 50 territories. International cume = $129.6 million
The Hunger Games: $13 million. International cume = $215.8 million
American Reunion: $9.5 million from 2,942 locations in 37 territories. International cume = $56 million
Wrath of the Titans: $8 million from 62 territories. International cume = $201 million
The Pirates! Band of Misfits: $7.8 million from 4,580 locations in 46 markets. International cume = $55.9 million
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax: $5.1 million from 3,298 locations in 49 territories. International cume = $83.3 million
The Lucky One: $3.8 million from 545 locations. International cume = $3.8 million
21 Jump Street: $3.1 million from 1,220 locations in 23 markets. International cume = $39.5 million