Note from the editor: This is the first of a 3-part recap of CinemaCon 2017 by Godolphin (a member of the FoCC forum)
CinemaCon is a movie convention that took place in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace hotel and casino from Monday March 27 to Thursday March 30, 2017. This convention is not open to the public. Attendees are mainly cinema owners and staff along with various other companies involved with the cinema and movie industries. If you are lucky enough to have friends in high places you might be able to get on the guest lists of the movie studios hosting panels and parties.
If you do qualify to attend, the 4-day badge will cost approximately $1,000. If I could pay $1,000 for an SDCC badge that came with zero lines and a guaranteed seat in all Hall H panels plus all food and drinks for the week plus swag, I would jump at the chance. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included with the cost of your badge. Dinner being the highlight with gourmet food along with an open bar.
Other pluses for this con include hotels within walking distance for under $100 per night and more ‘A’ list Hollywood stars per presentation than you can imagine.
Gala opening night presentation and party
The opening night started off with the first studio presentation from Sony Pictures Entertainment. I unfortunately only caught the end of this presentation where I saw extended footage from the Scarlett Johansson comedy Rough Night. There were some laugh out loud moments and it reminded me of similar movies such as The Hangover and Bridesmaids. I think this will be a box office hit.
Closing out the Sony presentation was Jumanji with most of the cast appearing on stage including Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black. The extended footage screened looked great.
Next, I was off to the after-party sponsored by Dolby and Sony. I was one of the first people to enter and was wowed by the spread. Multiple buffet style locations on two floors, including carving stations and food selections such as rack of lamb. There was a full candy bar and desserts stations along with an open bar, which as usual, I made full use of. Also, there was a huge Spiderman Homecoming theme, including a Spiderman flying around on this ‘pole-like’ apparatus. Upon leaving we received Spiderman Homecoming swag which was a drawstring bag with hoodie inside.
Highlights of the STX films presentation were seeing the Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets trailers in 3D after a presentation by director Luc Besson and star Cara Delevigne. The footage looked stunning, bringing back memories of The Fifth Element. Cara and Luc came off of the stage and sat in the audience to watch the new trailer; Cara seemed genuinely blown away by it. Plus a Valerian swag backpack was given after the presentation.
There were also two floors of trade show booths, with one floor dedicated to vendors showing off various candy and drinks, etc. sold at movie concession stands. Plus every year there is a silent auction benefiting the Variety Children’s Charity. Lots of unique items and signed memorabilia were present.
Paramount pictures was up next with their presentation. They really brought out the stars and footage for their future films. Highlights for me were the Alexander Payne film Downsizing starring Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig. Matt Damon came onstage to show us a full 10 minutes of footage. The premise of this film is that in the future you can shrink yourself to 5 inches tall and live in luxury in a miniature town. Everyone in attendance gave a big round of applause after the footage was shown.
The largest round of applause that I heard at any presentation all week was when former Vice President Al Gore took to the stage to show footage from his Inconvenient Truth sequel, Truth to Power.
Another movie that I can’t wait to see in the cinema is the futuristic thriller Annihilation from director Alex Garland, based on the book by Jeff VanderMeer and starring Natalie Portman as a wife whose husband, played by Oscar Isaac, returns home 12 months after being presumed dead in combat. He is confused and doesn’t know how he got home or where he came from. Natalie Portman’s character has to join a mission to a strange world to find out what happened to her husband. They showed about 10 minutes of footage.
The cast of Baywatch took the stage, followed up by Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Hopkins for Transformers the Last Knight. Also George Clooney, Julianne Moore, and Matt Damon (again) were on stage for Suburbicon.
There were too many stars to list here, unlike the final presentation of the night Walt Disney Studios, which had zero stars and zero footage. The presentation lasted approximately 12 minutes, followed by a showing of the film Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales. I haven’t really watched the Pirates series of films since the second one but this was pretty good and the special effects for Javier Bardem’s crew were on the screen was awesome.
To close the evening there was a Pirates of the Caribbean themed party with great food and drinks. [To be continued in Part Two….]