Every year I look forward to one of the most amazing events that the city of Las Vegas hosts and this year was no exception as CINEMACON 2018 brings the best in what the studios have to offer theater owners.
CINEMACON is a fascinating gathering of people who have the chance to be a part of what is up and coming by seeing the trade show and demonstrations of all things that make their way into theatres. From the latest innovations in theater sound to the eye catching and stunning capabilities of the next generation of projection equipment, CINEMACON is a feast for those of us who love everything that goes behind and in front of the big screen.
Also part of CINEMACON is the anticipated presentations by the studios that come each year to share with theater owners what will be coming by way of entertainment for movie lovers of all kinds. For four days, the excitement builds with each presentation and the studios do not disappoint.
The studios of SONY begins the four day event with their slate of films that include SUPERFLY with Trevor Jackson and Jason Mitchell, SICARIO: Day of the Soldado with Benicio Del Toro, THE EQUALIZER 2, WHITE BOY RICK with Matthew McConaughey and Jeff Robinov, the highly anticipated VENOM with Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams, THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB with the Queen herself Claire Foy and Fede Alvarez, SPIDER-MAN: Into the Spider-Verse, HOLMES AND WATSON with the beloved Will Ferrell breaking out into song and finally, MISS BALA with Gina Rodriguez and Anthony Mackie due in theaters January 25, 2019.
On day two, Disney brings in their line up that includes many live action stories. Also celebrating the 10 year anniversary for Marvel Studios beginning with IRON MAN, it is 14.8 billion dollars later and here we are with AVENGERS: Infinity War. Also coming to theaters is ANT MAN and the WASP bringing Paul Rudd back to his tiny role in a huge film. Disney also announced that Brie Larson is the new CAPTAIN MARVEL with a story set in the 90’s and will be on the big screen in March 2019.
The live action CHRISTOPHER ROBIN stars Ewan McGregor as Christopher all grown up and forgetting what it is like to be a child but with the help of some old friends he might just remember once again. THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS brings McKenzie Foy of TWILIGHT fame now playing Clara. Rounding out the cast is Morgan Freeman, Kiera Knightely and Helen Mirren.
This December is the return of a beloved nanny as Emily Blunt dons the cap and umbrella for MARY POPPINS RETURNS. Jane and Michael are now grown and seem to be in need of help that only Mary Poppins can provide. Look to see a few familiar faces in the cast as well as we all travel once again to the house on Cherry Tree Lane!
Tim Burton is bringing a live action DUMBO to the 2019 Disney slate starring Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton, Colin Farrell and Eva Green among others to tell the story of an elephant who can fly. ALADDIN is Guy Ritchie’s vision of the live action story of a peasant from Agraba who meets a princess looking for more excitement in her life and Will Smith is the Genie.
From Pixar and Disney Animation comes the one film I have been waiting for. Writer and director Brad Bird brings a family of supers back to fight for us all once again as INCREDIBLES 2 will fill theater seats this summer on June 15. Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter and Samuel L. Jackson returns as Frozone! Wait until you see what Jack-Jack has been up to!
WRECK IT RALPH 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet comes swinging into theaters for the whole family this fall and you can be sure that the story will be as epic as the first.
Lucas Films brings the next film with the anticipated SOLO: A Star Wars Story this May. Ron Howard along with Lawrence and John Kasdan bring the story of our favorite scruffy-looking-nerf-herder to life. Hopefully we will get all the answers to Han Solo’s life and with Ron Howard at the helm I am absolutely looking forward to the film.
The future of Disney includes director Kenneth Branagh’s telling of the Eoin Coifer book ARTEMIS FOWL starring Dame Judy Dench, Josh Gad and Lara McDonnell. Anna and Elsa return in FROZEN 2 in the fall of 2019 and finally THE LION KING will bring the return of James Earl Jones as Mufasa to this live action film.
WARNER BROS. pictures bring Will Arnett out to introduce their coming films starting with AQUAMAN as Jason Mamoa, Amber Heard and Patrick Wilson join director James Wan to talk about the underwater thrill ride to come. Also announced is the coming of SHAZAM and the next installment of WONDER WOMAN.
Melissa McCarthy is set to be the LIFE OF THE PARTY hitting theaters May 11th, OCEANS 8 brings its bevy of beauties with Sandra Bullock at the helm, TAG has Ed Helm, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Jake Johnson and Hannibal Buress playing the adult version of the game and Jason Statham prepares for what swims big in the water with THE MEG. If frights are what you are looking for then this fall beware of THE NUN or perhaps you’d like something a little more clownish with the return of IT: Chapter 2 due in theaters September 2019.
In animation, Arnett was more than happy to talk about the upcoming TEEN TITAN GO! TO THE MOVIES and for more animated fun, Channing Tatum, Zendaya and Common bring SMALL FOOT to families.
CRAZY RICH ASIANS is a film based on the best selling novel and it proves that perspective mother-in-laws are pretty much the same all over the world. Andy Serkis brings the live action story of MOWGLI with the voices of Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch and Matthew Rhys. Bradley Cooper retells A STAR IS BORN starring himself and Lady GaGa.
FANTASTIC BEASTS: The Crimes of Grindelwald starring Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law and Johnny Depp is going to make the month of November one of the most anticipated. Newt Scamander is back at Hogwarts and once again there is trouble afoot in the wizarding world. That’s all I need to say because the line around the theater is going to be endless!
The studio STX brings Chairman Adam Fogelson center stage to introduce a film I am excited to see with ADRIFT starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin coming this June. On the water two people in love find that the elements aren’t always on their side. PEPPERMIND with Jennifer Garner is about a Mother who refuses to see injustice go unpunished, SECOND ACT has Jennifer Lopez back on the screen as a woman looking to change her life one more time.
My granddaughter is thrilled to know that UGLY DOLLS will be making its debut May of 2019 and Melissa McCarthy with husband Ben Falcone are part of the human-puppet experience with the HAPPY TIME MURDERS.
Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg are together again bringing Lauren Cohan and Ronda Rousey along for the action thriller MILE 22. It is clear that Wahlberg and Berg have a partnership that makes for fantastic story telling as they succeeded in showing us just that with last years films DEEPWATER HORIZON and PATRIOTS DAY.
Entertainment Studios will be bringing the animated feature ANIMAL CRACKERS to the entire family voiced by John Krazinski, Emily Blunt, Danny DeVito and Sylvester Stallone. Also GOD BLESS THIS BROKEN ROAD and BOSS LEVEL with Mel Gibson. Finally, the return of a guilty pleasure as the sharks have another go at 47 METERS DOWN 2.
UNIVERSAL PICTURES brings Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish together for a little NIGHT SCHOOL. Hart also says he will be returning as Snowball in SNOWBALL: THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2. Founder of Illumination Chris Meledandri promises the return of our favorite overhaul wearing little people in MINIONS RETURN and another SING film. Benedict Cumberbatch will be the voice of THE GRINCH in this telling of his life again.
Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy and director Damien Chazelle bring the story of Neil Armstrong in the film FIRST MAN. Jack Black, Eli Roth and Cate Blanchett bring the Amblin Entertainment film THE HOUSE WITH THE CLOCK IN ITS WALLS. It looks to be quite the story! Director Gerard McMurray return to bring another Fourth of July chapter of THE FIRST PURGE. Peter Jackson brings his next epic story with MORTAL ENGINES this December.
Laurie Strode is back forty years later as Michael Meyers isn’t quite done with Haddonfield in HALLOWEEN. Jamie Lee Curtis says the film is ‘hella scary’ with the promise that it will scare us all beyond belief. Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan is bringing Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and James McAvoy together for a final showdown in the film GLASS. Jackson is fairly thrilled that he finally has a film names after his character.
For Toothless fans out there of which I’m sure there are many, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: The Hidden World will be dazzling us with all things dragon from DreamWorks in March of 2019.
Dwayne Johnson brings another high intensity action film reminding us all what fun those can be in a theater with SKYSCRAPER. He says that SKYSCRAPER will be an experience that audiences will remember and also says that when fans love it, “I’m going to take complete credit” in a joking way that only Johnson can do.
MAMA MIA! Here We Go Again brings the sites of the Greek Isles along with the music of Abba in this next installment. The story brings Sophie, played by Amanda Seyfried, on a journey to learn about her mother Donna in her younger years played by Lily James. Mixing the present with the past, MAMA MIA! Here We Go Again will have audiences cheering once again as well. I will admit I went full on squeal-fan when Cher came to the Colusseum stage and performed the Abba song Fernando. It was an experience that the audience will never forget – ever!
Finally, JURASSIC WORLD: Fallen Kingdom brings Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard center stage to talk about the film. Pratt promises that it is going to be a good summer but I have to say that anytime dinosaurs are around, it’s going to be epic! I’m sort of thrilled that Blue comes back in this film; I always like a dinosaur that makes that kind of impact in a film.
Focus Features brings Charlize Theron in a film that I know should be seen by any woman who gets the chaos of family life in the film TULLY. I absolutely love this film. Also coming from the studio is POPE FRANCIS: A Man of His Word and a film about a man we all know as Mr. Rogers in WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR.
Domhnall Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, Ruth Wilson and Will Poulter star in THE LITTLE STRANGER and Rowan Atkinson is back with JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN. Felicity Jones and Mimi Leder talk ON THE BASIS OF SEX as Ms. Jones compares her character to Rocky! Joel Edgerton and Lucas Hedges star in BOY ERASED. Finally, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie are two fierce queens in the film MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS. I personally am looking so forward to seeing these two actresses go all out regal.
Paramount Pictures brings it’s slate and talent beginning with Hailee Steinfelt and John Cena in BUMBLEBEE directed by Travis Knight. His resume is pretty impressive with the films CORALINE, BOXTROLLS, PARANORMAN and my favorite KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS.
When these four women come to the stage, you know the film has got to be epic! Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen and Diane Keaton are lovely ladies deciding if there are more chapters to their lives in THE BOOKCLUB. Also coming from Paramount is the film ELI, DORA THE EXPLORER and ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?
Taraji P. Henson thinks she knows WHAT MEN WANT, director Sean Anders brings Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne together to make an INSTANT FAMILY, Will Smith is the GEMINI MAN and Linda Hamilton along with Arnold Schwarzenegger return for another TERMINATOR. In animation there is WONDER PARK with Ken Jeong and Mila Kunis, MONSTER ON THE HILL, LUCK, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG and THE SPONGE BOB SQUARE PANTS MOVIE: The Wonderful Sponge.
Also in the works from Paramount Pictures is TOP GUN 2, PET CEMETARY, and ACTION POINT with Johnny Knoxville as an amusement park owner with a business that is disturbingly amusing! Also J.J. Abrams brings the first R-rated film from the company Bad Robot with the title of OVERLORD. Abrams calls the film ‘batsh*t crazy!’
Tom Cruise is back with Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg and Rebecca Ferguson in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: Fallout. Also, Cruise received the PIONEER OF THE YEAR Award at a dinner.
20th Century Fox knows how to start out a presentation as dancers with the Deadpool theme give the audience a morning of song and dance, Chris Aronson get caught between the sheets because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. ALITA: Battle Angel is a James Cameron and Jon Landau works with director Robert Rodriguez. The director says that his process is keeping the heart and soul of his protagonist keeping her strong and relatable.
THE HATE U GIVE and THE DARKEST MINDS bring the YA film genre front and center. BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE stars Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth and Dakota Johnson in an eerie tale that I have just got to see. WIDOWS brings together four women and the only thing they have in common is death and debt starring Viola Davis.
THE PREDATOR is back in the hands of director Shake Black starring Olivia Munn and Sterling K. Brown. Rami Malek has a chance to bring back one of the most iconic performers in music history as Freddy Mercury in BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.
Amazon Studios brings their slate and the story of John Callahan as Joaquin Phoenix, Jack Black and Jonah Hill bring Gus Van Sant together for DON’T WORRY HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT. The documentary GENERATION WEALTH might have a few people’s jaws dropping as director Lauren Greenfield surmises that ‘No matter how much people have, they want more’ PETERLOO brings a story of the 1819 massacre by British forces against a peaceful pro-democracy rally in Manchester.
Also, Pawel Pawlikowski’s work COLD WAR, Rosamund Pike as Madame Curie in RADIOACTIVE, PHOTOGRAPH, Viola Davis and Allison Janney in TROUPE ZERO, Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in THE AERONAUTS, and Luca Gudagnino’s retelling of SUSPIRIA starring Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson. Steve Carell and Timothy Chalamet bring director Felix Van Groeningen’s story of a troubled but BEAUTIFUL BOY.
The final presentation of CINEMACON 2018 is Lionsgate’s offering beginning with UNCLE DREW starring Lil Rel, Tiffany Haddish and Shaq, BLINDSPOTTING, Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon in THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME, KIN starring Dennis Quaid and James Franco, HELL FEST, A SIMPLE FAVOR and the retelling of OVERBOARD with Ana Faris and Eugenio Derbez.
It was an adventurous, exciting, enlightening, fun and entertaining four days of CINEMACON 2018 and I expect no less. Every year the gathering of industry and theater owners brings so much that it really is a whirl wind to experience it all. I’d like to thank everyone responsible for putting this convention together for all their hard work and dedication to making the yearly trek into the desert something to always look forward to.
Every year I have the opportunity to see amazing friends I have made over the years and meet new people who bring ideas, creativity and technology all wrapped up in entertainment.
There are so many films coming this year and a slew more in 2019! We will be in the seats to see them all because that is where great experiences and great adventures are meant to be seen – in your local theater! Enjoy it all with a huge tub of popcorn and an ice cold beverage with your friends, family or just a big theater full of people who go to the movies for the same reason you do!
See you in 2019!