Hollywood studio executives once again showed off their upcoming movies to European exhibitors at the annual CineEurope gathering, which this year moved from Amsterdam to Barcelona. Here is a look at the hits and stars of this year's event, including "The Hobbit," Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich.
Ang Lee got a big CineEurope welcome from Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairmen and CEOs Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman who introduced the director and footage from his Life of Pi by touting its advances in film technology and technique. Lee, who has been working on the film for four years, said the footage was only "85 percent finished," but the audience reacted to it with cheers. Gianopulos described the adaptation of Yann Martell's best-selling book about an Indian boy set adrift with only a tiger on board his lifeboat as a game-changer for cinemas and movie-making similar to the studio's Avatar and Titanic.
New Bond girl Berenice Marlohe added excitement and glamor at the end of Sony Pictures Releasing International's presentation in Barcelona. She described landing the role of Severine in the upcoming James Bond installment Skyfall as "a dream come true." Marlohe then introduced four minutes of the much anticipated Sam Mendes film.
Brad Pitt starrer World War Z was among the upcoming releases that Paramount touted at CineEurope. Euro exhibitors got a glimpse of the project and its scale. They were audibly wowed by footage from it and 3D movie Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away.
Bruce Willis took a break from shooting A Good Day To Die Hard to make an appearance at Fox's CineEurope session to promote the action film. Greeted with cheers and applause, he said he landed from Budapest just 35 minutes before the event and quipped that more production work was to come, because "we haven't killed enough people yet." Willis said his portrayal of former New York City cop John McClane in the latest edition of the Die Hard franchise was "older, slower but still bleeding."
Footage of Baz Luhrmann's upcoming 3D release The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and others, got an enthusiastic reaction from the CineEurope crowd at Warner Bros.' slate presentation, even though the director called it "very raw." Given that his family owned a movie theater, Luhrmann said his heritage meant he knew how important it was for him to give the European theater owners in the audience a chance to see extended scenes.
Warner Bros. also showed off scenes from a range of other upcoming features, including the highly anticipated first film in the two-part Hobbit series. Exhibitors gave The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, featuring such stars as Ian McKellen as Gandalf, a strong reception. The Hobbit: There And Back Again is set to follow it up with a 2013 holiday season rollout.
Australian star Hugh Jackman went to CineEurope to multi-task, touting The Wolverine at the Fox presentation and showing up at the DreamWorks Animation portion of Paramount's event to joke on-stage with DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg following a screening of Rise of the Guardians. Attendees of the gathering of exhibition officials also saw a glimpse of him at the Universal outing, which showed scenes from Les Miserables, in which he also stars.
Disney executives in Barcelona touted the upcoming Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp, expressing hope that the film would do for cowboys what Pirates of the Caribbean did for swashbuckling movies. In other CineEurope news, White Stripes front man Jack White is writing the score for the Gore Verbinski film that also stars Armie Hammer.
Beyond Skyfall, Sony also showed footage from the latest edition of its Resident Evil franchise. Milla Jovovich again stars in Resident Evil: Retribution. The franchise moved to 3D for the last installment, helping it take in more than $225 million internationally.
Walt Disney also showed off a taped message from Monsters University voice stars John Goodman and Billy Crystal. They had the CineEurope audience in stitches when they told the crowd to put on their 3D glasses for some footage - only for Crystal to adorn his eyes with old-fashioned red and green halved monster mask glasses.
Filmmaker Oliver Stone did not make it to Barcelona to present an early-bird screening of his Savages, starring Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch and Blake Lively. But the filmmaker sent a video tape to the Universal session at CineEurope, saying he would do the crowd one better by simply showing his latest film.
Familuy Guy creator Seth MacFarlane's big screen debut Ted, starring a giant talking teddy bear and Mark Wahlberg, got a surprise screening at CineEurope. Before the Universal showing, MacFarlane told the crowd via video tape that the sneak peek wasn't the only surprise. "We set fire to your cars in the parking lot. So, enjoy," he quipped.