CinemaCon: Warner Bros. Touts Its Big Stars While Rejecting the Screening Room's Proposal
The studio brought out top talent including Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, the entire 'Suicide Squad' cast, Kevin Hart and Bradley Cooper for its presentation Tuesday.
Enlisting an all-star line-up, Warner Bros. presented its upcoming film slate Tuesday afternoon at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. And, as the studio has done in previous years, it brought out plenty of big talent in support of the movies, including Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, the entire Suicide Squad cast, Kevin Hart, Emilia Clarke, Samuel L. Jackson, Alexander Skarsgard, Andy Samberg and Bradley Cooper.
Kevin Tsujihara, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros., began his opening remarks by addressing the controversial Screening Room proposal (although he didn't mention the service by name), which would allow people to view new movies at home the same day they're released into theaters. He emphasized that Warner Bros. would work with the exhibition community when approaching the future of the movie business.
“We are not going to let a third party of middlemen come between us,” Tsujihara said to strong applause from the audience of theater owners. “There are new technologies that could help our business, we’ll explore them with you together. We know the status quo is not an option, but we will meet the challenges before us as we always have.”
Tsujihara wasn't the only one to speak out against the Screening Room and a possible change in theatrical windowing. David Ayer, Dwayne Johnson and Todd Phillips, each in their own way, also touted the importance of the theatrical experience.
“Why are we in such a rush to take away the thing that separates us from everything else ... and do away with it?" asked Phillips, the director of War Dogs, set to open Aug. 19. "Why are we in such a rush to turn movies into television? Movies are special. We laugh as a group, scream together. We have to protect that part of the experience.”
Tsujihara, mentioning many of Warner Bros.' upcoming superhero movies, confirmed that the studio is working on a stand-alone Batman movie with Ben Affleck (The Hollywood Reporter's recent cover story revealed that Affleck has written a Batman script). Plus, he confirmed Warners is working with Furious 7 director James Wan on its Aquaman stand-alone film, starring Jason Momoa.
Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing and distribution for Warner Bros., and Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, president of worldwide distribution for Warner Bros., also appeared at the event before Mario Lopez took over as host.
Lopez opened the presentation with the studio's slate of DC films, which proved to be a major part of the presentation. Affleck and Adams took the stage to reveal a sizzle reel touting the upcoming superhero series: Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Justice League films.
Suicide Squad helmer Ayer also was on hand to talk up his film and bring out much of the cast, including Adam Beach, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Joel Kinnaman, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto and Will Smith. “We have created something absolutely spectacular,” said Smith. Added Ayer: "It's like being with the the coolest kids in the school."
The studio also showed new footage of Shane Black’s Nice Guys, starring Ryan Gosling and Crowe; romance adaptation Me Before You; horror films Conjuring 2 and Lights Out; comedy Central Intelligence with Johnson and Hart; and The Legend of Tarzan, starring Skarsgard and Robbie.
“Let me assure you, this Jane is no damsel in distress,” Robbie said of her character in Legend of Tarzan.
Warner Bros. wrapped up its presentation with an extended look at the Harry Potter film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
CinemaCon runs through Thursday.