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BARCELONA – Star Wars droid R2D2 literally rolled onto the stage at CineEurope on Wednesday to help Disney promote its upcoming titles from a stable of brands, which now includes Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation and Disney live-action.
J.J. Abrams couldn’t attend the annual gathering of foreign theater owners, but Disney and Lucasfilm played a special message from the director videotaped from the set of Star Wars: Episode VII in Abu Dhabi. Abrams said he had just finished two weeks of shooting and described it as a thrill to see the movie’s incoming cast act on set with the members of the original installments. “See you guys next year,” Abrams said before R2D2 trundled off stage.
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Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige did turn up in Barcelona, armed with the first footage from Avengers: Age of Ultron, directed by Joss Whedon, who is halfway through a 100-day shoot for the film in London. Feige also played sequences and an interview montage from Ant-Man, including contributions from Peyton Reed, who recently replaced Edgar Wright as director on the long-gestating movie.
International exhibitors then watched extensive footage from Marvel’s August 2014 tentpole Guardians of the Galaxy, including the film’s opening sequence.
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Disney’s worldwide distribution chief Dave Hollis kick-started the CineEurope presentation with a heartfelt thanks to the European exhibitors for supporting the studio’s branded tentpole strategy.
Hollis and his team played the first 10 minutes of upcoming Disney musical Into the Woods, starring Meryl Streep with music from Stephen Sondheim. Later, Kenneth Branagh apologized via a taped message for not being in Barcelona as he is playing Macbeth on stage in New York. He then introduced a sneak peek at his live-action Cinderella, which hits theaters next spring.
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Disney Animation aired a specially made sequence with the characters from Planes: Fire and Rescue playing football ahead of the World Cup soccer match between Spain and Chile on Wednesday, while Pixar Animation’s Jonas Rivera brought footage from Pete Docter’s Inside Out.
CineEurope is operated by FilmExpo Group, which is owned by The Hollywood Reporter‘s parent company, Guggenheim Partners. The annual convention runs June 16-19 in Barcelona.
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