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With Fox likely heading to CineEurope for the last time before its impending sale, much was made of the studio’s long legacy in its presentation Tuesday.
At the event — which closed proceedings on the second day of the Barcelona trade show — the opening video served up hat tips to some of Fox’s most notable films, including Cleopatra, Alien, The Full Monty, Speed, Fight Club, Braveheart, Die Hard, Home Alone, Black Swan and, of course, Avatar.
There were also references to its pending sale, with a video of international theatrical distribution president Andrew Cripps and international marketing president Kieran Breen packing for their trip to CineEurope, showing the execs pull out a pair of Mickey Mouse ears and a Comcast T-shirt. Disney in December struck a $52.4 billion deal to buy large parts of 21st Century Fox, while Comcast has said it was preparing a “superior” offer, which could be unveiled as early as Wednesday.
In her opening remarks, Twentieth Century Fox Film CEO and chairman Stacey Snider referenced the “uncertain time” for the studio, while thanking the audience of European exhibitors for “being by our side for 80 years.”
But despite any uncertainty, there were still plenty of titles for Fox to tout over its lengthy presentation.
Lightstorm Entertainment’s Jon Landau returned to Barcelona for the second time in two years to give an update on James Cameron’s Avatar sequels, with the director himself offering a video message from the set in which he revealed that they were on day 130 of performance capture work. “The early results are beyond even our expectations,” he said.
Landau also gave a major preview of Robert Rodriguez’s upcoming sci-fi epic Alita: Battle Angel, a passion project for Cameron (who produces) and due out in December. The audience was treated to exclusive footage from three key scenes from the film, which stars Christoph Waltz, Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connelly and newcomer Rosa Salazar in the lead role.
Other films showcased included Shane Black’s return of The Predator, due out in September, the latest X-Men installation Dark Phoenix (the audience were treated to a first look from the film, with Sophie Turner in the lead role), and the Brad Pitt-starring sci-fi Ad Astra by James Gray, with the pair unveiling the very first glimpse of the film via a video message. None other than Arnold Schwarzenegger also popped up on the screen to discuss the next Terminator reboot, currently in production, serving up the classic line, “hasta la vista, baby”
Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen hit the stage in Barcelona to talk up his latest all-star film Widows, unveiling a clip and the trailer. The filmmaker revealed that after 12 Years a Slave he had vowed to make a female-driven feature, describing his lead star Viola Davis as the “Marlon Brando of now.”
Despite being only three weeks into production on his latest feature, Taika Waititi recorded a video (from a rooftop in Prague at 5 a.m.) to discuss his dark WWII comedy Jojo Rabbit, starring Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, Sam Rockwell and Waititi himself, playing Adolf Hitler.
The film was part of the Fox Searchlight element of the presentation, which included the Nicholas Hoult-starring biopic Tolkien; Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite; Can You Ever Forgive Me, starring Melissa McCarthy; and The Aftermath, produced by Ridley Scott and starring Keira Knightley.
From the animation arena, the crowd were given a first look at family espionage comedy Spies in Disguise, featuring the voice talents of Will Smith and Tom Holland, while Fox lined up its upcoming list of animated titles, including Nimona, Ron’s Gone Wrong, Bob’s Burgers and Foster.
Much like in 2017, when Fox closed its show with The Greatest Showman, this year’s presentation ended on a musical high. Producer Graham King and lead star Rami Malek took to the stage to showcase extended footage from Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, in which Malek plays iconic frontman Freddie Mercury. Adding further star power, Brian May and Roger Taylor then came up to give the audience a wave.
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