LAS VEGAS—Jack Black serenaded theater owners Monday night with a Celine Dion song and, later, performed some gymnastics as he took the stage at CinemaCon to plug his upcoming movie Kung Fu Panda 2 to exhibitors.
It wasn’t a coincidence that Black choose to riff a Dion tune.
In a major upgrade, the annual convention of theater owners is using one of the best theaters in Las Vegas this year—The 4,000-seat Colosseum at Caesars Palace, where Dion’s new show opened a week ago, but will be dark until CinemaCon ends Thursday.
The convention, now back under the control of the National Assn. of Theater Owners, was previously based at the Paris. Now, Ceasars is home.
For years, Hollywood studios have used the event to parade their upcoming films, and particularly their summer lineups. They bring directors and talent to charm theater owners, as well as show footage.
Black was part of the Paramount, DreamWorks Animation and Marvel Studios contingent, which snagged the prime opening night spot.
Paramount, which distributes DWA toons and some Marvel pics, showed footage of J.J. Abrams’ Super 8, Kung Fu, Puss and Boots (the toon drew the most audible laughs), Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.
Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore hosted the event, with DreamWorks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg and Marvel’s Kevin Fiege also took the stage. Abrams personally introduced the footage of Super 8, as did Kung Fu Panda 2 director Jennifer Yuh with her film. Thor star Chris Hemsworth also was on hand.
Exhibitors were clearly impressed by all of the footage, predicting that Paramount will have a lucrative summer.
Outfitting the Colosseum for the studio presentations was a major undertaking. To build the projector booth while Dion’s show was going on, NATO had to buy a section of seats. Inside the the booth are 10 different projectors. This year, for the first time ever, all the footage is in digital, so there’s no film projector.
CinemaCon continues on Tuesday with an industry address by newly installed MPAA chair-CEO Christopher Dodd and separate presentations by DreamWorks and Disney. Dodd arrived in Vegas on Monday and got right to work, including a meet-and-greet with Paramount execs backstage at the Colosseum.