CineEurope: Warner Bros. Teases 'Mad Max,' 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.' to Foreign Theater Owners
UPDATED: International distribution president Veronika Kwan Vandenberg also shared snippets of "Interstellar" and the final "Hobbit" film, plus a personal message from Peter Jackson.
BARCELONA – Warner Bros. pumped up the volume and action at CineEurope on Monday evening with never-before-seen footage from a slew of high-profile films from its 2015 slate, including the re-dated Jupiter Ascending starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, and Tom Hardy’s turn as Max in Mad Max: Fury Road.
The studio presentation, led by longtime president of international distribution Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, was split into two parts, with a look at the remainder of this year’s global release slate and the studio's 2015 slate. The latter included a sneak peek at Will Smith starrer Focus, stormy seas and sailors in Ron Howard’s Moby Dick origin story In The Heart of the Sea, and excerpts from Guy Ritchie’s big-screen revamp of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer.
Vandenberg brought a taped message from Peter Jackson and some never-seen footage from the third and final Hobbit movie, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, which will herald the end of the filmmaker’s 16 years of bringing the work of J.R.R. Tolkien to the big screen. Jackson thanked the exhibition community for being "supportive every step of the way" with his quest from the Lord of the Rings to the Hobbit franchise, describing his relationship with foreign theaters as a partnership. After screening the footage, Vandenberg noted that she and the team are sure the all-star franchise-ender will deliver an "exceptional performance" at the box office in December 2014.
Other highlights from the rest of this year included footage from Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys; the tear-jerker If I Stay with Chloe Grace Moretz; laugher This Is Where I Leave You with an ensemble cast boasting Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda and Adam Driver; and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar with Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey.
Vandenberg threw out some large numbers at the beginning of her presentation, noting that Warner Bros. had won the triple crown in 2013 by securing the top spot domestically, internationally and globally, scooping over $3 billion internationally alone at the box office and winning 10 Oscars — more than all the other studios combined. She thanked the exhibition community and technology partners such as Imax, 4D providers and Dolby Atmos, among others, for helping ease the stress of distribution success with technology.
The presentation also included a reel of footage from 2015 titles including a sneak peek at Will Smith starrer Focus, stormy seas and sailors in Ron Howard’s Moby Dick origin story In The Heart of the Sea, and excerpts from Guy Ritchie’s big-screen revamp of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer.
Warner Bros. also put on a lavish opening night dinner reception, complete with screens showing the World Cup soccer game between Germany and Portugal, before screening tornado action film Into the Storm in the auditorium, which was fitted out with an ear-busting Dolby Atmos sound system.
The studio show followed CineEurope's official opening ceremony featuring a welcome address from Barcelona’s Deputy Mayor of Culture Jaume Ciurana, an industry address from the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) president Phil Clapp, who awarded the former UCI/Cinesa COO Jose "Pepe" Batlle with an award for his services to exhibition, and a keynote from the recently appointed Odeon/UCI CEO Paul Donovan.
The show, aimed squarely at the international exhibition industry, is used by the major studios and the big-ticket independent distributors to spark anticipation for major releases from upcoming slates.
CineEurope is operated by FilmExpo Group, which is owned by THR's parent company, Guggenheim Partners. The annual convention of international exhibitors runs June 16-19 in Barcelona.