CinemaCon 2012: Fox Makes Waves With First Footage From 'Life of Pi,' 'Planet of the Apes 2' a Go

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Canisters - H 2011
Twentieth Century Fox

Fox studios heads Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos also treat theater owners at CinemaCon to never-before-seen footage from "Prometheus," "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" and "Taken 2."

LAS VEGAS -- In addition to previewing footage from its 2012 lineup at CinemaCon on Thursday, Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairmen/CEOs Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos announced the studio will make a sequel to its 2011 hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

But it was Ang Lee's 3D epic adventure Life of Pi -- a likely awards contender -- that stole the show at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, along with never-before-seen footage of Ridley Scott's upcoming Prometheus.

The footage from Pi was the first glimpse of the Fox 2000 film, which opens Dec. 21. For years, there's been a furious debate over whether it is possible to translate Yann Martel's best-selling 2001 novel -- about a 17-year-old boy trapped on a boat at sea with a Bengal tiger -- to the big screen.

"Ang has done just that," Rothman said.

Pi is Lee's first 3D movie, and he told exhibitors Thursday that the film required something unique. "I am so happy I got make that attempt and learn the 3D language," he said, stressing that the film isn't complete.

Martin Scorsese and Ang Lee Discuss 3D at CinemaCon Session

The footage showed the main character Pi as the ship he is on with his family goes down during a severe storm, and he lands on a raft boat with the tiger. Lee shot the film in Taiwan, using eight soundstages filled with water. A second round of footage showed the Pi and the tiger living an uneasy existence.

Top theater owners were impressed with what they saw.

"It was mind-blowing," Regal Entertainment president and COO Gregory Dunn said.

The presentation also included footage from this summer's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Neighborhood Watch, Ice Age: Continental Drift and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. Fall releases teased included Viola Davis-Maggie Gyllenhaal drama Won't Back Down, Taken 2, starring Liam Neeson, and Of Men and Mavericks, a surfing drama starring Gerald Butler.

Gianopulos and Rothman were keen Thanksgiving all-auidence comedy Parental Guidance, starring Bette Midler, Billy Crystal and Marisa Tomei.

In announcing the Planet of the Apes follow-up, Rothman also said Fox's Hugh Jackman sequel The Wolverine begins shooting in August and that Ben Stiller's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty will begin shooting this year as well.

The duo began the session with a special shout to longtime Fox president of distribution Bruce Snyder, who is retiring on July 6 after 39 years at the studio. He was appointed president of distribution in 1989.