Day 3 of CinemaCon 2014 began with Walt Disney Studios’ presentation, a rather short and frankly quite uneventful affair that seemed to merely be a lead-in for them to screen Jon Hamm’s “Bollywood baseball” movie Million Dollar Arm, which comes out on May 16.
Disney Chairman Alan Horn came out to talk about Disney’s record-setting 2013 and some of what they have coming up and while Star Wars: Episode VII was mentioned, Horn basically stated what was already said in the recent press release about it being set 30 years after “Return of the Jedi” and wouldn’t reveal any names of the actors who have been cast or are still in negotiations.
Horn then introduced the company’s Executive VP of Theatrical Distribution, Dave Hollis, to go through Disney’s upcoming slate, which mainly consisted of footage that’s been seen in other places for the most part, except for their live-action Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh, for which they gave exhibitors the very first look at an impressive extended trailer.
Hollis began with the slate from Marvel Studios with Captain America: The Winter Soldier opening in many countries today and in North America on April 4. They basically just showed Cap, Black Widow and S.H.I.E.L.D. on their mission to recapture a boat that’s been taken by Georges Batroc which takes place in the first ten minutes of the movie. For the James Gunn-directed Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug. 1), they showed the recent trailer, and Avengers: Age of Ultron was briefly mentioned. Honestly, it just wasn’t that great a representation of what Marvel Studios has coming up as the studio’s prez Kevin Feige might have given if he was there.
Hollis quickly transitioned from there into Disney’s live-action line-up focusing on their upcoming fairy tale movies, essentially showing the recent trailer for Maleficent (May 30), starring Angelina Jolie, then showing a nice bit of new and unseen footage from Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella.
The latter looks like a fairly faithful telling of the classic fairy tale that became a Disney animated classic back in 1950, with Lily James playing the title role, whose birth name is actually “Ella.” We see her spending time with her father and mother before we get our first glimpse of Cate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine, arriving at their home to watch over Ella while her parents go away. Ella sees her parents off but then soon learns that they died in a carriage accident, leaving her an orphan alone with Tremaine–fans of the fairy tale will know her better as the “The Evil Stepmother”–and her two daughters Drizella and Anastasia, who mock Ella endlessly, coming up with her nickname “Cinderella” as she is cleaning the chimney.
We then see Ella riding in the forest on a horse where she encounters Prince Charming, as played by Richard Madden from “Game of Thrones,” and hear the announcement of a grand ball to be thrown by the prince. When Ella comes down the stairs of the house in a beautiful dress, her stepmother rips the shoulder off of it and then her daughters jump in to help ruin her dress.
Ella is outside the house crying when she’s approached by Helena Bonham Carter as her Fairy Godmother, looking like a decrepit homeless woman at first but then she casts a spell so we see her in the more glamorous form we’re accustomed to. The two of them go looking for something to use as a carriage and Ella shows her a greenhouse full of pumpkins, so the Fairy Godmother casts another spell and one of the pumpkins starts growing bigger and bigger as the two of them run out of the greenhouse before it blows up. We then see the carriage created by her magic, which is quite a glorious site. Prince Charming’s palace is also quite grand and elaborateDisney’s probably looking at a couple more production and costume design award nods for the movieand the footage ended with Madden’s Prince Charming asking Ella to dance with him at the ball.
Nothing was shown from DreamWorks’ The Hundred-Foot Journey or Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, though both were mentioned, as was Kevin Costner’s next sports movie McFarland, which like Million Dollar Arm is also based on a true story.
For Rob Marshall’s musical Into the Woods, coming out on Christmas Day, they just showed head shots of the five main actors and the characters they play with Johnny Depp looking his usual odd self as his character “Wolf,” wearing a hat and sporting a goatee. It’s a little odd that this musical also features Cinderella and her prince and that it’s coming out a few months before Disney’s actual Cinderella movie.
When Hollis got to Pixar Animation, he barely mentioned next year’s The Good Dinosaur (and no mention at all of 2016’s Finding Dory), instead focusing on Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera’s Inside Out, which comes out on June 19, 2015. Essentially, they introduced the five emotions inside the head of a young girl named RileyJoy (Amy Poehler), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith)and then showed the same footage shown at D23 last August in a more finished state. You can read Silas Lesnick’s description of the clip on his live blog of D23 at the 11:10 mark. It showed a dinner table scene with Riley and her parents after Joy and Fear go off, leaving the other three in charge. With only Sadness, Disgust and Anger to work with, Riley starts giving her parents attitude and we go inside their heads to see what their emotions are up to, her mother’s being very practical while her father’s are basically watching hockey and ignoring what’s happening.
Hollis briefly mentioned Big Hero 6 (Nov. 7) and showed a title treatment with a graphic before moving on to Planes: Fire & Rescue (July 18) and showing a new trailer that’s a little more humorous than the previous one.
Another major omission was that there was nothing said at all about Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, which comes out on Memorial Day 2015, right between Cinderella and Inside Out. Horn did come back out to introduce actor Jon Hamm and the screening for Million Dollar Arm and before that, he showed a chart of Disney’s upcoming releases for the rest of 2014 and into 2015 which included Tomorrowland, Ant-Man and others.
We’ll have more from CinemaCon over the next couple days including recaps of the presentations from Sony, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros.