CinemaCon: Warner Bros.’ The Big Picture Presentation

The second major presentation of CinemaCon 2015 was Warner Bros.’ annual “The Big Picture,” showcasing their entire 2015 line-up, which strayed from the usual franchise and tentpole to instead showcase the diversity of the movies they’re offering through the summer and into the fall. 

After speeches and congratulatory words were given by Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara and the Presidents of Distribution Dan Fellman and Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, the actual presentation event was hosted by Mario Lopez who introduced each movie and the abundance of stars that were present to say a few words about each.

Hot Pursuit (May 8)

Their first movie of the presentation was the Reese Witherspoon-Sofia Vergara buddy comedy that kicks off their summer and the two actresses were on-hand to introduce an extended trailer after a bit of scripted banter. It certainly looks pretty funny, and earlier, we spoke to director Anne Fletcher (The Proposal) who mentioned that she was hugely influenced by ’80s buddy comedies like Midnight Run. You can watch that interview below. 

Mad Max

Mad Max: Fury Road (May 15)

I’m not quite sure whether the Mad Max: Fury Road footage was what was shown at WonderCon a couple weeks back, but the footage started with a fuel truck coming to a halt in the desert when Charlize Theron’s character gets out and we get a really good look at how different her character Imperator Furiosa looks with a shaved head and black war paint with a mechanical arm. She’s on her phone with someone saying that she has gotten the thousands of gallons of gas they asked for, but that she had picked up a number of followers, basically three war parties. This seems to be the set up for what ends up being a cross-country chase with Hardy’s Mad Max joining her along the way. We got to see a lot of the great money shots from the most recent trailer, but more importantly, the footage shown was in 3D and it really looks like Miller is using the depth offered by 3D to really create some fantastic visuals, especially in the action sequences.

Before the presentation, we had a chance to talk briefly with actors Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult about some of the crazier action scenes we’ve been seeing in the trailers. (Note: the interview with Charlize isn’t very good, mainly because we couldn’t hear a thing that was being said and vice versa.)

San Andreas (May 29)

Next up was an intense extended 3D trailer for the summer disaster movie starring Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino and Paul Giamatti, which was much more effective seeing the mass destruction on the big screen, mainly because they showed a lot more than what’s been seen in previous trailers. Where the current trailer starts by showing Johnson and Gugino after the first quake has hit, this footage begins right before when he is calling her to warn her about the quake. Gugino runs to the rooftop where we see the building across from her starting to shake and the water in a rooftop pool being turned into a wave pool by the quake before the other building crumbles and Johnson flies his helicopter over and grabs her hand before her building collapses underneath her. From there, we got to see a lot more destruction including a giant tidal wave heading towards the Golden Gate Bridge as well as a giant freight liner being carried by waves into a bunch of city buildings. It’s directed by Brad Peyton, who previously worked with Johnson for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, but this seems like a very different movie for the two of them and Roland Emmerich would probably be proud of the amount of destruction that was on display.


Entourage (June 3)

Doug Ellin and the four guys from his popular HBO show–Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara and Kevin Connolly–were all in Las Vegas for the show although they didn’t have a lot to say except to introduce the footage and where their characters are at since the end of the show.

It opens with what sounds like Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold doing some sort of meditation tape because he’s finally doing something about his anger issues, which doesn’t seem to be working because he’s soon on the phone yelling at his assistant Lloyd (Rex Lee).  E and Sloan are about to have a baby while Grenier’s Vincent Chase has a new movie and new problems (mostly with his brother Drama) and Turtle is working on his vodka empire.  The trailer shown focused on all of the cameos including one from show creator Mark Wahlberg, who reacts to a director wanting to cut Drama out of Vince’s new movie. Apparently, Lloyd is going to get married in the movie as well and in the trailer we see that he’s doing so at Ari’s house… and having a Jewish wedding, no less!

Max (June 26)

No talent was on-hand to represent what looks like it could be a surprise family hit over the summer, the story of a German Shepherd that was used in Iraq during the war that comes home and tries to have a normal life. It looks like the type of animal film ala Benji or Lassie that could appeal to animal lovers of all ages and we haven’t really had a really strong dog film since maybe Marley and Me. (This film boasts one of the same producers.) 

Magic Mike XXL (July 1)

Similar to Entourage, the five guys from the upcoming sequel were on hand to introduce the footage as Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez and Kevin Nash teased the ladies in the audience after Tatum tossed his “talking points” notes. They didn’t really have that much to say so they just showed the new extended trailer which warned that it couldn’t show the “best parts” of the movie, but it did show all the guys gyrating and dancing in various locations… and not just on stage.

The Gallows (July 10)

They showed the previously-released teaser trailer for this upcoming Blumhouse horror film, basically of a girl sitting cross-legged on the floor crying and the camera closes in to show that she has red marks on her neck. Suddenly, a noose goes over her head and drags her back into the shadows. 


Vacation (July 31)

Possibly the highlight of the presentation was the first trailer for their sequel to the popular ’80s comedy National Lampoon’s Vacation, this one starring Ed Helms from “The Office” playing the grown-up Rusty Griswald with Christina Applegate paying his wife, Debbie. Thirty years after the fateful trip to Wally World, Rusty wants to take his kids on a similar road trip. Those kids are a lot less eager and they’re actually quite foul-mouthed from what we saw in the trailer.  We saw a brief glimpse of Charlie Day in the footage and there is a very odd exchange between Rusty and his son by a pool where he tells him that he can ask him anything, so his son asks “What’s a rim job?” and Rusty makes something up that’s fairly innocent about closed-mouth kissing. He then starts massaging his son’s neck and says, “I hope you’re not too old for your father to give you a rim job” and some guy walking to the pool hears this and makes a hasty exit. 

The trip takes the Griswolds to the house of Rusty’s sister Audrey (played by Leslie Mann) who is married to Chris Hemsworth. We got to see a funny scene of him walking into Rusty and Debbie’s bedroom wearing nothing but tight whiteys with a rather prominent bulge, which he doesn’t seem to pay much heed to, but after he leaves, Helms mentions the fact that he was deliberately showing off his abs.

The trailer closed with a very funny homage to the famous scene in the original movie when Chevy is driving and sees Christie Brinkley driving past him winking enticingly. There’s a similar scene but with a hilarious twist that we won’t spoil. 

The trailer went over as well before the CinemaCon crowd as Helms’ previous movie The Hangover did a few years back.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (August 14)

One of the summer movies that’s still a bit of a question mark, mainly because it seems to be targeting a very specific audience of fans of a television show that doesn’t seem to have that big of a fanbase is this period spy movie from Guy Ritchie, who didn’t do badly when he revived Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer–Superman and The Lone Ranger, respectively–were on-hand to debut a new trailer which makes the movie look even more like a ’60s James Bond movie but without any real stand-out moments since it seems fairly low-key. As much as I love Guy Ritchie, I’m a little worried this one won’t connect with audiences as well as his former producer Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: the Secret Service did earlier this year, maybe because it seems to be taking itself very seriously and it’s hard to think that anyone today cares less to see a movie set during the Cold War. 


Black Mass (September 18)

Director Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace) was on-hand to introduce the first teaser trailer for his crime drama starring Johnny Depp as James “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious Boston mobster who became an informant for the FBI.

The footage starts with Depp as Bulger sitting at a dinner table with a couple other guys in suits sporting the look of Bulger complete with blackened teeth, but he compliments the guy across from him on the delicious steak to which the guy responds that it’s a family secret in that they use a little garlic and soy sauce. Bulger starts getting annoyed that the guy would give up his family secret so easily to which the guy responds that he was “Just sayin'” but Whitey is getting pretty riled up because he thinks that if this guy will give up a family secret, he could give Whitey up and that “Just sayin’ can get you buried.” The other guy is looking pretty nervous because he probably knows Whitey’s rep, but then White laughs, realizing that he got the other guy freaked. 

It was a bit like that famous Joe Pesci scene in Goodfellas, but it gives a good impression of the intensity that Depp is bringing to this role. I expect it to do very well in Boston (similar to Ben Affleck’s The Town) and I would not be surprised if this is one of the movies Warner Bros. brings to the September festival season this year. We’ll see if this is the movie that turns things around for Depp in terms of getting more critical praise for his acting. 

Before the presentation, we had a chance to speak with Cooper which you can watch in the video interview below:

The Intern (September 25)

Another nice surprise was the first footage for Nancy Meyers’ new comedy starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway–neither of whom were on hand unfortunately–but it looks like a fairly sweet drama for older adults in which De Niro plays an older man who gets a job as an intern at Hathaway’s company and the two become friends. It seems very different from Hathaway’s relationship with Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, because it looks like the two of them actually have solid chemistry. While it’s not a comedy, it feels fairly light and airy rather than something grim and serious, which may be exactly what moviegoers need after the end of summer. Wouldn’t be too surprised to see this at festivals like Toronto as well.

Pan (October 9)

Having recently been moved to October, Warner Bros. still seemed rather bullish on Joe (Atonement) Wright’s prequel to the J.M. Barrie fairy tale classic, this one starring newcomer Levi Miller as Peter Pan, joined by Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund and Rooney Mara. This trailer told a lot more of the story of the film as it shows Pan in the orphanage, some footage of Blackbeard’s flying ship as it lands in Neverland, Pan’s first meeting with Hedlund’s Hook and them meeting Mara’s Tiger Lilly. The trailer showed a lot more than the original teaser, including many of the film’s amazing environments like the Crystal Caves, the Mermaid Lagoon and the Native Village filled with natives in colorful garbs. It looks very magical and it’s an interesting choice to release what is potentially a family film in early October. 


Creed (November 25)

Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Cooler (Fruitvale Station) were on hand to debut the first footage from Creed, which will spin-off Stallone’s hugely popular “Rocky” series for a movie that watches Apollo Creed’s son Adonis (Jordan) following in his father’s footsteps and turning to Stallone’s Rocky Balboa for help. Stallone prefaced the footage by saying that this is not meant to be Rocky 7. Coogler mentioned that he was a huge fan of the original “Rocky” movies having watched them with his father and he was driven to come up with a new story after a family tragedy. Don’t have a lot to say about the footage except that it looks like a solid drama that should appeal to fans of the original Rocky, since it’s more of a straight boxing drama and doesn’t seem as sensational (in a bad way) as the later Rocky movies. Creed also have a love interest in Tessa Thompson from Dear White People and Selma

In the Heart of the Sea (December 11)

Next up was Ron Howard’s anticipated sea epic, starring Chris Hemsworth, about the fateful whale-hunting trip that inspired Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, and this also looked quite fantastic with more footage of the giant whale faced by Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy and Ben Whishaw. This new trailer showed more of the romance between Hemsworth’s Owen Chase and his wife as he promises that he will return to her. We got to see a lot more of the giant behemoth while as a large shape heads towards the ship and pretty much destroys it by knocking the anchor through it leaving the crew stranded on an island. There’s an other fantastic shot of the whale swimming underneath the crew’s lifeboats ready to attack. The movie seems like it’s going to offer a lot of tension not unlike the last act in Jaws where you never know when the whale will attack.


Point Break (December 25)

One of the bigger unknowns going into CinemaCon was how they’re going to update Kathryn Bigelow’s beloved 1991 action movie for modern audiences, and that was answered not only by the footage shown but also a special press event that followed. Australian actors Luke Bracey, who plays the new Johnny Utah, and Teresa Palmer, came out along with director Ericson Core (Invincible) to show the first footage which began with an incredible aerial heist with two base jumpers stealing a huge palette of money from a plane and then releasing all the money high up in the air before they freefall down through the opening of a cave. We see Bracey’s character being told about the crimes being committed by these extreme athletes and that he’s being assigned to infiltrate the gang so that the FBI can catch them. It was a decent trailer, but the best part of it was an amazing extended sequence of four guys using wing suits to glide at 150 miles per hour down the side of a mountain and through a ravine. This sequence ran for a few minutes following them all the way to the ground.

Core is using actual athletes who are the best in the fields of surfing, rock climbing, snowboarding and other extreme sports–people like Laird Hamilton and Jeb Corliss–and shooting them doing stunts in some of the most amazing locations on earth to create the most believable and realistic action sequences. It looks like the new movie will have a much bigger scale than the original movie because of this, and we’ll have to see if the story and everything else stands up to these scenes. We’ll have more about this movie very soon. 

They also showed the first trailer for Zac Efron’s We Are Your Friends, co-starring Gone Girl‘s Emily Ratajkowski, which has the popular young actor playing an EDM DJ. It was hard to tell if this story is going to connect since it looks like something that might only appeal to fans of Efron and EDM. The film hasn’t been dated yet but it probably could be a fall release or one released in the slower spring/winter season and do decently.

The presentation ended by showing the trailer for Zack Snyder’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which you’ve probably already seen by now but they didn’t show much more than that despite next year’s CinemaCon taking place after its March release.


Marvel and DC