Cinemacon 2016: WB presentation with Batman, Justice League, & much more!
There was lots to see at the Warner Bros. presentation at Cinemacon, including stuff from their DCEU slate, horror titles, animated pics, and their new jaunt into the world of J.K. Rowling. Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara took to the stage to introduce the next year of WB films, while teasing things beyond and kicked things off with the clarification that WB is, in fact, pursuing a solo BATMAN film with Ben Affleck. That was enough to make me happy, but there was much, much more to be said. Here's the rundown.
While there was no specific presentation for WONDER WOMAN, the opening sizzle reel showed off a few new bits of footage from the film, which is looking really sharp. We see Wondy using her gauntlets to block bullets in slow motion, utilizing her shield to block an explosion and a few peeks at her outside the costume, rocking a blue dress at one point and also geared up in her Amazon get-up. We also got a few glimpses of Chris Pine's Steve Trevor in action, but no dialogue of any kind. There was nothing new in terms of footage for AQUAMAN, CYBORG, or THE FLASH, but they were highlighted as part of the line-up, which shows WB is full steam ahead on those properties. In addition, director Zack Snyder sent in a video message from the set of JUSTICE LEAGUE PART ONE standing alongside stars Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, and Gal Gadot, stating that they are just about to commence production. So, anyone that was hoping for their dumbass petition to kick him off the project will have to deal with that defeat. JUSTICE LEAGUE is happening and Snyder is full steam ahead.
THE NICE GUYS
Russell Crowe took the stage to introduce Shane Black's detective thriller, joking that Ryan Gosling wished he could be there ("That's bullshit.") and showing off an extended trailer for the film. Really, there's not much more that needs to be shown to sell me on this one. This is the right fit, the right material, and the right stars to continue Shane Black's impressive body of work, while bringing him back to his roots. Easily one of my most anticipated films of the year. THE NICE GUYS opens on May 20th, 2016.
ME BEFORE YOU
Emilia Clarke takes a break from being a mother of dragons to be the caretaker of a paraplegic played by Sam Clafin. This is the date movie you have to endure or dodge this summer. Prepare yourselves. ME BEFORE YOU opens on June 3rd, 2016.
THE CONJURING 2
James Wan, Vera Farmiga, and Patrick Wilson return to tell another tale from the real-life case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren and this looks to be every bit as scary as the first film. I'm not a huge horror buff, but I genuinely appreciate the genuinely scary stuff and this had the hair on the back of my neck standing up from start to finish. The extended trailer we saw featured plenty of jump scares to leave you up at night and it looks like another masterclass for the genre from one of the best in the business, James Wan. If you're a fan of the genre, then this is absolutely for you. THE CONJURING 2 opens on June 10th, 2016.
Hey, remember that creepy as hell viral short you saw on Facebook that kept you up for weeks? Yeah, they've now turned that into a full-length film with the same director, David F. Sandberg. If you haven't seen the short...well, maybe you shouldn't. Starring Teresa Palmer and Maria Bello, this feature-length version of the short looks every bit as creepy and the extended trailer we saw showed how they've managed to stretch out the concept with some horrifying results. Again, I'm hardly a horror expert, but this one looks like a great summer screamer for those looking to mix up their viewing options. LIGHTS OUT opens on July 22nd, 2016.
We got yet another extended look at this one, starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart and although I'm not dying to see it, I have a feeling that it very well may be a solid comedy. For one, it's got The Rock. He's been reliable as hell of late and he looks to be having a real blast. I know that Kevin Hart doesn't vibe with everyone, but I think he can play off Johnson quite well and there's a few bits in the extended footage that displayed that. I'm also a fan of both DODGEBALL and WE'RE THE MILLERS, both from director Rawson Marshall Thurber, so there's some more incentive there. Again, I'm not dying for it, but I'm more optimistic than pessimistic. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE hits on June 17th, 2016.
THE LEGEND OF TARZAN
Yet another extended peek was shown for David Yates take on Tarzan, starring Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, and Christoph Waltz and while there were a few new bits there was nothing new or exciting that helped sell it to me. The film looks beautifully shot, as is usually the case with Yates' work, but there's something that's just not clicking for the film. Perhaps it's the property itself that may seem a bit overdone and possibly out of date for modern audiences, but it just doesn't have that "must-see" factor emenating from it. Perhaps I'll be proven wrong and it will be a much more layered and adventurous film, but right now I'm not counting on it. THE LEGEND OF TARZAN swings into theaters on July 1st, 2016.
Nothing too new shown here, but director Todd Phillips and producer Bradley Cooper came out on the film's behalf and seemed really pleased with the end product. Personally, I'm a fan of Phillips (OLD SCHOOL, THE HANGOVER, DUE DATE) and WAR DOGS looks like the perfect fit to his style of "people making bad decisions" comedies. Plus, Miles Teller and Jonah Hill seem like a great duo to play off one another under the circumstances. WAR DOGS hits on August 19th, 2016.
Warner Animation Group (WAG) is funneled by Chris Miller, Phil Lord, and Nicholas Stoller and they've got a big line-up of animated projects on the horizon, especially ones with small bricks. They discussed THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, which stars Will Arnett, Michael Cera, and Zack Galifianakis, which is described as an exploration of what makes Batman so unhappy given the circumstances of his life (minus the whole parents murdered in front of him thing, of course). We saw an extended scene from the film with Cera's Robin suddenly finding out that Bruce Wayne is Batman and going through his line-up of costumes to find a costume of his own (you'll never guess the origins of the Robin suit in this universe). The humor is in the same vein as THE LEGO MOVIE and Arnett looks to deliver another great vocal performance as the Caped (Bricked?) Crusader.
We got a peek at some concept art for THE LEGO MOVIE 2, which looks to have Emmet and Wyldstyle looking a little grizzled and possibly in an apocalyptic type world. We also got a quick look at the NINJAGO movie and it looks quite different than what you might expect from the TV Series. The character designs are more intricate and Lord and Miller described it as a throwback to old Kung-Fu films and Kaiju movies. A pretty cool combination if you ask me, so I'm optimistic that we'll get way more than a simple TV-to-Film adaptation of the animated series and the humor is very much the same as THE LEGO MOVIE and LEGO BATMAN MOVIE.
We got an extended peek at STORKS, the upcoming CGI animated film, which is directed by Nicholas Stoller and although I'm a big fan of us, this one is just doing nothing for me. Granted, I'm not the demographic and I'm sure my kid will drag me to it, but my excitement level is hovering around zero. We also got a look at a Yeti-themed animated film as well as a newly rebooted Scooby Doo film that looks to take the character in a new, updated and action-themed direction, complete with the new acronym name of S.C.O.O.B. I'm old school Scooby Doo, so the update does little for me, but perhaps it will improve the appeal to a new audience...that isn't me.
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
The last thing on WB's agenda was FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, the next iteration into the Wizarding World of J.K. Rowling, albeit many decades earlier than those of her most famous wizard, Harry Potter. We didn't see anything new that I noticed, minus some behind the scenes stuff and Rowling saying that she always knew that she'd only write seven books in the HP series, because she wanted to get to Newt Scamander's story. David Yates is the perfect director to "carry the wand" into this new world as he clearly knows this world, but the one thing missing from all the stuff we've seen thus far is, well, fantastic beasts. The cast is great and the setting unique, but I feel like we still haven't seen the stuff that really sells it yet, unless J.K. Rowling's name is enough for you. Either way, I'm sure this will flood WB's Gringott's account with plenty of gold to keep this franchise going strong. FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM opens on November 18th, 2016.
And that's it for WB's presentation! Some cool stuff, some great Bat-news, and a healthy dose of variety to choose from with a few to potentially avoid. Of course, that's all up to you guys.
For more of our Cinemacon coverage click HERE!
CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...