CinemaCon 2017: Fox presentation - Alien, Greatest Showman, Red Sparrow

The Fox presentation at CinemaCon 2017 kicked off in usual fashion with a really cool dance number (with light up suits) and was really well-choreographed. In fact, I almost thought I was at a Disney presentation, but then I remembered that all they brought was a powerpoint slideshow. Fox, however, kicked off with some energy and fun and the presentation flowed smoother than the rest with a quick intro to their upcoming features and a new look or extended trailer for each. Definitely a diverse amount of pics on their slate through 2017 (that they were ready to share, anyway).

SNATCHED - Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn took the stage and had some back-and-forth banter to pimp their kidnap comedy SNATCHED (Schumer made sure to let us know that Hawn did not do this film against her will). They showed an extended trailer for the film, which got some decent laughs from the crowd. If you're a fan of Schumer and/or Hawn then this may be for you. Chances are you've already made up your mind on whether or not you're seeing this one already.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS - The adaptation of the long-running book series CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS gets animated and you've likely already seen the trailer. It looks like fun kiddie-fare entertainment, but nothing groundbreaking or rich with visual spark. Ultimately, many of the animated features these days fill the same void for kids as a sugar rush and I'm sure they'll be bouncing up and down in their seats for this one.

FERDINAND - Yet another new animated movie, this one from Blue Sky and starring John Cena as the loveable bull FERDINAND. Cena took to the stage and boosted the film with his usual stage charisma (he might have some practice there) and they showed the trailer for the film (which is currently online). Like CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS, it fits the kid-themed bill, but outside of Cena's involvement looks to be middle-of-the-road in terms of overall style and delivery.

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US - Starring Idris Elba as a doctor on the way to a conference and Kate Winslet as a journalist on her way to a story, the two strangers meet at an airport where their flight is delayed, both stuck in the same predicament. In the first trailer for the film we see Winslet's character hire a private plane to fly them to their destination (piloted by Beau Bridges). The plane never reaches its destination, however, as it crashes in the mountains and forces both Elba and Winslet to work together to survive and find their way back to civilization. Filled with dramatic moments and harrowing situations, it looks to be, more than anything, a showcase for the immense talenst of both Elba and Winslet, putting them both in a "drama rich" environment complete with suspense, adventure, heartbreak, romance and survival. If they pull it off then this could easily be an awards contender.

ALIEN: COVENANT - Now this was something great. Ridley Scott sent in a video message introducing the footage for this and ended it by saying "I hope it scares the shit out of you". We were treated to a new trailer that begins with the ship that David and Shaw left in at the end of PROMETHEUS, hovering over a city filled with what appears to be a civilization of the Engineers. The ship is just above a large gathering of Engineers and is manuevering as they watch in awe. As it turns, we see David (Michael Fassbender) with his head attached to his body again (and decked out in a spacesuit). We see that he is surrounded by the cannisters from PROMETHEUS filled with the black substance and he launches hundreds of them at the crowd, who run in terror as the cannisters explode and the black substance overtakes them, killing all in its path. We see David's face and it's filled with emotion (the first time we've ever seen emotion from him) that exudes sadness and vengeance at once.

It's a really badass sequence and is no doubt a result of what both he and Shaw discovered post PROMETHEUS. We then cut back to the Covenant crew as they land on the planet and discover the dead Engineers...and a LOT more. From there the pace picks up and we see the humans begin to get infected (or face-hugged) and the bloody results of that (including a "face-burst" shot). There are scenes of what appears to be Fassbender's other android "Walter" being seduced by what he's seeing in the xenomorphs, much like David was in PROMETHEUS, and he begins to wax maniacally about the superiority of these creatures (One lesson for space travel in the ALIEN universe; don't fucking bring androids with you. Like, ever.). There's many more shots of running, shooting, screaming, blood-spurting, and some beautifully creepy close-ups of the xenomorphs that should make ever fan of the franchise very happy. Everything I've seen thus far for COVENANT indicates a welcome and creepy-cool continuation of the series in its prequel form. I'm all in.

RED SPARROW - The latest from Team Lawrence (aka Jennifer Lawrence and director Francis Lawrence) is a very different kind of film from their HUNGER GAMES collaboration, but also something very familiar. RED SPARROW, based on the novel by Jason Matthews, is another take on the LA FEMME NIKITA story of an unassuming female turned into an unlikely assassin. Lawrence plays a ballerina who suffers a career-ending injury and is then given a new lease on life as a Russian assassin. We saw an early trailer that has Lawrence guided by her trainer (Charlotte Rampling), who focuses more on using seduction and sex to get to their mark rather than the standard shoot-from-the-roof style of assassination.

We see Lawrence go through bits of her training, again mostly focusing on seduction than anything else. She is tasked with getting close to Joel Egerton and it becomes clear that she will be compromised by his presence, putting her in a bad position with her "assassination league" that will likely lead to some type of showdown with them. If all that sounds familier, well, it should as it's the same recipe as LA FEMME NIKITA (or even the US remake POINT OF NO RETURN) and it looks like more of a slow-burn thriller than an all-out action thriller (ATOMIC BLONDE is likely the pill to swallow for that fix). To be fair, it is still in production, so there's likely much more to show at a later date. Interesting, to be sure, but not a huge sell just yet.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES - We were treated to the new trailer and a previously shown clip, featuring Steve Zahn's "Bad Ape". I reported on the "Bad Ape" scene from the Fox Showcase event last year and the trailer is now online, so there isn't much I can offer other than my perspective. As a casual APES fan, I enjoy the series and feel like they get better with each new film and WAR looks to be another notch up from the previous two. Still, I can't help but feel like I'm just waiting in a long line to get to what we all really want; PLANET OF THE APES. That said, this looks like a solid effort in the series; dark, foreboding, and more epic in scale. From the trailers and clips alone it's easy to see why WB would hire Matt Reeves to take on THE BATMAN after seeing what WAR has to offer.

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE - This is the one I've been very eager to see more of. As a huge fan of the first film (and Matthew Vaughn's work in general) and someone who enjoyed Mark Millar and Dave Gibbon's comic, the sequel has me all kinds of excited. We got a look at the first trailer for the film and I'm happy to report that the cheeky, cool, and energetic style is all in tact, ripe with action, humor, gadgets, and a great roster of talent. Forced to head to the US for help, the Kingsman (Taron Egerton's Eggsy and Mark Strong's Merlin) meet up with the Statesman (the US version of The Kingsman), run by Jeff Bridges and his counterpart, played by Channing Tatum, a southern cowboy-like agent. There's another agent (Pedro Pascal) who wields a laser lasso, which we see used to slice a bad guy to pieces. Too cool.

But, that's not all. We also have the return of Colin Firth's Harry Hart, who is alive and well, sans one eye, and hiding out in the US. He's reunited with Eggsy and back in action (we see him doing some acrobatic shooting akin to his skills in the now-famous church scene from the first film), along with the Statesman, going head to head with The Golden Circle, a villainous organization headed by Julianne Moore. It looks like an absolute blast and I can't wait to revisit these characters (as well as meeting the new ones). There's a bit at the end as both Eggsy and Tatum's character are staring at some level of destruction and Eggsy says, "Well, that's very American" and after a beat, Tatum yells out "Fuck yeah!" and that was the cherry on the top for me. This looks great.

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN - The last blast for Fox's presentation was the musical biopic of PT Barnum aka The Greatest Showman and they brought out Hugh Jackman to the stage to talk about the film, passionate, vibrant, and goddmaned charming to the last. Jackman reminisced about his first time at CinemaCon (then known as ShoWest) and told a story about meeting Clint Eastwood on stage and fumbling over his words with Clint responding "You're holding up the line, kid" as everyone was exiting. Funny stuff and gracefully told by Jackman.

We then were treated to a first look at the film, which looks to be a really emotional and moving musical. Ripe with the rags-to-riches type journey we've seen before, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN looks like a grand journey with some great songs and performances to carry it through the box office this December. Even if musicals aren't your thing (they're not really mine, but then again I loved LA LA LAND) this feels like the very definition of an all-inclusive film, having something for everyone and tapping into the human spirit drama that can really uplift when you need it the most. We'll still have to wait and see how the final product comes out, but from the early peek, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN looks to deliver on the title.

And that's it for Fox! I know some of you were hoping to hear some X-MEN or DEADPOOL related news, but that just wasn't in this deck of cards. Those wheels are, of course, turning, and we'll hear and see more when Fox is prepared to share. Rest easy, though, as much more is coming from that universe.

Thanks for reading and watching our CinemaCon coverage! We'll have a few interviews coming your way, but that's a wrap fro panel coverage. We hope you enjoyed it and got some useful info from the event. I expect many of the trailers and teases we saw will be making their way online in the coming days, weeks, and months, so keep your eyes peeled for those as they drop.

Source: JoBlo.com



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