CinemaCon 2017: WB panel - Blade Runner 2049, IT, Dunkirk, LEGO and more

DUNKIRK - Director Christopher Nolan took the stage and didn't say too much, but did make it known (as he has in the past) that he was there to champion theatrical exhibition. He talked about how the story of DUNKIRK is something that he's been affected by since childhood and regarded as a turning point in history and hadn't felt right about adapting it until now. After that, they played the IMAX preview that's been making the rounds, so if you've already caught it then you know what to expect.

IT - The long-awaited remake of Stephen King's classic novel IT is finally here and if there was any doubt about its potential, that new trailer has likely shattered those. If not, well, I don't know what to tell you. MAMA director Andrés Muschietti spoke in a featurette shown for the film, talking about his take on the tale and passion for making it, which is essentially the original Stranger Things in terms of how Stephen King's stories typically go (and served as an influence for many pop culture tales since) with a team of kids fighting off an evil that is beyond their grasp. Overall, IT simply looks amazing and I don't use that word lightly. Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise is the stuff of nightmares and that's something I'll accept in watching this one as it's just too cool to miss out on.

ANNABELLE: CREATION - You may remember THE CONJURING spinoff ANNABELLE, which did some pretty decent business (well enough for a sequel anyway) and director David F. Sandberg is now at the helm after his own success with last year's LIGHTS OUT. This time, the story dives into the true origin of that creepy-ass doll and I have to say; I'm not havin' it. Don't get me wrong, it's not that the movie doesn't look good or scary. It's precisely because of that. Everyone has to draw a line and for me, creepy dolls coming to life are my line in the sand. That said, the film looks like a much more interesting look into the mythology of that particular series and a step up from the previous effort. One thing is very clear, though, with this and the currently-in-production THE NUN, the cinematic universe of THE CONJURING is in full swing.

UNFORGETTABLE - For those that need their date night/girl's night FATAL ATTRACTION fix, look no further than this one. Starring Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson, this has got all the trimmings of the ol' scorned evil ex that will stop at nothing to destory the lives of anyone that vexes or threatens her. When that woman is Heigl, you can bet your ass that she is not to be messed with. This is good fodder for the Lifetime Movie crowd and it should serve that demographic well.

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING - For the Young Adult crowd comes yet another teen romance tale of forbidden love (is there any other kind) mixed with medical drama (re: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS) and a genuine hearthrob tossed into the mix (Nick Robinson). Like UNFORGETTABLE, this serves a very specific audience and I could practically hear the squeals of delight in the air of the crowd that flocks to this as it hits all the marks in the young adult teen romance playbook.

BASTARDS - Owen Wilson and Ed Helms are twin brothers who set out on a journey to find their real father after their mom (Glenn Close) reveals that she isn't sure which man in her sexual life helped sire them. THE HANGOVER's cinematographer Lawrence Sher is in the director's chair for this one and it's definitely got that vibe. The trailer is already out there and we got an extended look that featured a lot more JK Simmons (you can't have too much JK Simmons, btw), as well as some extra (and extra crude) scenes with Ving Rhames, Terry Bradshaw, and Katt Williams. I doubt it's going to break any comedy records, but it's certainly got potential and the team-up of Helms/Wilson feels like a good fit. Could very well surprise.

THE HOUSE - The initial trailer for this didn't do much for me, but the extended peek shown here really showed it's potential. Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler star as parents about to send their daughter off to college...except they forgot to save any money for it. So, in an effort to make some college money fast, they turn their basement into a high-stakes casino. A concept like this is always contingent on the stars making it come to life. Fortunately, Ferrell and Poehler are more than up to the task and there's a number of great little bits here, including a scene where the two discuss their impending empty nest syndrome ("better pack your bags...'cause we're goin' to fucktown.") and a laugh-out-loud scene where they deal with a guy cheating in their "casino". It's the best kind of over the top scene and sold me a hell of a lot more on the overall film. Looks really promising.

KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD - At this point you've likely already made up your mind about this one and rightfully so. It's Guy Ritchie in SHERLOCK HOLMES mode, this time taking on the old Arthurian legend of the Sword in the Stone. Starring Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law (this time as the "big bad"), we got yet another extended look that had lots more quick Ritchie-style cuts and big fantasy visuals that make this look almost like a Lord of the Rings film (but, with, y'know, street smarts) than a standard retelling of the old tale. For me, as a Ritchie fan, I'll absolutely be checking this out, even if I have my doubts that it will be anything more than a popcorn spectacle.

GEOSTORM - Dean Devlin, known as the right-hand-man of Roland Emmerich for much of his career, makes his first leap as a director with GEOSTORM, which is essentially the ultimate mash-up of all their previous team-ups. Gerard Butler stars as some kind of weather specialist in a future where satellites control the Earth's weather. When one of them starts to act up, they go to investigate, only to trigger a mass malfunction that affects the entire planet. Basically, weather has been weaponized. So, Butler, along with Ed Harris, Andy Garcia, Abbie Cornish, Daniel Wu, and Jim Sturgess dodge epic waves, giant hale, multiple twisters, and everything else under the sun (natch) in a race to get the weather back to normal. Whatever the hell that is. I should knee-jerk hate this whole thing, but based on the extended trailer...I'm feeling those old Emmerich vibes and that's not a bad thing. Perhaps Devlin can turn this into something that's a fitting homage rather than a tireless retread.

BLADE RUNNER 2049 - Ah, the creme de la creme of the presentation (outside the DCEU goods). We already saw the new trailer during the Sony presentation, so WB opted for a behind-the-scenes featurette, just after director Denis Villeneuve, Ana de Armas, and Jared Leto took to the stage to talk it up. The featurette goes into the production, featuring interviews with Harrison Ford, Ridley Scott, Villeneuve, Roger Deakins, and more. Ford says at one point that he likes exploring characters that he played 30 years ago and has a fond affection for the original film. Two things that emerged from this featurette are 1) the music, which sounds very much like the new take on the old material by Vangelis from composer Jóhann Jóhannsson and the themes are all there, but with new accents, new takes and a very satisfying immersion back into that world 2) the settings, which are almost indescernible from the original film and I mean that in the best way. It's a testament to Scott's 1982 film as it stands the test of time flawlessly and 2049 looks to recapture the look (aged 30 years) perfectly. I simply could not be more excited to see this film.

THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE - One thing that popped up on screen during the extended look at the latest jaunt into the LEGO world was "We're building a cinematic universe". Ah, the keyword that has us all groaning anymore, but with LEGO it's already very evident, with THE LEGO MOVIE doing such great business and then THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE kicking all forms of ass at the box office. Certainly, the expectation is the THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE would do the same and, based on all we've already seen...why wouldn't it? It's vastly different from the TV show it's based on (in tone, that is), but it's got all the trimmings of the current staple of films (self aware comedy and sprawling, inventive action). The extended peek showed us more of the villainous Garmedon (voiced by Justin Theroux) and his relationship to Lloyd (Dave Franco), who is his good-guy son and green ninja on the Ninjago team. We get a peek at how their parents met (but thankfully, not how Lloyd was "made") and the rest is robot/kaiju/ninja action with lots of self-aware comedy. At this stage, you're either all in for the LEGO flicks, or they simply aren't for you. For me, as a longtime (and current) LEGO fan, it's an easy sell.

And that's it for the main WB panel. To read our breakdown of the DCEU part of the panel, click HERE!

Source: JoBlo.com



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