UPDATE with more details: Last year at CinemaCon in Las Vegas the Baywatch cast made a promise to be here, and they’re making good on that. A swarm of bathing-suit clad young women and beefcakes marched through the aisles shooting towels into the air with Baywatch Dwayne Johnson in tow to kick off Paramount Pictures’ presentation this afternoon.
The studio brought out the stars for the exhibitor crowd, with George Clooney and Matt Damon on hand for Suburbicon (and Damon also for Downsizing); Mark Wahlberg for Transformers: The Last Knight; and Al Gore for his sequel to his documentary An Inconvenient Truth.
“I give you the Avengers of the Beach, Team Baywatch,” said Johnson, calling up the cast of Zac Afron (“a real a**hole with movie star good looks”), Alexandria Daddario, Priyanka Chopra and Jon Bass.
Johnson revealed that Baywatch tickets go on sale April 14 — the same day that his Fate Of The Furious. But that’s not all, theaters will compete to sell the most tickets to Baywatch with the winning theater managers flown to the Hollywood premiere. “Adam Aron from AMC? We need you in this? Andy Miles from Regal,” said The Rock, calling out exhibition executives. The cast introduced a new type of trailer band: Fuchsia or “FU for F***king Unbelievable for pervasive hotness, comedy and action. May cause pissing in pants due to excessive laughter. Under 17 requires accompanying lifeguard or wet nurse,” read the label before the trailer played (nothing new here trailer-wise by the way — except for Bass in the shower hysterically singing Katy Perry’s “Roar”…and the scene where Efron’s character is instructed to inspect a man’s private parts for “taint” by Johnson in a hospital morgue).
Former VP Al Gore made a surprise appearance between a clip and a trailer for An Inconvenient Sequel – Truth To Power. Gore spoke about the power of cinema to impact social change. “We were here a decade ago for the original film and I”m really glad to join you again…the power of entertainment to inform has made us more socially aware. All of us who have been involved with the film hopes it will be a tool to galvanize us all to action. The climate crisis is really not a partisan issue,” he said. The trailer featured an angry Gore taking issue with the current administration, with clips of President Donald Trump knocking environmental change and his desire to cut the EPA.
Paramount president of worldwide marketing and distribution Megan Colligan hosted the studio’s session today. President of domestic distribution Kyle Davies introduced a clip and trailer to Alex Garland sci-fi Natalie Portman-Oscar Isaac film Annihilation. No date yet for the movie.
Afterward, Clooney, Damon and Julianne Moore took the stage to show off their clip from Suburbicon, a dark absurdist tale penned by the Coen brothers about life insurance with Oscar Isaac as an investigator, Moore as a 1950s model housewife, and Damon as a widower whose wife has died in a crime. Clooney playfully knocked Paramount for their plans to take the film wide on November 3 against Thor: Ragnarok.
Clooney and Damon bantered back and forth. “We knocked over a few casinos here, didn’t we Matt?” said Clooney. And Clooney noted that a heist recently just happened here in Vegas.
“They sure did with guns and hoods,” said Damon, “…but all we needed was (pause) Brad Pitt.”
Moore launched into a comedy routine about how co-star Isaac was a great actor and handsome and well, Damon was 5-foot-10, to which Damon said “5-10 and a half.” Damon teased Clooney about the nipples in his Batman costume, and Clooney responded that, well, Batman is still a star.
Damon would later return to the stage with Alexander Payne to show his Downsizing trailer, which was very off the wall, involving Damon and Kristen Wiig as a couple who are given the option to shrink their lives down literally, living a miniature life.
Marc Evans, president of the motion picture group, told exhibitors that the studio will be working with its sister Viacom TV brands — Nickolodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET and Nick Jr. — in a closer way than they have in the past, doubling down on Viacom CEO Bob Bakish’s new gameplan to create synergy between the company’s film and TV components. “Either in films to TV or TV to film,” said Evans about the type of product Paramount would greenlight.
With that, Evans introduced Pam Kaufman, chief marketing officer at Nickelodeon, who walked onstage. The presentation then turned into one about Nickelodeon. She boasted it is comprised of five U.S. TV networks, six on-demand platforms and talked about the network’s reach with kids and families. “We reach everybody,” she said, “and the power of the brand will be used to drive moviegoers to see your movies.”
She also noted: “We are completely dominating in animation” before talking about their biggest animation shows. Evans added that their cooperation in the future will be “unparalled” as they plan to increase the number of movies for the kid and family space. Many of the attendees that Deadline spoke with thought the Nickelodeon presentation was directed at the wrong audience and was completely out of place at CinemaCon.
One upcoming product share included the feature toon Amusement Park which will hit theaters first before becoming a TV show on Nick in 2019.
Paramount also showed a clip from Transformers: The Last Knight. “I am a strong believer in preserving the theatrical experience,” director Michael Bay said. “I’m here to keep 3D alive … the scale of a Transformers movie is meant to be seen on the big screen. I keep saying this is my last one and I’m going out with a bang. This is a big-scale movie.”
Anthony Hopkins, Mark Wahlberg, Lorezno Di Bonaventura and Jerrod Carmichael joined Bay onstage for what was the 10th anniversary from the bow of the original film. Carmichael nicknamed Hopkins “T-Hop.”
“I did say this was my last one and I keep getting drawn back in,” said Bay. “I just had to do this one. I had a blast doing it … and I think this is something fresh.” Bay has indicated on social that this might be the last Transformers film he directs.
Asked about working with Bay, Hopkins said: “It’s extraordinary. I heard rumors. I heard stories. I showed up on the first day. I obey orders and that is a good way to do it.” He laughed and said, he called the director Speedy Gonzales. “He doesn’t have time to talk. It’s come on, come on, come on! I loved it. It’s very American.” He also told a story about how Bay said the Stonehenge they created on set “was much better than” the original.
“That’s why I love Americans.”