20th Century Fox always starts its CinemaCon presentations with a musical number, and this year it was A Chorus Line — girls in red bustiers dancing along to the Broadway show’s signature song “One” as Deadpool himself came twirling onstage.
That was followed by Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) beaming in via video saying that he can’t be there, and that Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson was running late. Deadpool greeted exhibitors in the room by saying “when do we get this self-congratulatory orgy of non-exhibitionists going?” Aronson then wakes up in bed in a The Greatest Showman get-up and says, “I’m totally f*cked.” Hugh Jackman joins the duo in the hotel room, and Deadpool tells him “it looks like Comcast really dodged the bullet,” which received a number of laughs from the room. More Disney-Fox merger jokes: a costumed Pluto wakes up in the background of the video and makes his way out amidst debris.
“You try staying up and drinking with those pricks,” said Aronson taking the stage. “At least I don’t have to wear spandex.” Aronson has appeared in Vanilla Ice get-up at previous CinemaCons and has always been a gamer in regards to hamming it up during the studio’s sessions here at Las Vegas.
Deadpool 2 hit tracking this morning with analysts projecting a $150 million opening for the May 18 release.
Motion Pictures boss Stacey Snider, addressing the Disney-Fox Merger, told the crowd, “We face a potential merger and its lasting implications on the movie business and I have no more insights than you do.” That said, she touted the studio’s finesse with sleepers like Greatest Showman and Fox’s history of pushing boundaries with non-IP fare. Snider then threw it to a Fox sizzle reel of their greatest hits including Sound of Music, Patton, Empire Strikes Back, Broadcast News, Cleopatra, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Alien, The King and I, etc.
The Fox intro fanfare soared, and the room here erupted with cheers.
The electricity in the room is bittersweet: This could be Fox’s final CinemaCon session with the merger on the horizon. “I can’t believe it’s been a century of working together with you,” Aronson said on behalf of the studio to the exhibs in the room. He called out and thanked key executives on his Fox team and theater chain executives, giving them props. “It’s an honor to get to work with you and your teams,” said Aronson. “We and so many others are 20th Century Fox.”
At the end of the session, a marching band came in and played the Fox fanfare live.