Refresh for updates Disney’s’ CinemaCon session kicked off with compilation sizzle of Disney and Fox films including X-Men, Dark Phoenix, Bohemian Rhapsody, Zootopia, Avengers: Endgame, extolling the library fruits of its recent merger.
There was one moment which was a wink at the audience: Wolverine asked in some X-Men footage, “What is this place?” which then cut to a shot of Black Panther, as if he was asking the King of Wakanda for the answer.
“I’ve put some sizzle reels together in my time, but that one blows my mind, I’m still just getting my mind around this,” said Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn on the top of Disney’s CinemaCon session which didn’t feature any stars or directors onstage, just Disney-Fox suits. The session was ended with the first 17 minutes of Toy Story 4.
Taking the stage after Horn, Disney’s President of Distribution and Franchise Management Cathleen Taff said “no Star Wars footage just yet.” That doesn’t come as surprise as Disney typically explodes all their stuff for that film at Star Wars Celebration which is in a few weeks, April 11-15 in Chicago. Buzz is that we’ll hear more about Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian then.
Also MIA at Disney’s CinemaCon 2019: James Cameron showing a sneak peek of Avatar 2. The last time he was here was three years ago.
Not revealed — what the Marvel movies will be for 2020 for the new merger. Word is that will come to reveal itself after Avengers: Endgame opens at the end of the month. Rumors have been that it’s Black Widow standalone movie and Doctor Strange 2.
“We’ll be more than the sum of our parts, ” said Horn said about the Disney-Fox merger, “we’ll be the north star as Disney and Fox continues to move forward.”
“You’ll be seeing more of Deadpool in the years ahead” said Horn as Ryan Reynolds Twitter of the superhero in a school bus flashed on the screen.
Horn called out all the achievements of Disney and Fox, and Searchlight’s Oscar-winning streak. He paused when he came across the title of Guillermo del Toro’s best picture winner and wryly said “Shape of Water. What is that? I never understood that.” This was all before Horn launched a Searchlight sizzle reel showing their hits like The Favourite, Descendants, Black Swan, Three Billboards, etc., and a placard in the reel touting awards stats 139 Oscar nominations and 39 wins.
“Isn’t that great?” said Horn, “It moves me to see this. I don’t have a lot of spare time, but when people ask me what I do, I say ‘I watch movies’ and that makes me happy.” Horn then gave a shoutout to Searchlight brass Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula.
Taff, following Horn, gave a shout-out to outgoing Fox domestic distribution boss Chris Aronson and Fox Int’l Boss Andrew Cripps for making their side of the studio a success in its box office achievements. She then flashed all the film logos for the combined Disney/Fox 20 slate. Deadline reported that on the Fox domestic side Linda Ditrinco and Bill Lewis will head Fox and report to Disney SVP and General Sales Manager of North America, Ken Caldwell (who will in turn report to Taff). Managing Fox’s international releases with division boss Andrew Cripps’ departure will be Bryan Song and Andrew Marshall, reporting in to Disney’s SVP International Distribution Jeffrey Forman (he also reports to Taff). Frank Rodriguez will continue to lead Fox Searchlight’s distribution ops.
New Mutants was listed among the films being released in a slide that was thrown up on the screen behind Taff. That’s intriguing as that film has long been rumored to be going to Hulu. While there were a lot of Dark Phoenix posters and standees in the hallways of CinemaCon here at Caesar’s, there weren’t any for New Mutants which comes out on Aug. 2. Judging from this CinemaCon session, New Mutants is still alive. The last we saw of the movie was when Fox dropped a trailer for the horror like X-Men spinoff at CinemaCon 2017.
“No Star Wars footage just yet,” said Taff, however she served up an Avengers: Endgame scene with Black Widow, Thor, Bruce Banner, Captain American and Captain Marvel. Nebula tells them she knows where Thanos is. Word was heading into CinemaCon that Endgame would not be previewed to attendee, unlike last year when they sneaked Infinity War so we are left with this footage.
Of the lineup of films, Taff acknowledged there were a couple that “do share the same release date. We know some adjustments will need to be made, we will update you.”
Taff then threw the mic over to Emma Watts Vice Chairman of 20th Century Fox. “Some sort of Disney hazing that I’m following the Avengers.” Watts spoke about how the studios who used to be competitors are now colleagues.
“It’s my humble hope that legacies are made everyday,” said Watts praising Disney sources to take 20th into the future.
Dark Phoenix trailer played, natch, as it was just at WonderCon. “The bigger question Jean is who are you,” asks Jessica Chastain’s bleached hair baddie. Jean asks Magneto if he’s going to break her. He says, yes, but then she gets the best of him with a snap and having absolute control over him, popping his armor off and suspending him.
Then the trailer for Stuber, a buddy comedy with Dave Bautista, and Kumail Nanjiani which wowed SXSW. Lots of screaming Bautista, shoot, shoot bang, bang, punctuated by Nanjiani’s great observational humor. “There’s a red band version, but you know, first day of school, green version,” said Watts before introducing an awesome first look at Ford v. Ferrari.
Walt Disney Studios President of Production Sean Bailey showed footage of Will Smith’s Genie singing “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin and a behind the scene and trailer reel of Maleficent Mistress of Darkness which moved from 2020 into October 18. “Is Maleficent good enough to be (Princess) Aurora’s mother?” said Jolie as the hook for the sequel to the 2014 near $800M global hit.