The “State of the Industry” seminar is always first thing on the Tuesday morning. It’s usually the most important seminar of CinemaCon because the head of the MPA (Motion Picture Association) and the head of NATO (National Association of Theatre Owners) give their speeches about the movie theater industry.
There was a sizzle reel honoring the most successful movies of 2022 (they show this every year).
Then Charles Rivkin, Chairman & CEO of the MPA spoke. Most of his speech was about getting more movies for movie theater screens. The MPA is currently “…working around the world to ensure that more movies are being produced in more markets, with more authentic stories being told, so that more audiences can watch them on your cinema screens – from Manhattan, to Mexico City to Mumbai.”
Next up was John Fithian who did his final CinemaCon speech as President and CEO of NATO. First, they ran a video of James Cameron congratulating him on his years as the head of NATO. John Fithian has been the head of NATO through the years when movie theaters were switching to digital projection and through the troubling last 3 years when the pandemic closed movie theaters – some movie theaters closed for good. A lot of the people that spoke all during CinemaCon congratulated him on his upcoming retirement.
His final speech at CinemaCon was mostly about getting people back into movie theaters. He also talked about getting more movies into movie theaters, mentioning how Apple is releasing “Napoleon” and “Killers of the Flower Moon” exclusively in movie theaters before playing on streaming sites.
(Although he didn’t mention how long the movies would be playing exclusively in movie theaters. I’m sure that it will be longer than the single week that “Glass Onion” played in movie theaters last Thanksgiving.)
Warner Bros presentation
After the seminar, there was a 15 minute break because the Warner Bros presentation was in the same room. (the following may not be in the exact order of the presentation).
The Warner Bros presentation started with their sizzle reel highlighting the studios 100-year anniversary this year. At the end of the presentation there was a very brief mention of some movies that will be coming out in the future including “Beetlejuice 2”.
After that, David Zaslav – Warner Discovery CEO – gave a little speech. This was somewhat unusual – I don’t think Bob Iger has ever given a speech at CinemaCon – but he wanted to come out to stress that they make movies for movie theaters. They’re in no rush to bring their movies to “Max” (formerly HBO Max). He said that the studio is “…a storytelling company, we’re not in the broadband business, we’re not in the phone business…” (as the company is no longer owned by AT&T).
I’m guessing he came out to promote how much Warner Bros has changed since just 2 years ago they released ALL OF THEIR MOVIES in movie theaters and on HBO Max on the same day.
The he spoke about meeting Oprah Winfrey 15 years ago when he created the OWN Network.
- This led to Oprah Winfrey coming on the stage (her first appearance at CinemaCon) to promote the musical version of the “The Color Purple” which is opening in movie theaters at the end of the year. She introduced director Blitz Bazawule and cast members Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, and Fantasia Barrino. They showed a not quite finished trailer for the movie and then they had a short interview where they talked about the movie for a little while.
- The next movie promoted was “Barbie”. Writer director Greta Gerwig, producer and star Margot Robbie, and star Ryan Gosling all took the stage to talk about the movie and to show an extended trailer which showed the very funny tagline “If you love barbie … if you hate Barbie, this movie is for you.”
- Next up was trailers for a couple sequels coming this summer. They showed a trailer for “Meg 2: The Trench” and the next movie in “The Conjuring” horror movie franchise – “The Nun 2”. Taissa Farmiga and Storm Reid, came on stage to talk about how scary it was to film “The Nun 2”. They filmed parts of it in old buildings that some say are actually haunted.
- Then they showed a not-yet-finished trailer for “Wonka” coming out this Christmas. The trailer featured a few people who will have cameos in the movie including Rowan Atkinson, Olivia Coleman, and Hugh Grant as a very short Oompa Loompa.
Then they brought out stars Timothée Chalamet and Sally Hawkins to talk about the movie. One person said, according to the book, the Oompa Loompas are “as high as your knee” which is why Hugh Grant’s Oompa Loompa in the trailer is so short
- Timothée Chalamet returned to the stage again a few minutes later. This time with “Dune Part 2” director Denis Villeneuve and star Zendaya. They talked about how much bigger the second part of the movie is and all the new actors in part 2 (including Florence Pugh and Austin Butler). Then they showed what could be a not-yet-finished trailer for the movie.
- Next up was a video from James Gunn (who is busy promoting “Guardians of the Galaxy Part 3”) – the new co-head of DC who talked about the DC movies coming out this year. He introduced the other co-head of DC – Peter Safran – who came onstage to talk more about the upcoming movies. First was “The Flash”. Andy Muschietti, director of the movie talked about it for a little while and then they showed a brand-new trailer for the upcoming movie (the full movie showed at CinemaCon a few hours later on Tuesday night).
- Then, “Blue Beetle” director Angel Manuel Soto and star Xolo Maridueña came out to talk about the 2nd DC movie coming out this summer. They showed an extended trailer for the movie.
- “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is the third Warner Bros movie coming out this December. Director James Wan and star Jason Momoa weren’t there buy they both appeared on video before they showed a few scenes from the movie. Interestingly, Amber Heard was only seen in one very brief shot of the scenes they showed.
(I just realized that Warner Bros currently has 3 MAJOR RELEASES in Dec of this year. “Wonka” currently scheduled for Dec 15, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” currently scheduled for Dec 20, and “The Color Purple” currently scheduled for Christmas Day.)
Best Moment: It’s a tie between Ryan Gosling talking about his “Ken-ergy” for the “Barbie” movie and the scene from “Wonka” featuring a 3-foot-tall Oompa Loompa played by Hugh Grant.
Screening – The Flash
The final thing I attended that day was the screening of “The Flash”. They said the movie isn’t completely finished which means there’s a chance they will change something for the final movie. So, I will give my review when the movie is released. However, I have 4 comments.
- There were news stories about the CinemaCon screening that said “Emotional…Some People Crying…”. I don’t think it was that emotional and I didn’t see people crying.
- Last year, there were news reports that said similar things about the CinemaCon screening of “Top Gun Maverick”. If this year is similar to last year, I’m guessing “The Flash” could be the biggest movie of the year.
- This new trend of having “multiverse” storylines (such as this movie and “Spider-Man: No Way Home”). IT NEEDS TO STOP BEFORE IT GETS OUT OF HAND.
- Most importantly: if the version that is released doesn’t change much, I give the movie 7 out of 10 stars. Which means I give it a marginal recommendation.