Here's the thing about CinemaCon presentations: they're a complete dog and pony show.
The studios get a couple hours to pitch the audience (theater owners from all over the country, along with a handful of press-types) on whatever they've got in the works, and generally that means unveiling a bunch of all-new trailers and trotting out a number of related celebrities to speak to the crowd about whatever they've just seen. For It: Chapter Two, WB brought the film's entire cast out onstage with director Andy Muschietti (who walked in from the wings carrying a bundle of red balloons). For Joker, the studio put Todd Phillips front and center to explain the obviously strange superhero spin-off he's made. It's all smoke and mirrors, obviously, but at the end of the day the success or failure of each panel rests solely on the shoulders of whatever footage gets screened. Are the reactions to said footage indicative of a film's quality? Oh, absolutely not. Does a good trailer guarantee a good movie? Hahaha, you and I both know better than that.
All of that said, today's Warner Bros. panel was filled with a whole bunch of highlights, trailers and sizzle reels for films that sure look like potential blockbusters. We've already discussed the It: Chapter Two and Joker presentations in their own posts, but here's a brief rundown of some other WB stuff I saw today, some of which may be of interest to you, the gentle BMD readers of the world:
- New Godzilla: King of The Monsters footage was epic in scope, beautiful in execution. This footage got the strongest reaction from the CinemaCon crowd, and rightfully so: it looks like Michael Dougherty's made a helluva film, and the sequence we saw (which found Ghidorah menacing a group of soldiers on what appeared to be a frozen lake before Godzilla showed up to stare him down) was tremendous.
- The next Scooby-Doo movie is animated and called, simply, Scoob! Just like that, with the exclamation point.
- We saw new footage from Wonder Woman 1984 that looked like a lot of fun: Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) having a romantic walk near the Washington Monument; Wonder Woman throwing down in the middle of a busy DC street; Wonder Woman whipping much ass in a mall. I could be mistaken, but it appeared the subtle grain that had been applied to the original Wonder Woman (presumably a move to make the film feel more of a piece with the Snyder DC movies) seems to have been removed entirely. Everything was bright, crisp and clear. More of that, please.
- We saw some behind-the-scenes footage from Birds of Prey that was pretty cool. The production design's intricate and funky, and everyone involved appears to be having an absolute ball making the film.
- Bill Condon and Helen Mirren took the stage to introduce the first trailer for The Good Liar, a Hitchcockian thriller starring Mirren and Ian McKellan. Lots of time was spent telling the audience that the film's ending was a shocker, and not to be spoiled. Film itself looks twisty, turn-y, paranoid and maybe a little bit creepy. Consider me sold.
- At one point, a holographic Pikachu appeared onstage and introduced a clip from Detective Pikachu. It was mildly terrifying (the hologram, not the footage; the footage was actually pretty fun).
- We saw a sizzle reel for Mike Flanagan's Doctor Sleep which leaned very heavily on the legacy of The Shining, right up to a shot of adult Danny (Ewan McGregor) seeing the word "REDRUM" in a mirror and the opening theme from Kubrick's film playing over Doctor Sleep's title treatment. Not much footage, but what's there looks good.
- We also saw the first trailer for Ed Norton's Motherless Brooklyn, which Norton wrote, directed and stars in. Norton's pulling out all the Actor Tricks in the world for this one, quite clearly gunning for an Oscar, and he may well succeed. Also, this trailer was scored to Radiohead's "Pyramid Song", which was an interesting choice.
Aaaand that's about it! I'll have further updates for you tomorrow, including a complete recap of Universal's big panel tomorrow morning. Word on the street suggests we might get our first look at Tom Hooper's Cats, which oughtta be...something. Stay tuned, gang.