'Spider-Man' sequels, Bad Bunny kick off buoyant CinemaCon summit

April 26, 2022 / 9:26 AM
Sharjah24 - AFP: Hollywood bosses showcased new "Spider-Man" sequels and brought rap superstar Bad Bunny on stage to kick off a bullish meeting of movie theater industry leaders in Las Vegas Monday.

The CinemaCon summit draws Tinseltown executives to giant casino ballrooms each year, where owners of theaters -- from global chains to tiny independents -- are treated to never-before-seen footage and A-list appearances.

After a subdued edition last August, big-screen operators were back in a buoyant mood, with box office hauls now recovering from successive Covid-hit years -- not to mention news that streaming juggernaut Netflix recorded its first subscriber loss in more than a decade.

"What are you doing here? Everyone said you're dead, everyone said you're finished," joked Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony Pictures, to cheers from theater owners.

Theaters have particularly been encouraged by hits like Sony's recent "Spider-Man: No Way Home" -- the third-biggest US box office success of all time, grossing $1.9 billion worldwide.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller, directors of Oscar-winning 2018 animation "Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse," unveiled unfinished footage from the first 15 minutes of their sequel "Across the Spider-Verse," out next summer.

It featured various male and female Spidey heroes hopping between dimensions -- and will be followed by another animated sequel, the newly announced "Beyond the Spider-Verse," in 2024.

In its opening-night presentation, Sony also presented footage from Brad Pitt action thriller "Bullet Train," based on a Japanese novel and out in July.

Early scenes showed Pitt's wise-cracking hitman pacing through neon-lit Tokyo streets before brawling with music superstar-turned-actor Bad Bunny on a train.

"That's not my first fight," joked the chart-topping Puerto Rican rapper, who was also unveiled as the first Latino to lead a live-action Marvel superhero film -- "El Muerto," out in January 2024.

Viola Davis appeared on stage to accept the event's inaugural "trailblazer" prize -- while plugging her upcoming film "The Woman King," a historical epic about the female warriors of the west African kingdom of Dahomey, out in September.

"I wanted to be a producer who championed those stories with people with a history that looked like me," said the "Fences" Oscar-winner.

She called the new film -- in which she also stars -- her "magnus opus."

Reese Witherspoon appeared by video to introduce her adaptation of best-selling novel "Where The Crawdads Sing," a creepy drama set around a murder in the North Carolina marshes, out this summer.

The presentation also confirmed new "Ghostbusters" and "Venom" sequels, and ended with a video message from boxing great George Foreman ahead of a new biopic about his career.
April 26, 2022 / 9:26 AM

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