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CinemaCon Wrap: The Industry Is Back, while “Simultaneous Release Is Dead”

Interestingly, CinemaCon 2022, which gathered several thousands of exhibitors from all over the world in the Colosseum at Caesars Palace for four intense days of presentations by Hollywood studios, kicked off with National Association of Theatre Owners CEO John Fithian declaring that “simultaneous release is dead as a serious business model, and piracy is what killed it”.

Yesterday was the final day of CinemaCon 2022 packed schedule wrapped up with Lionsgate presentation of the studio’s slate that followed two full days of exciting events by The Walt Disney Studios, Universal Pictures, and Paramount Pictures Studio expressing their confidence in the fact that moviegoers are back to theaters, and so is the industry, and sharing their release plans for the coming months ahead.


The Walt Disney Studios

Kicking off the third day of CinemaCon 2022, The Walt Disney studio shared seventy minutes of exclusive footage created especially for the attendees of the event in Las Vegas.

“The entertainment landscape has definitely changed quite a bit over the past few years but the one thing that hasn’t changed and never will is the power of the movies. Nothing can beat the combined power of Disney, which spans every single genre”, – said Tony Chambers, head of Disney Theatrical Distribution, in his opening speech prior to welcoming Marvel’s chief Kevin Feige on the Colosseum stage.

The President of Marvel Studios assured the audience: “I know we’re back. We made Spider-Man. And now it’s time for the multiverse where everything can happen”. His speech was followed by 20-minute exclusive footage from the latest Marvel release Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness starring Golden Globe nominee Benedict Cumberbatch as a Marvel wizard who meets America Chavez played by Xochitl Gomez.

But this was not the only exclusive footage shared on Wednesday morning. The audience had a chance to view thirty minutes of Lightyear, the first post-pandemic Pixar animation to be released by Disney exclusively in theaters on June 17, 2022. Chris Evans who is the voice of the new Buzz Lighter known to millions of kids all over the world from the Toy Story franchise, made a video cameo to an audience of CinemaCon 2022 saying: “You’ll finally know the story behind Buzz Lightyear. This is an epic thematic experience that has to be seen on the big screen”. Indeed, especially if we keep in mind that the music score was written by Golden Globe-winner Michael Giacchino.

An exclusive look of Amsterdam, the new film by Golden Globe nominee David O. Russell was one of the major surprises of The Walt Disney Studios’ presentation. Set in the early 20th century, this period film is focused on three friends played byGolden Globe winner Christian Bale and the Golden Globe nominees Margot Robbie and John David Washington. The rest of the cast includes Golden Globe winners Robert De Niro, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Rami Malek, as well as Zoe Saldaña, Chris Rock, and Taylor Swift. This star-studded period comedy written, directed, and produced by O. Russell will be released in theaters on November 4, 2022.

But of course, the long-awaited sequel to Avatar was the centerpiece of the entire presentation. After many months of anticipation, the audience finally had an exclusive opportunity to watch the first trailer for the sequel of Golden Globe winner James Cameron’s original movie now officially known as Avatar: The Way of Water. This trailer will be screened in theaters starting next week and will debut online a week later.

Producer Jon Landau ,who flew to Las Vegas overnight from New Zealand only to introduce the new trailer at CinemaCon 2022, said from the stage: “At the center of each of the four sequels will be the Sully family. Each story will be a stand-alone and each will come to its own conclusion. The journey across all four movies will create a connected saga”.

James Cameron televised from the set in New Zealand saying: “I wanted our return to Pandora to be something really special. Every shot is designed for the biggest screen, highest resolution, and most immersive 3D available”. It’s noteworthy that the original Avatar will be re-released in theaters on September 23, 2022, while its sequel is scheduled to come to theaters on December 16, 2022.


Universal Studios & Focus Features

Day 3 of CinemaCon 2022 continued with the presentation by Universal Studios and Focus Features. And if the studios presenting earlier have been tirelessly emphasizing the fact that the theatrical business is back, Universal went even further pairing movie theater attendees with their favorite stars on the stage of the Colosseum. Head of Universal Motion Picture Entertainment Group Donna Langley opened the presentation by saying: “My confidence in theatrical has never wavered”. She continued: “Resilience is in our DNA, and theatrical will always be the cornerstone of our business”.

Jim Orr, head of Universal’s Domestic Distribution, took over and he assured the audience that “personal stories, original ideas and seeing ourselves reflected on the big screen will stand the test of time”.

Jordan Peele’s new horror Nope was the first release presented by Universal Studios. The critically acclaimed director introduced his third directorial feature himself but prior to screening its trailer, he apologized for not being able to attend CinemaCon a few years before due to the sandstorm. “And now I’m afraid of sandstorms”, – he laughed. He continued: “After Get Out I got a chance to make original movies, and until someone stops me, I plan to keep bringing these nightmares to big screens”. Speaking of Nope, Peele shared that he shot the film in 65mm IMAX saying that “this film is a ride!” But the director refused to disclose any more details: “Discovery and surprise is a part of the fun!” – he concluded before the attendees of CinemaCon 2022 could watch the trailer of the film that will hit theaters on July 22, 2022.

Next Golden Globe winner Jamie Lee Curtis introduced Halloween Ends, which she called “Laurie Strode’s last stand”. She added: “It has been a ride of my life since 1978”. Curtis added that her character “is able to face the monsters when others run” and she is “standing up for many women facing their own figurative Boogieman”. Speaking about the genre of horror overall, Jamie Lee Curtis emphasized that “fear lets us confront something we don’t control”.

Allison Williams, a star of Get Out and Blumhouse’s new horror M3GAN, mentioned that it was great to see Jordan Peele backstage and said: “I have no idea how I ended up being up in these movies because I am too scared to watch all the other movies” in the genre of horror. Her new film will be released on Friday, January 13, 2023, and it follows a story of a robot with a special set of skills. It looks like a girl and becomes a part of William’s onscreen family until something obviously goes wrong as the audience could get from exclusive extended footage.

Jo Koy, the star of Easter Sunday released on August 5, 2022, had the entire Colosseum laugh with his stand-up bit before he screened an exclusive trailer starting with a statement that “Easter Sunday is a Filipino Super Bowl”. Koy emphasized that his new comedy is “about a mother and her family who turns up to be a Filipino family”.

Billy Eichner presented his new comedy Bros stating that it is “the first gay romcom made by a major studio” as well as it is “the first major studio film with fully open LBGTQ cast”. Before sharing the trailer for his new comedy produced by Judd Apatow, Eichner stressed out that “representation matters” and Bros which will be released on September 30, 2022, opened the door to opportunities “for actors historically overlooked”.

Universal Studios also screened exclusive clips for several upcoming releases such as Beast, starring Golden Globe winner Idris Elba who will fight with a giant lion deep in the jungle on August 19, 2022; and The Last Voyage of the Demeter, a period horror movie about Dracula’s trip across the ocean, to hit the big screens on January 27, 2023. Ticket to Paradise is a romantic comedy starring Golden Globe winners Julia Roberts and George Clooney as the divorced parents of Kaitlyn Dever’s character, who are flying to Bali to argue their daughter out of a coming wedding. The world will know whether this mission turns out to be a success or a failure, on October 21, 2022.

Golden Globe winner Steve Carell traveled to Las Vegas to personally present an exclusive look for the new installment of his Minions: The Rise of Gru that will be released on July 1, 2022.

Zoe Kazan and Golden Globe winner Carey Mulligan shared an exclusive trailer for their new drama She Said, a film adaptation of Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s book of the same name about their New York Times investigation into Harvey Weinstein, It will come to theaters on November 18, 2022.

Next Focus Features Chairman Peter Kujawski opened the presentation of his studios’ slate with a statement that Focus Features for two decades of its history was supporting the first-time filmmakers. This part of the presentation included exclusive extended looks for Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris – a comedy about love for Paris and a Dior dress set in the 1950s, starring Lesley Manville and Golden Globe winner Isabelle Huppert (July 15, 2022), and Armageddon Time by James Gray starring Golden Globe winners Anthony Hopkins and Anne Hathaway, and Golden Globe nominee Jeremy Strong. This coming-of-age drama will be one of the contenders for the Palme d’Or at the 75th Cannes Film Festival.

Golden Globe nominee David Harbour went up on the stage of the Colosseum to be the one who’d introduce his new film Violent Night which is a crossover of action and a Christmas movie to be released on December 2, 2022.

Focus Features presentation wrapped up with a video from the cast of Downtown Abbey: A New Era, a sequel to the 2019 feature film adaptation of the Golden Globe-winner TV series of the same name. The trailer shown at CinemaCon 2022 reminded the audience that the new installment of Downtown Abbey would relocate to the South of France and open in US theaters on May 20, 2022.

Getting back to the lineup of Universal Studios, Harvey Guillen introduced exclusive footage for the long-awaited sequel of DreamWorks’ Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Guillen costars with Golden Globe nominees Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek as the voice of Perro, a little chihuahua who will join the adventures feline squad on December 21, 2022.

Jeff Goldblum and Golden Globe nominee Bryce Dallas Howard had a heartfelt introduction for Jurassic World Dominion. Howard shared that she saw the original Jurassic Park when she was 12 and announced that the cast of the original film returns on big screens ,including Golden Globe winner Laura Dern and the Golden Globe nominee Sam Neill. Exclusive extended footage screened at CinemaCon 2022 shows them joining Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in search of a kidnapped baby raptor. Goldblum shared that Jurassic World Dominion will be the first movie he will see with his 5- and 7-year-old kids for the first time in a movie theater.


Paramount Pictures Studio

Thursday morning at Caesars Palace kicked off with an energetic hip-hop Sonic the Hedgehog-themed dance crew on stage with Chris Aronson, head of Paramount Pictures Domestic Distribution, channeling Dr. Robotnik by wearing a huge mustache. He introduced Brian Robbins, the new studio’s chief who’s been with the studio just for six months by now after replacing Jim Giannopoulos. Robbins has concurred with other studio heads by saying that “theatrical films are the cornerstone of business” and assuring that “movies are a tremendous entertainment value”.

The centerpiece of Paramount Pictures’ presentation was an exclusive screening of Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick , directed by Joseph Kosinski. CinemaCon 2022 attendees had an opportunity to become the very first audience to watch the highly anticipated film in Dolby Atmos before it will be premiered during the coming Cannes Film Festival prior to its release on May 27, 2022. As mentioned by Brian Robbins, the film will have five release dates and will play only in theaters. From the very first minutes when we see Tom Cruise wearing his legendary flight jacket, Ray-Ban Aviator Classic sunglasses, and helmet-free riding his Kawasaki Ninja bike. It’s clear that Top Gun: Maverick will likely win both the younger generations and their parents, who watched the original Top Gun in theaters 36 years ago.

But before the screening of Top Gun: Maverick Paramount Pictures showed a sizzle reel that included an exclusive look for Babylon – a new jazz-era period film by Golden Globe winner Damien Chazelle, starring Golden Globe-winner Brad Pitt and Golden Globe nominee Margot Robbie (December 25, 2022); and the first look of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves starring Chris Pine and promising another epic adventure on big screens on March 3, 2023.

Tom Cruise couldn’t attend CinemaCon this year due to his shooting schedule on the set of Mission: Impossible 8 in South Africa. Instead he sent a special pre-recorded video message from a red biplane flying high above the mountains, part of one of his big stunts for the new film. CinemaCon attendees had the pleasure to watch the trailer for the coming Mission: Impossible installmen, now officially titled Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning – Part 1 and will be released on July 14, 2023.



The official part of CinemaCon 2022 was capped with a presentation by Lionsgate. Following the trend set by Universal Studios, the Lionsgate team invited Sebastian Maniscalco to promote the new film About My Father and his ten-minute long stand-up set the whole Colosseum laughing. Maniscalco co-wrote and starsin the new comedy, together with Golden Globe winner Robert De Niro, who joined him on stage with Golden Globe winner Kim Cattrall and Leslie Bibb.

Joe Drake, Chairman of Lionsgate, introduced the duo of Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski who came to Las Vegas to share an early look of the new installment of their franchise John Wick: Chapter 4 which will come to big screens on March 23, 2024. Drake said that “John Wick became more than a beloved franchise – a singular experience and a cultural phenomenon”.

Rachel McAdams and Abby Ryder Fortson presented an exclusive trailer of the film adaptation of Judy Blume’s 1970 novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret that will be released on September 16, 2022.

Wrapping up the presentation Lionsgate announced the release date of the Hunger Games prequel: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will come to theaters on November 17, 2023