Record Participation: Ten studios preview their rosters at NATO show
CinemaCon 2017 truly has something to celebrate this year: a record ten movie studios participating with presentations of their upcoming movie lineups. Delegates who gather at the seventh annual National Association of Theatre Owners convention at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace March 27-30 will certainly leave with a better handle on all the potential hits coming to their screens this year and beyond.
“We continue to raise the bar,” says managing director Mitch Neuhauser. “We have eight studios in the Colosseum, and our two lunches are going to be all about product. Focus Features is joining the family, not only in celebrating their 15th anniversary but looking to the future with an incredible slate. They have some great surprises in store for the lunch, from a product standpoint and from a filmmaker/talent standpoint. That’s on Wednesday, and on Thursday Amazon is back. Amazon took a great step with us in 2016—they used CinemaCon to launch Manchester by the Sea, which went on to so much critical, box-office and awards success. And they are looking to up the ante.”
This year, Sony Pictures kicks things off with the opening-night studio event and party and dinner reception at Omnia Nightclub (co-sponsored by Dolby Laboratories), while relatively new player STX Entertainment again showcases its lineup during the Tuesday morning “State of the Industry” session which includes an industry address from NATO president John Fithian. Walt Disney Studios’ Tuesday night presentation will include a special screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. And you can expect stars and exciting clips from the other studios hosting showcases throughout the week: Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros.
“It’s their time to do what they want,” Neuhauser says of these presentations. “And quite often, we’re as surprised as the next guy in knowing what they’re going to do. The studios are so supportive, they make our lives so easy from a programming standpoint.”
An extra-added attraction this year is “The Mummy Zero Gravity VR Experience,” presented by IMAX and Universal Pictures. Participants in this virtual-reality offering will feel what it’s like to be four miles above sea level and be weightless in zero gravity as they join a stunt performed by Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis in Universal’s upcoming thriller, The Mummy.
“Studios and companies are working with exhibition to help drive incremental revenue, to help drive business to theatres,” Neuhauser observes. “So this year Universal is having this VR setup that delegates can visit throughout the week. We gave them the caveat that whatever they’re doing has to be about the theatre, not the home, and complement the moviegoing experience.”
Continuing a new tradition started last year by Regal Entertainment, CinemaCon will welcome roughly 400 general managers from the Cinemark circuit. “The studios are very excited to interface with the people out in the field who are working so hard to drive business and make the moviegoing experience a great one, which helps the entire industry,” Neuhauser declares.
“The trade show continues to sell out,” he reports. We’ve got more demand than ever before. We expanded our suite space to give companies a greater ability to showcase what they need to showcase.”
And let’s not forget the array of informative seminars, and the star-studded event that closes the show: the Big Screen Achievement Awards. Welcome to CinemaCon!
Monday, March 27
International Day Awards Luncheon, including honors for VOX Cinemas’ Cameron Mitchell, Paramount Pictures’ Mark Christiansen, and Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, 1:00-2:30 pm
Sony Pictures Entertainment Gala Opening Night Studio Event, with After-Party at Omnia, 6:30-10:30 pm
Tuesday, March 28
“The State of the Industry” Program, including a Presentation from STX Entertainment, 9:30-11:30 am
Paramount Pictures Product Presentation, 4:00-5:30 pm
Walt Disney Studios Presentation and Screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, 7:30-10:00 pm
Wednesday, March 29
Universal Pictures Product Presentation, 9:15 am-12:15 pm
Luncheon and Focus Features 15th Anniversary Program, 12:45-2:30 pm
Warner Bros.’ “The Big Picture” Product Preview, 4:30-6:00 pm
Will Rogers “Pioneer of the Year” Dinner honoring AMPAS’ Cheryl Boone Isaacs
Thursday, March 30
Twentieth Century Fox Product Presentation, 10:00-11:30 am
Luncheon and Amazon Studios Program, 12:15-2:00 pm
Lionsgate Product Presentation, including a screening of The Hitman’s Bodyguard, 2:15-4:30 pm
CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards Ceremony, 7:30-9:00 pm
Big Screen Achievement Awards After-Party, 9:30 pm