CinemaCon in Vegas promotes box-office success, movies, stars

The days of attending to stream a film the identical day it hits theaters are over.

Opening CinemaCon’s first full day on Tuesday, John Fithian, president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, used his business tackle to declare a victory.

It wasn’t a lot his group’s oft-stated rallying cry — that films belong in cinemas — that ultimately swayed studios, however a much less publicized offender: piracy.

“I am pleased to announce today that simultaneous release is dead as a business model, and piracy is what killed it,” Fithian advised a cheering viewers contained in the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

In touting the field workplace successes of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “The Batman,” in addition to “Sonic The Hedgehog 2” and “The Lost City,” Fithian promised higher days for the moviegoing business.

“There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about what is ahead of us,” he mentioned. “The slate of films in 2022 and beyond is robust and full of massive box office potential.”

CinemaCon, the group’s annual gathering, was canceled in 2020 and scaled down for an off-cycle model final August. In pre-pandemic days, the conference drew round 5,000 attendees from greater than 80 nations.

Fithian’s optimistic outlook was one thing of a soothing balm for theater homeowners, who’ve endured a completely brutal pandemic.

Following months of closures, moviegoing didn’t actually rebound till “Spider-Man: No Way Home” swung into theaters final December, incomes greater than $800 million domestically for one of many largest hauls in cinema historical past. The summer time field workplace, historically the primary weekend in May via Labor Day, took in $4.86 billion in 2019. That quantity plummeted to only $176.4 million in 2020 earlier than rebounding final summer time with $1.75 billion.

The pandemic, although, has taken its toll on nearly everybody concerned within the moviegoing expertise.

Take Ricos, the San Antonio-based enterprise that payments itself because the “originators of concession nachos.” Luckily for the corporate, a mainstay of the CinemaCon commerce present, it had its grocery enterprise to fall again on when the concessions market dried up.

“It’s definitely been a rebirth,” Charlie Gomez, vice chairman of specialty markets for Ricos, mentioned of concessions in the course of the first months of 2022. “Business is back again. Demand, for us, has been through the roof.” Ricos’ enterprise is up 40-45 % from final 12 months, he mentioned, including that projections for this summer time and past are prone to match the corporate’s 2019 numbers.

As moviegoing is returning to regular, so is CinemaCon.

On the floor, it’s a bit like Comic-Con with out the cosplay, a spot the place a few of the greatest stars on the earth can present as much as promote their upcoming films and provides a boatload of interviews, all within the identify of constructing buzz.

In latest years, studios used CinemaCon to debut the primary footage of future Oscar winners Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker” and Rami Malek in “We Will Rock You.”

On Tuesday night, Warner Bros. devoted a big a part of its presentation to this summer time’s “Elvis.” In addition to showcasing an prolonged have a look at the film, which opens June 24, director Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge”) and actor Austin Butler, who portrays the King, spoke at size in regards to the movie Luhrmann referred to as “a superhero movie.”

The movie seems at America throughout Presley’s days as a insurgent, as a Hollywood star and as, Luhrmann mentioned, “the icon trapped in that hotel not 10 minutes from here by a man called Colonel Tom Parker, who was never a colonel, never a Tom and not even a Parker. Spoiler alert!”

DC films dominated the remainder of the Warner Bros. session, as Dwayne Johnson entered via the Colosseum crowd, fist-bumping followers, to point out trailers for his upcoming “Black Adam” and “DC League of Super-Pets.” “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” stars Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer and franchise newcomer Helen Mirren launched footage of their sequel, as did “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” director James Wan. The studio additionally confirmed a sequel to “The Batman” and debuted footage of “The Flash,” which earned cheers for its glimpse of Michael Keaton’s return as Batman.

That adopted Sony which, on Monday night, teased the following “Ghostbusters” and “Venom” films and introduced out Bad Bunny, who’s headlining Allegiant Stadium on Sept. 23 and 24, to announce he’ll star in a Spider-Man spinoff specializing in the antihero El Muerto.

The conference, which additionally contains shows by Disney and Universal, in addition to the smaller Lionsgate and Neon, continues via Thursday, when Paramount will host the primary public screening of “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Beyond the celebs, the four-day occasion serves as a spot for movie show representatives to make offers with firms starting from international giants Coca-Cola and Mars, Inc. to a enterprise that sells used theater seats for $29.

Panels this 12 months embody “Blockbusters or Bust” and “A Guide to Emerging From Chaos and Navigating the Fast-Approaching Future of Work,” in addition to one promising to reply the query, “How do we get people back into the moviegoing habit?”

Returning to the topic of piracy, Charles Rivkin, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association, used the event of World Intellectual Property Day to dedicate most of his tackle to what he referred to as “the existential threat of piracy” and the “real-life mobsters” behind it.

Rather than counting on shaky cellphone recordings obtained in theaters, pirates can rip pristine copies of recent films minutes after their digital debut. The longer such piracy could be thwarted, the extra money studios and theater homeowners make.

Elsewhere in Tuesday morning’s government session, Rolando Rodriguez, NATO’s chairman in addition to president and CEO of Marcus Theatres, requested these within the Colosseum to face as the home lights got here up. He then led them in chanting, “We are back! We are back! We are back!”

Awkward? Why, sure. Yes it was. But it was stuffed with ardour — one thing the exhibition business goes to wish loads of because it emerges from the pandemic.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

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