blade runner 2049 images

Every year in March, movie theater exhibitors gather in Las Vegas for CinemaCon, a convention spotlighting the newest advances in multiplex technologies and presentations from most of the major movie studios showcasing their film slates for the next year and beyond.

Tonight, CinemaCon kicked off with a presentation from Sony Pictures, showing off new footage and trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Blade Runner 2049, The Dark Tower, Jumanji, Baby Driver, Flatliners, Cadavers and Rough Night. Read on for our Sony CinemaCon 2017 presentation recap to learn what was screened and to hear our first impressions and reactions.

Sony CinemaCon 2017 Presentation Video Reaction

After the Sony CinemaCon 2017 presentation, I broadcast a live video blog with Steve Weintraub from Collider on Periscope. You can watch a recording of that broadcast embedded above. We talk about the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer (which just arrived online) in the video above.

Baby Driver

Baby Driver

The presentation started with a bang in the shape of a clip from Edgar Wright‘s Baby Driver. They screened the opening action sequence, which follows our heroes as they attempt to rob a bank and the car chase that ensues. Ansel Elgort stars as Baby, the getaway driver who likes to listen to music on his iPod while on a job. The trio leaves to rob the bank, leaving Baby at the wheel, rocking out to his music and the scene isedited almost like a music video. It’s revealed that the bank robbery has gone wrong, and the group runs out into the waiting car. What follows is a car chase sequence, cut to a loud musical score.

Edgar Wright is showing off his cinematic flourishes here. We see some awesome drifting, including some kick-ass moments from the trailer. The chase follows the group onto a freeway where they are pursued by multiple cop cars and a helicopter. I won’t ruin how the sequence ends, but it’s very clever. The footage was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see more.

After the clip, the cast and Wright appeared on stage. Elgort said that the music we hear in the film is all the music his character is listening to on stolen iPods. Sometimes, the music perfectly fits the action; sometimes it plays ironically. All of the songs were written into the original screenplay.

Wright says he wanted to show the fantasy and nightmare of being in a high-speed chase, noting that he found out it was very tough to film a movie filled with car chases while making his car chase movie. He would follow in a command van during the filming of the chase sequences, and the filmmaker said the satellite feed would sometimes cut out, so he eventually strapped himself to the outside of the car “for the love” of his art. He advised the theater filled with theater owners to play the sound in his movie “one louder.”

Of course, you may have read our Baby Driver review from SXSW Film Festival. Because of the insane early buzz (the film is currently 100% on rotten tomatoes), the film will be getting an earlier than expected June theatrical release. That is a big show of faith from Sony in this film.

the dark tower trailer

The Dark Tower

Idris Elba introduced the first look at The Dark Tower, which looks as exciting as it did confusing. I’m not an avid Stephen King reader and have not even attempted to get into the Dark Tower series of books, so consider myself a fresh set of eyes.

The teaser began with the director and screenwriter both talking about how they are huge Stephen King fans. We see text on the screen from the books, “The Man In Black fled across the desert, and The Gunslinger followed,” cut with concept art that quickly morphs into film footage.

We see Elba as Roland Deschain, the Gunslinger, walking with two guns in a post-apocalyptic environment. “I don’t kill with my guns; I kill with my heart,” he says.

“The tower will fall,” promises Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black. We cut to a young boy, Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) in a physiatrist’s office, talking about his vivid dreams of the Dark Tower. The Doctor tries to impress upon him that it is just a dream, and the stories he is recalling are not real. It’s worth noting that there is a photograph of the Overlook Hotel from The Shining on the physiatrist’s desk, hinting to the larger Stephen King universe that the series is built around.

We see Jake enter a dilapidated house, where he finds a portal to another world. In the other world, he meets the Gunslinger and tells him he has dreamt about him.

“That was no dream boy,” Roland informs Jake. “As long as the man in black is out there, the tower will fall.”

We see some quick cuts, some things I really couldn’t make out, but possibly just showing us a little of this world. We see an action sequence that involves the gunslinger shooting his gun while vaulting through the air. Some of the clips were apparently using very early, unfinished visual effects. We see a confrontation between Roland and the Man In Black, where the Gunslinger shoots a window that comes shattering down upon the Man in Black, but the villain is somehow able to freeze the shards in mid-air, before using his powers to push the pieces of glass back at him.

In another scene, we see Roland aim at a man abducting Jake from many yards away. Using only his hearing, he takes aim and shoots through a bunch of obstacles to take down the abductor.

The footage was interesting, but confusing for a non-fan. I’m not sure if they were trying to appeal more towards fans of the book than newbies, but I didn’t know what to make of some of it. Also, the footage had some visual effects that looked very early and unfinished for a July 28, 2017 release. With no trailer yet released for this film, I wonder if Sony will delay the movie yet again.


Animated Films

They then showed some clips from Sony’s animated division. The Smurfs and The Emoji Movie, which looks as immature and more stupid than you might expect.

They also showed some early footage from The Star, which is being sold as “experience the greatest story ever told in a way you’ve never seen before.” The film follows a donkey named Bo who is around during the birth of Christ. We were told that the story “proves you can do the impossible,” and that somehow, this retelling of the story of Christmas will somehow appeal to moviegoers of all religions. Seems unlikely. The early concept art looked pretty generic.

The last bit in the animation section took an early look at the new adaptation of Peter Rabbit. Will Gluck’s movie stars James Corden as the titular character and we were shown brief clips of animatics cut with some of the live action footage. It’s hard to judge a film at this early stage, but it looks like a typical animation-live-action hybrid film. The sizzle reel ended with “Jump Around” by House of Pain.

I’m honestly surprised they didn’t show anything from the animated Spider-Man movie, especially since some shots were previewed at a Sony Animation press event recently.

Continue Reading Our Sony CinemaCon 2017 Recap >>

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