Heading into Lionsgate’s CinemaCon presentation this afternoon, the studio’s Motion Picture Group Chairman, Joe Drake, was trying to figure out what he wanted to say to the room of exhibitors.
He regaled those at Caesars Palace Colosseum with a story about how he met up with Cineworld and Regal Boss Mooky Greidinger at the confab who challenged Drake to distinguish how his studio stands out among the rest.
“I smiled when he said it,” said Drake, then underscoring, “Lionsgate is different. We’re different because we’re the underdog who has to punch above our weight. We have to discover what is new every day. We have to find what’s next. We can compete completely on authentic original storytelling.”
“That’s what launches meaningful, long-lasting brands in the discovery of visionary artists,” Drake summed up.
Watch on Deadline
By far the biggest treat in their CinemaCon reel is the upcoming April 22, 2022 Nicolas Cage self-satire The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, which drew great applause and laughs from the exhibition attendees at Caesars Palace Colosseum Theatre.
“I’m quitting acting, tell the trades” Cage tells his agent played by Neil Patrick Harris. His agent books him a lucrative personal appearance with a really rich guy who lives on a Mediterranean island, played by Pedro Pascal. It’s a broad comedy reminiscent of Being John Malkovich. Pascal’s character is such a fan, he has showroom of Cage memorabilia including a wax figure of the actor from Face Off. “It’s grotesque,” says Cage seeing it. Pascal asks him, “What’s your favorite movie?” to which Cage snaps “That’s impossible to answer! You can’t just pick one!” For Cage, it’s all gorgeous sunsets and jumping off cliffs until Tiffany Haddish’s CIA agent shows up. She alerts him that Pascal’s character is a wanted man, and it’s up to Cage to take him out.
Roland Emmerich in a reel introduced the opening scene and trailer from Moonfall. In the clip, Patrick Wilson, Eme Ikwuakor and Halle Berry play space shuttle astronauts. A magnetic storm throws their ship in a spin, knocking Berry’s character out and sending Ikuakor’s out in space. Wilson tells Berry, “I’m gonna get you home.” But over on the moon, there’s a tornado going on. Real environmental hazard or aliens?
There was also a first look of Daniel Stamm’s The Devil’s Light about a nun who prepares to perform an exorcism and comes face to face with a demonic force with mysterious ties to her past. Jacqueline Byers stars as Sister Ann, and in the trailer, she’s seen descending the stairs to the basement of a spooky looking convent, only to have a mysterious hand shockingly cover her mouth in the end of the sequence.
Lionsgate went heavy with their faith-based fare from the Erwin Brothers’ Kingdom Story Company with a clip and trailer from American Underdog about Kurt Warner and his rise from supermarket stock boy to NFL pro. The trailer shows how Warner in his youth wasn’t taken seriously by high school coaches who called him “too green to be pro”. However, “I was rooting for something, something more,” says Zachary Levi who plays Warner. In a reel, Warner told the crowd that since he “retired from the game, I’ve been looking for opportunities to share my story, that your circumstances never have to define you. It’s so much more than a sports movie; about perseverance and hope.” Lionsgate announced that they’re moving the pic’s release date from Dec. 10 to Dec. 25 timed to the climax of the NFL season.
Levi, on screen, also introduced a clip from another movie he’s starring in, The Unbreakable Boy (March 18, 2022), about an autistic young boy with a brittle bone disease. Levi plays the father. There’s also Lionsgate’s rock docu The Jesus Music (on Oct. 1) from Kingdom Story Company which has a Summer of Soul feel for the faith-based set.
Similar to other studios, Lionsgate kept their trailers to all pics coming out between now and the spring. We’re all coming back for CinemaCon in April, and at that time the studio is bound to have looks at Jennifer Lopez’s action movie Shotgun Wedding, John Wick: Chapter 4 and more.