“Thank God for each and every one of you,” MGM Motion Picture Group chairman Michael De Luca told theater owners and managers in the crowd at CinemaCon on Tuesday. “There is no industry without all of you. There is no Hollywood without all of you.”
Today’s kickoff to the MGM reel presentation repped the studio’s return to CinemaCon after a 20-year absence.
“Every filmmaker has a movie theater waiting at the end of their dream, and you’ve all made that happen,” added the MGM chief.
“We held all of our movies for you,” said Motion Picture Group president Pamela Abdy about keeping the MGM theatrical release slate intact until exhibition reopened.
“The world is going to recover and the MGM slate will give us optimism about the future,” said Theatrical Distribution boss Erik Lomis prior to De Luca and Abdy onstage, He then launched into an inspirational quote from Rocky:
“‘Life ain’t about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward. It’s about how much you can take’, ” he said, adding, “We all got hit and all took an awful lot, but we all will move forward together.”
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Before exiting the stage, De Luca promised the crowd a commitment to original films, and to keep product fresh.
“We know our obligation is to provide movies that clear a high bar for the theatrical audience. We are grateful for our franchises, but we know the future is all about originality, so we will work hard to give you what you need. We promise, we really promise we’ll work really hard to make sure it’s worth the wait,” he said.
There was no mention or hint at the looming Amazon merger during the presentation.
Of note in the MGM reel, was the first look at Joe Wright’s period musical Cyrano starring Peter Dinklage and Haley Bennett. It’s lush, gorgeous with swirling cameras, and Bennett’s vocals are brilliant. “My dearest friend, I’d be angry if you ever died,” Bennett’s Roxanne tells Cyrano.
“We’ll have more about the Paul Thomas Anderson film once he tells us what the title is,” De Luca told the crowd, saying more on the film will be dropped in the future.
There was also a trailer for the February 2022 release of the Channing Tatum buddy-dog movie Dog. Tatum is a wisecracking Army guy entrusted with the care of a now-vicious German shepherd who was once a legend. The dog rips up seats and busts out of its cage, and bunts Tatum on the head. “You’re just a demon, you’re just a demon,” Tatum says.
Also, a trailer was shown for Sylvester Stallone’s working-class superhero movie The Samaritan, about a hero in hiding. “I’m a garbage collector!” he yells at a young fanboy who has discovered him. “You mind your business, I’ll mind mine,” Stallone tell the kid in an overcast, Philly-looking world where Rocky would have wandered.
Also of note was Annapurna’s Sundance pickup On the Count of Three from comedian Jerrod Carmichael. There was also Ron Howard’s Thirteen Lives due out in April about the Thai cave rescues starring Colin Farrell, Viggo Mortensen and Joel Edgerton. The trailer shows how the rescue goes down, brick by brick. Edgerton’s Dr. Richard Harris is asked, “How safe is this procedure?” “I can’t answer,” Harris says. “Nobody ever has.”
The session closed with an action scene from No Time to Die where Daniel Craig’s 007 wakes up on a bridge, deaf (it looks like he’s on a Roman aqueduct). A car comes at him, and then a motorcycle, which he dodges. A glass-eyed guy is trying to assault Bond, which he fends off as he tells him about “the daughter of Spectre.” Bond jumps on the cycle and takes it through the village. He comes through the hotel windows, yells at Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann, smacks her in the face and says, “Spectre, how did they know that I’m here?” They hop in a fancy silver sports car. “There’s something I need to tell you,” she says. “I bet there is,” snaps Bond. Christoph Waltz’s Ernest is heard on a recording in the car, further incriminating Swann. They get involved in a car chase through the village and take machined gun fire from a squad of shooters. The car withstands the damage.
“James!” Swann cries as Bond sits there with a cold, bloody look on his face. “OK, he says,” before initiating the car’s machine guns located in the headlights. The car chase continues, before Bond peels out in front the train station.
Also shown was the trailer for Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver, which has already been out there.