Sony rolls out exclusive Bond footage
A star-studded lineup of Hollywood talent including Hugh Jackman, Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson plus a dog named Clyde took the stage at Cinema Expo Tuesday to help beat the drum for 20th Century Fox Intl.’s punchy product presentation.Not to be outdone, Sony Pictures Releasing Intl. treated Cinema Expo auds to extended exclusive footage from latest Bond pic “Quantum of Solace,” which finished shooting Thursday. High-octane 007 action sequences set in London, Haiti, Austria, Italy and Bolivia were introduced by producer Michael G. Wilson and Bond girl Olga Kurylenko. Wilson cleared up some misunderstanding about the pic’s unusual title, explaining it’s the name of an Ian Fleming short story and means measure of comfort. He also quipped that it’s what Craig needed after the rough and tumble of “Casino Royale.” Fox’s lineup added star wattage to day two of the confab. Explaining the splashy Fox show, Tomas Jegeus, co-president of 20th Century Fox Intl., told Daily Variety, “We have certainly upped the ante this year. Stars increasingly see the value of traveling internationally to launch their movies.” Jackman flew to Amsterdam from Australia, where he has just finished shooting “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” to introduce never-before-seen footage from Baz Luhrmann’s Oz-set epic “Australia” especially put together for the Expo. Describing the project as ” ‘African Queen,’ ‘Gone With the Wind’ and ‘Out of Africa’ rolled into one,” Jackman praised Luhrmann’s “audacity, brilliance and craziness” in filming the pic. Aniston and Wilson helped director David Frankel (“The Devil Wears Prada”) tubthump for romantic drama “Marley & Me,” about a young couple brought together by their neurotic dog. Pair were joined onstage by a rowdy Clyde, who, along with 27 other hounds, plays Marley in the movie. Reeves was in Amsterdam to generate buzz for sci-fi thriller remake “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” which Fox will release in December. Other highlights from the Fox showreel were early looks at Bryan Singer’s WWII-set thriller “Valkyrie,” the supernatural thriller “X-Files: I Want to Believe,” Liam Neeson actioner “Taken” and Mark Wahlberg’s vidgame-based thriller “Max Payne.” Except for the Bond presentation, Sony kept it short and sweet. There were no trailers, but footage from six of the seven pics the studio showed were first looks. Turning the most heads were clips from Tom Tykwer’s Clive Owen starrer “The International” and Will Ferrell-John C. Reilly laffer “Step Brothers.” Talk of the town in Amsterdam remains 3-D cinema and how to push forward the digitalization of screens. Echoing Jeffrey Katzenberg’s call to 3-D arms on Monday, Jageus and fellow co-president Paul Hanneman urged Euro exhibs to see the potential of 3-D and promised to return next year with “Avatar” footage. So far, 1 minute, 20 seconds is completed. “We have to convert their minds so they can then start converting their theaters,” said Jegeus, adding that 3-D films like “Ice Age 3” and “Avatar” will “shift paradigms.” Meanwhile, two digital deployment pacts were unveiled at Cinema Expo. Paris-based Ymagis inked nonexclusive virtual print-fee pacts with Paramount, Disney and Fox, which have independently agreed to supply digital content to the company’s projection systems across Europe. Established last year by a group of theater execs to help speed the transition to digital, Ymagis aims to deploy up to 5,500 DCI-compliant systems throughout Europe. “This agreement is a vital step in the transition of the industry to a digital future, and we look forward to helping to accelerate the speed of this transition,” Paramount Pictures Intl. prexy Andrew Cripps said. Belgian outfit XDC has inked a virtual print fee deal to deploy DCI-compliant systems in the 193 screens in Austria’s largest chain, Cineplexx. News added to the buzz at the event surrounding the race to digitize Euro screens. Screen Digest predicts the number of Euro digital screens will rise from 1,950 this year to 11,625 in 2012. Cinema Expo runs through Thursday.