Fox impresses exhibs with ‘Life of Pi’

Execs announce 'Apes' sequel at CinemaCon

As the fifth studio to present its 2012 slate at CinemaCon, Fox kept the reels short and sweet, except in the case of Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi,” for which the studio screened extended footage.

Lee came onstage afterward to address the crowd, saying, “That was very unfinished.” Attendees buzzed about the 3D pic as they left the venue.

Based on the bestseller by Yann Martel, “Life of Pi” stars newcomer Suraj Sharma as the title character, a boy cast adrift in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. Tobey Maguire and Gerard Depardieu co-star.

Toppers Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman introduced Fox’s slate, which started with previews — glorified trailers, really — of the studio’s summer lineup, including “Prometheus,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” “Ice Age: Continental Drift” and “Neighborhood Watch.”

“This is a fun day for Jim and I, getting to take credit for the hard work of our creative teams,” Rothman quipped.

The exec pair made news announcing a sequel to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”

The presentation also included fall releases “Won’t Back Down,” starring Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal; “Taken 2”; Gerard Butler surfer pic “Of Men and Mavericks”; and “Parental Guidance,” with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler.

Fox made news earlier this week with the announcement of distribution head Bruce Snyder’s retirement. He kicked off the presentation, along with Chris Aronson and NATO topper John Fithian, to receive the confab’s Triumph Award.

Universal rounds out the week’s studio presentations later this afternoon.

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