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Paramount Kicks Off CinemaCon with ‘Trek,’ ‘World War Z,’ ‘Pain’

'Star Trek' cast, Brad Pitt on hand for confab at Caesars Palace

Opting for a pair of big bangs on its summer slate, Paramount opened CinemaCon on Monday night with “Star Trek: Into Darkness” and zombie actioner “World War Z” (pictured above).

“Five years ago, I knew nothing about zombies,” Brad Pitt deadpanned to the crowd at Caesar’s Palace. “Now I’m something of an expert.”

Studio showed well-received 15-minute 3D clips of “Trek” and “Z” before a screening of “Pain and Gain,” starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson.

Pitt said he wanted to make a film that his sons could enjoy and added, “I think you are going to like this as much as my boys will.”

Pitt’s film, based on Max Brooks’ novel “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War,” revolves around a United Nations employee  who traverses the world in a race against time to stop a zombie pandemic. Footage included zombies overrunning Philadelphia, Jerusalem and a Russian airliner in mid-air.

“World War Z,” directed by Marc Forster, opens June 21 with a $175 million price tag.

Presentation for “Star Trek: Into Darkness” included cast members Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Alice Eve and Johnn Cho and screenwriter-producer Damon Lindelof. Pine told the audience that his James Kirk character will be more vulnerable than he was in the 2009 film.

“In the first film, Kirk got the chair a bit too prematurely,” Pine also said. “In this installment, we see Kirk earn the chair.”

The “Trek” clips focused Pine and Benedict Cumberbatch racing through space debris to board a ship and the rescue of Quinto’s Spock character as a volcano is erupting on a planet occupied by primitives. The 12th “Trek” opens May 17.

Paramount and Imax also announced at the event — the first of seven studio presentations over four days at CinemaCon — that they had agreed for Imax to release five of Paramount Pictures’ upcoming films in the Imax format under an extension of the companies’  partnership. The deal includes Michael Bay’s “Transformers 4” as well as its co-production of Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” (which Paramount is co-financing with Warner Bros.) and three titles that have yet to be announced.

Imax chief Greg Foster said a “material portion” of “Interstellar” will be shot in Imax.

Bay was on hand to present “Pain and Gain,” which he noted carried a price tag of $25 million — a sharp contrast with the usual tentpole films he’s made. “This is my little movie,” he added.

“Pain and Gain” stars Wahlberg and Johnson appeared on tape and joked that they needed a break from Bay. “If you see Michael, tell him we said hello,” Wahlberg said.

Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore also took a turn on stage to introduce Lindelof and Pitt along with touting the rest of studio’s slate — including a fifth “Paranormal Activity,” Martin Scorsese’s “Wolf of Wall Street,” an “Anchorman” sequel, “Jack Ryan,” Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah,” Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Transformers 4.”

Paramount finished last among the seven majors in domestic gross last year. He noted that “G.I. Joe Retaliation” — which had originally been slated for last summer — has already grossed $270 million worldwide in less than a month.

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