The curtain has come down on another CinemaCon.
Every year, studios make the trek to Las Vegas, hoping to prove to exhibitors that they have the goods to turbocharge the box office. Their Caesars Palace presentations are increasingly elaborate (Cher even performed), and hauling talent and executives to the desert can cost north of $3 million, so the stakes are high.
Some get their money’s worth. Others should just have spent the money at the crap’s table. Here’s a look at the winners and losers of CinemaCon 2018.
TIFFANY HADDISH (WINNER)
The comedienne proved “Girls Trip” was no fluke. Haddish had the crowd at Caesars in stitches while presenting a trailer from the very funny-looking “Night School,” talking up upcoming turns in “The Secret Life of Pets 2” and Tyler Perry’s “The List,” and joking about her past career in porn.
The subscription service lost this round. Questions are mounting about its financing after a devastating auditor’s report and the company appears to be abandoning the $9.95/movie a day monthly plan that made it a sensation. With its stock in the doldrums, MoviePass responded by buying “Gotti,” a mob movie that Lionsgate dumped from its slate last year.
MARK WAHLBERG & PETER BERG (LOSER)
The “Mile 22” duo decided to get drunk before presenting a trailer for their very generic new film. Their intoxicated, slurred banter — Wahlberg kept complimenting Berg’s hard nipples, Berg looked like he was ready to face plant into the orchestra pit — wasn’t even awkwardly funny. Here’s a tip: next time get blasted after you’re done on stage.
Warner Bros. sunk a lot of money into this darker, scarier version of “The Jungle Book.” Based on the footage that screened at CinemaCon, it should start taking the write-off now.
DIVERSE CASTING (WINNER)
Finally! Studios may have gotten the message. It’s time for movies to reflect the diversity of the moviegoing public. Upcoming films such as “Miss Bala,” “Aladdin,” “Kin,” “Superfly,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” all boast meaty roles for actors of color, and they’re more exciting for it. Let’s see this trend continue.
TOM CRUISE (WINNER)
Nobody does it better. Tom Terrific proved once again that he’s a salesman with few equals when it comes to promoting his films, and an actor who is willing to risk life and limb in pursuit of the money shot. His latest,”Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” finds him literally hurling himself out of a plane. Talk about devotion to craft.
HOLMES & WATSON (LOSER)
The good news is Will Ferrell, on hand to present footage from the upcoming comedy, looks fully recovered after a horrifying SUV crash. The bad news? There’s nary a laugh to be found in the preview for this Sherlock Holmes spoof. America, feast your eyes on your new Razzie winner.
A STAR IS BORN (WINNER)
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are a match made in heaven. They sing (live!), emote, and fall in love. Bring a hankie.
PREMIUM VIDEO ON DEMAND (LOSER)
Most studios still want to release movies in the home for a high price within weeks of their theatrical debuts. But with Disney in the midst of buying Fox and Warner Bros. hoping the sale of its corporate parent to AT&T gets approved, no one is willing to rock the boat. In recent CinemaCons studios have used their time on stage to press the case for so-called PVOD to exhibitors. This time they didn’t make a peep.
“Solo: A Star Wars Story,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Incredibles 2,” “Aladdin,” “Dumbo,” and “The Lion King.” Read ’em and weep. These are just a few of the soon-to-be blockbusters on tap from Disney. It’s further evidence that when it comes to the movie business, there’s one Magic Kingdom to rule them all.