Disney’s showcase at CinemaCon 2023 was straight to the point. The presentation kicked off with a very quick look at what Marvel has to offer movie theaters this year. First up was an extended clip from The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 that showed a slightly longer version of the space suit scene that was released last week, with Star-Lord talking to Gamora. This was followed by the second trailer that was released a few weeks back.
While it was a bit disappointing not seeing much new footage from Guardians 3, given the fact that US screenings for the film begin tomorrow, you can’t blame Disney for not showing more. Much of the US-based press will be watching the full film this week or next week.
The Marvels was up next, but once again we only saw the already-released trailer.
Next up was Disney Animation, with a look at Wish. Disney showed a scene from the beginning of the film that included one of the big songs in the movie. While the song felt like fairly traditional Disney Animation music, it wasn’t overly impressive, or even all that catchy. In addition, the main protagonist, while clearly a woman of color, showed no aspects of any specific race. It was definitely hard to get a read on what the film will have to offer when it arrives in theaters later this year.
Chris Pine was officially announced as the voice of King Magnifico before the panel shifted focus to the live-action take on The Little Mermaid. Melissa McCarthy came up on stage to talk about her role as Ursula. This was followed by a scene from the film in which Ursula is making a deal with Ariel to take her voice in exchange for the ability to walk on land and breathe air. This is also where Ursula sings Poor Unfortunate Souls. While the scene in general wasn’t as expressive as the animated version, the singing was definitely the highlight.
Haunted Mansion was next up from Disney, with new footage from the upcoming film based on the Disney theme park ride. The footage was relatively scary in a Disney sense. It wasn’t Blumhouse scary, but scary enough for a film aimed at children. There were a number of nods to the ride, and the footage felt like a very traditional Disney adventure movie. At the very least, it looks to be a lot of fun, with a great cast.
Pixar was next on the docket, with a 20-minute preview of Elemental, shown in 3D. The footage was from the beginning of the movie, showing the main family arriving in the new city, very similar to the historical arrivals of immigrant families to Ellis Island. The “immigration officer” is unable to pronounce the family’s name, so he just shortens it to something he feels is more manageable, then the family has a bit of difficulty finding a place to live since they don’t “fit in” with the locals.
Once they find a place things advance quickly, as they start a family store, and have a daughter who grows up and wants to take over the family business. The footage felt like a classic Pixar movie, dealing with race relations. We already know from the trailer that it will be a little bit of Romeo and Juliet, with the fire race trying to make a romantic connection with the water race, and all of the difficulties that come with such a pairing in this Pixar world that mirrors our own.
Shifting over to Searchlight Pictures, a quick trailer for Next Goal Wins was shown off. The Michael Fassbender soccer comedy is a fish-out-of-water story. The soccer coach has to train a team of misfits and potential losers and discovers his own faults along the way. Fassbender fared well with the comedy in the role, and it looks fun if not a little basic.
The forthcoming Agatha Christie adaptation was next, with the first footage of A Haunting in Venice. The movie is based on Christie’s Hallowe’en Party novel, but based on the brief footage shown, it looks very different. The footage showed Michelle Yeoh’s character leading a seance in which Hercule Poirot happens to get caught up in. Of course, there’s a murder that causes Poirot to spring into action.
The footage was shot very much like a horror film, so it’s difficult to determine exactly what this movie is. It already seems to be a fairly significant departure from the books, but if it is actually a horror film, that’s a stark contrast to the previous films in the series. It would be an odd choice, but we’ll see what happens when the next full trailer is released to the public.
Next up was The Creator, starring John David Washington. This film is set far into the future, after a human vs. AI war. The film is large in scale, with plenty of scenes showcasing the war between humans and AI. It seems as though Washington’s character is tasked with saving one particular AI, but there’s likely some additional twist to the film, as that would be a fairly generic sci-fi premise.
Disney’s presentation came to an end with a scene from Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. The scene showcased a car chase that featured Indiana Jones working with Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character, Helena, as they tried to acquire the Dial of Destiny from Mads Mikkelsen’s character. The chase felt very much like a traditional Indiana Jones movie, with constant bickering between Indy and Helena, a bit of environmental destruction, and bullets flying. Based on the brief footage and the trailers, this looks like a return to form for the franchise.
The presentation was overall a success for Disney. Elemental, The Creator, and Indiana Jones were all major highlights. While the Marvel coverage was a bit lackluster, and Wish is still unknown, there was enough on display to get excited for.
Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.