On the final day of CinemaCon 2016, convention attendees gathered once more. This time, it was Lionsgate who took the stage to impress with their slate of yet-to-be-released movies. Studio execs stressed the sheer variety of the company’s offerings and treated the audience to (mostly) new footage from a handful of their upcoming titles.
While Lionsgate displayed a nice balance between new stories, sequels, and franchises, the first film we got a look at is one of a great number of movies in its franchise. Tyler Perry took the stage to introduce the ninth live action movie in his Madea series, Boo! A Madea Halloween. Only the second Madea movie not based on a play, Perry explained the idea for the plot actually came from a joke Chris Rock made in his film, Top Five. Boo!, Perry explains, is a horror comedy and pits Madea against the likes of killers, ghouls and ghosts. But with a trailer so full of Madea’s signature toughness and big impact punch lines, she shouldn’t have too much trouble handling whatever comes her way. Perry touts the film as the funniest movie he’s made and with that kind of confidence, it’s hard not to get excited about the October 21st release date.
Looking towards more action-packed titles, Lionsgate highlighted Nerve, a thriller centered around a menacing new way to play truth or dare. In this film, an app has swept the world. On it, you can watch players perform all kinds of outrageous dares, submitted by users watching the action unfold live. Or, if you’re brave enough, you can choose to play, and try to win higher and higher dollar amounts as you go. But as stars Emma Roberts and Dave Franco find out, taking orders from strangers doesn’t always pay off. This fast-paced flick feels young and has an energy as high as its stakes. We’ll see if that’s enough to woo audiences when it’s released this September.
In the disaster-drama category, Deepwater Horizon will tell the true story of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. Responsible for the largest oil spill in U.S. history, the explosion killed 11 and injured 16 others. Featuring Mark Wahlberg and Gina Rodriguez, the film pairs large effects and epic scenes with deeply human and authentic characters. Rodriguez took the stage to discuss the film and expressed a strong connection with and admiration for her character and the real life woman she represents. Appearing via video, Wahlberg and director Pete Berg expressed a similar gratitude at the opportunity to tell this story of ordinary people being extraordinary when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. In theaters at the end of September, fans of true stories and larger-than-life effects alike will want to add this one to their calendar.
Next up was the charming La La Land. Introduced via video by star Emma Stone, this romantic film reunites her with co-star Ryan Gosling who plays a pianist opposite Stone’s aspiring actress character. Full of bright colors and lovely music, Stone called the film a love letter to L.A. The first footage we were shown certainly feels as aspirational and glittering as the city of angels can be. Keep an eye out for this one to hit theaters in December.
In the world of sequels, we got to take a look at two upcoming installments from Lionsgate. First, Keanu Reeves entered to discuss John Wick: Chapter Two. This follow-up action-thriller sees John pulled out of retirement and traveling to Rome. The first-look footage we got to check out at CinemaCon looks like return director Chad Stahelski has plenty of high-intensity, innovative fight and chase scenes for us throughout. With such an enthusiastic team, it seems likely this sequel will only serve to propel the franchise further, which is good as Reeves hinted at having many ideas for future films. Catch John Wick: Chapter Two when it opens in February of 2017.
The next sequel and final movie Lionsgate presented was Now You See Me 2. With a release date this coming June, the film is all but ready for its theatrical debut. Stars Jesse Eisenberg and Dave Franco took the stage along with the film’s director Jon M. Chu to voice their enthusiasm for the coming caper thriller. Lionsgate had, in fact, intended to screen the sequel for CinemaCon attendees but unfortunately, roughly ten minutes into the movie, the auditorium was evacuated due to a suspicious backpack. The few minutes of the film we were able to see were sharp, funny and took us right back to world writer Ed Solomon helped create for both films. Only having gotten a taste of Lizzy Caplan’s character, and not yet getting to see Daniel Radcliffe, the first few minutes of the film have only heightened my desire to see the rest and my confidence in the sequel.
Also mentioned at the Lionsgate presentation, though not exhibited, were Patriot’s Day, the true tale of the Boston marathon bombings, a Power Rangers movie, a movie based on the game of Monopoly and a Robin Hood tale. While the studio seems to be delivering on diversity, we’ll have to wait and see if any of these upcoming flicks capture audiences enough to propel them to mega-blockbuster status.