Day 3 at CinemaCon launched new content from Sony Pictures as they unveiled some of their upcoming productions in the next two years. Sony Pictures has always been known for a diverse and unique line up of films that span all genres and leave audiences captivated. With directors such as Chris Columbus, Ang Lee and Robert Zemeckis taking the helm of their films, Sony Pictures is poised to bring in another year of award-winning films.
Kicking off the presentation was a special appearance by Robert Zemeckis promoting his new film The Walk. This film is based on the true story of Philippe Petit’s high wire walk across the World Trade Center towers. We got a glimpse into the film with an exclusive trailer that detailed the planning and tension behind the infamous and daring stunt. The trailer opened with Phillippe at U.S. customs station where the man inspecting his bag asks him what he is bringing into the country. Philippe (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) explained that he has lengths of rope, wrenches, thick cable wire and various tools. When the customs agent asked what he was going to do, Phillippe grinned and told him that he is going to walk on a wire between the twin towers. The trailer eludes to the difficult nature of this stunt as he plans to withstand whipping winds to walk across the wire. Philippe had to overcome several obstacles to make this dream a reality including breaking into the towers just to set up the stunt before construction crews arrived. This vertigo inducing film releases in October in 3D and IMAX.
Bringing back down to the ground was the second film in their line up called Pixels. The director of the film, Chris Columbus made an appearance and talked about the premise of the film and how it will appeal to a wide audience who grew up with 8-bit video games. What if the 1982 time capsule launched in space reached an alien life form? And what if that life form took our 8-bit video games as a threat? This is beginning of the premise to Pixels where aliens launch an attack against Earth using the pixellated characters from our youth. Starring Adam Sandler, Peter Dinklage, and Josh Gad as arcade video game champions fighting against the attack and saving the world from Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and other 8-bit players. Even though I am not really a fan of Adam Sandler, with a fun concept and all-star cast this film may exceed my expectations when it releases July 24th.
Sony Pictures has several films that are still in principal photography, including one by the illustrious director Ang Lee. Billy Lynn ‘s Long Halftime Walk is a film that chronicles the last few hours of an infantryman before he has to return to Iraq and will be one of the very first films to be shot at 120 frames per second, a feat that filmmakers have been striving for decades. A special message from Ang Lee was featured as he talked about the exciting new development in frame rate technology. This film is still in production but is slated for release November of 2016 and will most likely be a awards contender for the coming years.
Making a jump from television to film in 2012, Genndy Tartakovsky is the director at the helm of the highly anticipated sequel to Hotel Transylvania. Tartakovsky, known for classic animated shows like Power Puff Girls and Dexter’s Laboratory, spear-headed the very successful first film and now is taking on Hotel Transylvania 2. This installment centers around Dracula as he grows in his role as a grandfather to his daughters half human half vampire son. This delightful film brings back the all-star cast from the original and even adds in new voice talent including the legendary Mel Brooks. Tartankovsky came out on stage to present the exclusive trailer and talked about how intimidated he was working with a comedy legend such as Mel. The trailer itself chronicles the re-opening of the monstrous hotel that includes rooms for humans as well as Dracula’s attempts to bond with his grandson when his daughter and son-in-law leave for a vacation. Dracula has no doubt that his grandson takes after him and eventually tosses him off of a very high tower in his attempts at flying lessons. When the boy doesn’t spread his wings so to speak Dracula must face the harsh reality that his son may never take after the vampire side of the family. This family friendly monster bash arrives in theaters September 15th and will surely be a fun fall film.
Another family friendly spooktacular film set to release by Sony Pictures is Goosebumps, based off the incredibly popular book series by R.L.Stine. This film stars Jack Black and Halston Sage and in the presentation we got an exclusive trailer. Halston Sage plays a young man who moves in next door to an eccentric man. When the boy hears screams coming from his neighbor’s house, curiosity gets the best of him and decides to investigate. He stumbles upon a trove of original Goosebumps manuscripts and realizes quickly that he lives next door to the famed author himself, (played by Jack Black.) But when he opens one of the manuscripts to read the pages come to life and spring forth some of Goosebumps most notorious monsters. Jack Black and company scramble to wrangled this villainous creatures back in the books as they terrorize the local neighborhood. If you grew up reading these thrilling and spooky books then this film will bring a sense of nostalgia as well as entertain the next generation of readers. Set to release in October this film will be perfect for a Halloween outing for the whole family.
Some other up and coming films for Sony Pictures includes Aloha, a story of an Air force pilot sent to Hawaii to redeem himself after a botched job and Ricki and the Flash, a story of an aging rock-star mom who tries to reconnect with her adult children. Both films have star-studded casts including Bradley Cooper and Meryl Streep and deal with the complexities of life after a career is over. Another film in their line up, The Perfect Man, dives into a twisted and chilling world of a boyfriend who seems like a perfect gentleman only to become an obsessed and abusive stalker who will stop at nothing to keep his girlfriend to himself. The 5th Wave is a film that explores the stages of an alien invasion and what it will be like if we were forced off of our planet by an invading species. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Liev Schreiber this film aims to put a personal and intimate touch on a world wide catastrophic event. Also on the line up for Sony is a film starring Will Smith called Concussion. The exclusive clip that we viewed was of Will Smith at the podium of a press conference as he describes the brain damage that American Football players suffer from concussions and how the National Football League tries to deny it. A stunning performance by Smith in the clip, this film is not your average sports based drama. After that came a sneak peek into the film X-Mas, a story of three childhood friends that spend Christmas every year together in one night of debauchery and mischief. But when one of the friends gets married and is going to have a baby, the tradition will be broken and the three men go out for one last hurrah. Rounding out their exclusive previews was a glimpse into the highly intense drama, Money Monster. Starring George Clooney as a TV show financial analyst and Julia Roberts as his producer, this film shows a young man hijacking the live TV show and threatening to kill the host and set off a bomb because of bad financial advice given over the airwaves.
Sony Pictures had multiple exclusive looks at new up coming films but also made an exclusive announcement involving the Marvel franchise Spider-Man. In 2018, Marvel and Sony Pictures will release a feature-length computer animated film that is the next installment for Spider-Man. This film will follow the same lines as the live action films and will further the story of Peter Parker and Mary Jane like never before.
The last big announcement for the night was release of the 24th installment in the 007 series called Spectre. We were fortunate enough to get a full scene from the new film that shows James Bond (Daniel Craig) as he talks to Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) about his recent actions. Moneypenny tells Bond that the other agents feel his time is up but she tells him that she thinks he is just beginning and is harboring a deep secret from everyone. Bond shows her a video clip from M herself that reveals an assassin mission for Bond upon her death. Bond asks the woman if she will be his mole in the agency as he seeks out a man whom M assigned him to kill. This film looks to be action packed and high stakes as Daniel Craig once again re-energizes this iconic hero. Spectre is set to release November of this year and will no doubt be another smash hit for this franchise.
Sony Pictures has a wide range of films under its belt and if this presentation is any indication its tenacity for telling unique and inspiring stories will not be ending any time soon.