After attending the Disney panel earlier this morning, I wasn’t sure anything would top my excitement level for new films to come out, but then came the Warner Bros. presentation and I was blown away. Celebrating its 95th year, Jeff Goldstein, president of Domestic Distribution for Warner Bros Pictures spoke about the excitement of the studio, having record-breaking seasons in 2017, and being off to a great start in 2018 with films such as Ready Player One, Rampage, Game Night & Tomb Raider. He says that “The movie-going season is indeed 12 months long”. Will Arnett then came out to announce the studio’s upcoming film slate and interview the cast and directors of many of the upcoming films.Throughout the entire afternoon, Arnett provided an atmosphere of fun and positive engagement with both the actors and the audience.
To kick off the show, Arnett showed us a behind the scenes look at the upcoming movies for the DC Cinema slate, including Aquaman, Shazam, & Wonder Woman 2. The cast and directors for all these films voiced their excitement about the stories they get to tell and playing these classic DC characters. Shazam, directed by David Sandberg, and starring Zachary Levi, Mark strong, and Asher Angel opens next April and tells the story of a boy who is given the ability to become an adult superhero in times of need with a single magic word. Patty Jenkins is back to direct the next Wonder Woman movie, taking place in the 1980s. Wonder Woman 2 will open November 2019.
Arnett brought out the director of Aquaman, James Wan, along with cast members Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Patrick Wilson to discuss the upcoming film. Momoa has returned to play the titular role after his part in Justice League and is so excited to continue to play such a great character. Amber Heard is excited to play such a strong character, saying that “Mera is no damsel in distress”. James Wan who is most well known for directing horror films says that he is “Excited to do a type of superhero movie that has not been done before”. Aquaman marks the 5th collaboration between James Wan and Patrick Wilson, but the first outside of the horror genre. We saw some unfinished footage as lots of the visual effects were still being completed. From the footage, we learn that there is a battle for the throne, saw a visually stunning look at Atlantis, saw very cool battle scenes as Aquaman tries to save both Atlantis and the people of Earth from the wrath of the Seven Seas. Aquaman opens in theaters December 21st.
We then switch gears over to a new comedy starring Melissa McCarthy, Life of the Party, directed by McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone; and the screenplay was written by the couple. The extended trailer we saw showed McCarthy’s character, Deanna in her divorce proceedings having a back and forth argument with her husband and new girlfriend. Maya Rudolph added comedy to this already amusing scene. This life crisis causes her to reflect on her life choices, and she wishes she had not skipped the college experience instead of being a stay at home mom. Deanna then enrolls in college, alongside her daughter Maddie, played by Molly Gordon, and hilarity ensues. During the interview with Ben & Melissa, they talked about how they had a conversation about how bad it would be to go back to college with your children which were the inspiration for this film. Life of the Party opens May 11th.
Next up was Ocean’s 8, the newest addition to the Ocean’s franchise. In Ocean’s 8, directed by Gary Ross, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) fresh out of a prison sentence gathers a crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala. In the extended trailer, we were shown we got a deeper look at Anne Hathaway’s character, Daphne Kluger leading up to the heist. The footage reminds me of the original Ocean’s 11 film and I am excited to see this new heist adventure. We were lucky to get almost the entire main cast onstage to promote the film. If the chemistry between the cast that was exhibited on stage is any indication of what’s in the film, then we have a great film to look forward to. Ocean’s 8 hits theaters on June 8th.
New Line Cinema has become a major leader of horror films, with past projects such as The Conjuring, Insidious, Annabelle Creation, and It. We then saw a montage of past projects and got a first look at footage from the upcoming film, The Nun directed by James Wan. The Nun is another story from within the Warren’s experiences found in the Conjuring’s franchise of stories. Director James Wan enjoys getting to create a cinematic universe for horror films like Marvel does for its superheroes. The Nun comes out September 7th. There was no footage of the upcoming sequel to It as it will be starting production this summer. Director Andy Muschietti says that this installment will be a scarier, more intense experience then part 1. It part 2 will be released September 6, 2019.
Switching back into comedies, we saw a trailer for Tag, a true story about a group of friends who have been playing the same game of tag for 30 years. Each May the group gets together to play the game, giving the group a reason to actively stay in each other lives. This film has a great cast of funny people including Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Isla Fisher and many more. We were fortunate enough to get to see them all on stage. During the interview, Ed Helms suggested that Tag should be an Olympic sport, to promote peace amongst all nations. This action film and physical comedy look like a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see it on June 15th.
Next up was a film Will Arnett described as “Jaws on Steroids”, The Meg, which stars Ruby Rose, Jason Statham & Rainn Wilson. We saw an extended trailer with a supposedly extinct, gigantic shark, Megalodon, attacking anyone in its path, and it’s up to our team of heroes to stop it at any cost. If you enjoyed Jaws, this movie is probably right up your alley. Be sure to check out the Meg on August 10th.
Crazy Rich Asians, based on the best selling book Kevin Kwan tells the story of Nick Young (Henry Golding), who comes from a very wealthy family in Singapore, bringing his girlfriend, Rachel (Constance Chu) to his brother’s extravagant wedding. Rachel is a very Americanized Asian woman and this clashes with Nick’s very traditional and affluent Asian cultured family. This comedy shows us that money doesn’t make you crazy, but the family does. This movie is the first film in 25 years to feature an entirely Asian cast. The cast hopes this film ushers in a new era of mainstream Asian-led films. I look forward to seeing this movie in theaters August 17th.
In the animated division of Warner Bros, we got exclusive footage from the upcoming film Teen Titans Go to the Movies and new footage for Smallfoot. Will Arnett was excited to promote Teen Titans, as he is a producer on the film and plays the main villain, Slade Wilson. Wilson’s maniacal plan for world domination sidetracks five teenage superheroes who dream of Hollywood stardom. This film features the voice talents of Will Arnett, Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Tara Strong, and many more. The film follows in the footsteps of The Lego Batman Movie as it redefines what a superhero film is, where the characters are more focused on making a film franchise instead of being actual superheroes. This film looks so fun and makes me want to watch the cartoon series as well. You can catch Teen Titans in theaters July 27th. In Smallfoot, a yeti community is shocked to find that humans, which they thought were mythological creatures, do indeed exist. Stars of the film Channing Tatum, Zendaya and Common were here to promote the film and shared the fun experiences of doing voice work. We saw new footage of the main yeti, Migo (Channing Tatum) discovering civilization and joining a group of SES’ a group who believe that small foot (humans) do exist, poking fun at our outlook on Bigfoot. Families with young children will enjoy this film hitting theaters September 28th.
From director Andy Serkis, comes Mowgli a new, darker retelling of the story of the child from the Jungle Book Story by Rudyard Kipling. Serkis wants to focus more on the story from the book and set it apart from the Disney version most are most familiar with. We saw exclusive first viewing footage to get a taste of the tone set by Serkis, revealing Mowgli to be more of an animal type outcast who does not fit in either in the animal or human world.The film had a much darker, scarier tone than that of Jon Favreau’s adaptation of the Jungle Book in 2016. The cast present on stage, including Cate Blanchet, Benedict Cumberbatch and the titular character, Rohan Chand, were very excited to share this vision of the story with viewers. The film is set to open October 19th.
A Star is Born is the directorial debut of Bradley Cooper about a movie star who helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral. The film is based on the 1937 film of the same title. Cooper took on co-writing the screenplay, directing, acting and singing in the film alongside his co-star Lady Gaga in her first starring film role. Cooper, who was on stage to promote the film, explained that Lady Gaga encouraged him to sing live for the film and not dub the performances. The two went so far as to perform three live concerts while filming the movie. As far as the exclusive footage that was provided, the tone was very down to earth and there was a very visceral feeling of the characters. Lady Gaga showed much emotional weight in the scenes we saw her in. The movie is a love story and about music, and Cooper is passionate about this project as “Music is the purest way to communicate love”. As a musician, I was very captivated by both Cooper and Gaga’s musical performances and am excited to see this film on October 5th as well as hear the entire soundtrack.
Last, but certainly not least, was Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, directed by David Yates. This is the second of five Fantastic Beasts films in works. Will Arnett activated the unfinished footage of the film with Newt Scamander’s wand, provided by Eddie Redmayne. In addition to Redmayne, returning co-stars Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, and Ezra Miller were in appearance as well as newcomer Callum Turner. In the footage, we were taken back to Hogwarts where we see Newt (Redmayne) and his brother Theseus (Turner) back in school learning under Professor Dumbledore (Jude Law). We then transition to the present day where Newt assists Dumbledore to hunt down and apprehend Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), a fugitive wizard and former associate of Dumbledore. This film has all the fun, magic, and action you expect from this beloved franchise. Go out to see this magical film November 16th.
The panel closed with all the amazing celebrities in attendance taking one fantastic group photo together and it was very exciting to see so much talent on the stage together.