Stopping short of making a big splash, Warner Bros presented this week new clippings of The Matrix 4 and The Batman as parts of its theatrical slate over the next seven months at the exhibitors’ confabulation CinemaCon in Las Vegas.
Besides the studio’s reel showed new footage of The Batman starring Robert Pattinson and the opening sequence for The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel to The Sopranos, at the showroom at Caesars Palace. Warner Bros showed a glimpse at the first trailer for The Matrix 4, along with its title: The Matrix: Resurrections.
For the neo-Western drama Cry Macho, the presentation was a brief homage to Clint Eastwood’s career, praising him through recorded comments by Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and other cinema luminaries. The studio mixed the tributes with film Cry Macho‘s snippets.
Warner Bros, beyond the near-term theatrical slate, issued a teaser that said that five movie adaptations of its DC Comics properties are expected soon.
Warner domestic theatrical distribution chief Jeff Goldstein and international distribution counterpart Andrew Cripps anchored the hour-long video presentation. Unusually, a Midwest exhibitor introduced Rolando Rodriguez, also the chairman of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners (NATO) that sponsors CinemaCon.
Critics received the Warner slate well although exhibitors in the audience were restless during certain parts of the presentation. They commented about the studio’s commitment to cinema. In December, Warner Bros Pictures had said that their theatrical films would be available on their sister concern HBO Max the day they arrive in theatres in 2021. However, the studio’s films are still flowing to cinema halls.
Warner is lauded by cash-strained Hollywood for releasing big-budget Tenet last year when the pandemic risk was high. In July, HBO Max announced it would come up with a slate of at least 10 movies, presumably paving the way for more cinema exclusivity for Warner studio-originated theatrical films in 2022.
The overall CinemaCon event was downsized as the pandemic deterred attendance. Screen stars and major behind-the-camera talent, who would normally support slate presentations with in-person star power, were in short supply. Universal Pictures-based animation producer Chris Meledandri addressed an earlier session on 24 August. An MGM presentation the previous day served up company brass that spoke in-person and Sony Pictures gave a big in-person presentation on 23 August.
CinemaCon says more than 2,000 industry executives registered, which is down from its normal event contingent of 3,000-3,500 people. The industry fellows around appeared content to get down to business watching distributor movie slate presentations, as they sized up the CinemaCon trade show of service and equipment vendors and behind-the-scenes private meeting face-to-face. The second-largest circuit, Regal Cinemas, reportedly brought about 500 executives.
CinemaCon’s mood of ignoring the pandemic suits the Las Vegas environment. The gambling hub is packed with large summer holidaying crowds in casinos on its famous Strip, seemingly unperturbed that the city is a designated Covid-19 hotspot. People were wearing state government-mandated masks indoors a month ago to battle the virus resurgence, which made CinemaCon attendees appear with their faces covered.