CINEMACON 2013 UPDATE: Lionsgate's 'Catching Fire', 'Ender's Game', 'RED 2', & 'Now You See Me' Close CinemaCon with a Bang

on April 16, 2013

lions.png4/18 2nd Update: Emphasizing and boasting about NATO President John Fithian's exclamation of the studio as the seventh major industry player, Lionsgate closed out CinemaCon 2013's studio presentations this afternoon with a solid line-up of titles.

The main focus of the afternoon, naturally, was on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, and director Francis Lawrence presented the first teaser trailer of the film for the CinemaCon crowd. While the trailer had previously debuted online earlier this week, today was the first time it had been presented on the big screen to an audience. Needless to say, the reaction was beyond positive as the entire industry awaits the sequel to 2012's surprise mega-blockbuster. Watch next week for our first detailed analysis of the trailer's response from fans and general audiences across social network outlets. As if you need to be told, Catching Fire promises to be one of 2013's biggest movies domestically. The trailer will launch in theaters with Iron Man 3.

The first footage for Ender's Game was introduced by Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld (followed by a few words from Harrison Ford hismelf). Opening the holiday box office season when it opens on November 1, signs are promising so far as the film looks to balance an epic scope with a widely appealing story. Ford himself noted that the film could particularly touch the hearts of younger audiences. The trailer will launch in theaters with Star Trek Into Darkness, although there is the possibility that it could release online before that.

Red 2 was also given a brand new trailer ahead of its July 19 release. Given the summer release this time around, it's likely that film performs on par with its predecessor--and possibly even better if word of mouth is strong for the final product.

Also receiving a new and improved preview was May 31's Now You See Me, courtesy of stars Morgan Freeman and Isla Fisher. The more revealed about this film, the more it's beginning to look like a sleeper hit for early summer. The newest trailer more capably sells the magician heist-thriller and puts extra focus on the large ensemble cast. As of April 13, we were predicting a $17 million opening and $50 million domestic run for Now You See Me. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we revise those numbers based on where buzz stands.

Lastly, the next Sylvester Stallone-Arnold Schwarzenegger team-up was given a first look. Escape Plan's first trailer mostly fell flat with the CinemaCon audience, though there could be potential for some appeal to the stars' fan bases when the flick releases later this year.

That wraps up our live coverage of CinemaCon 2013's studio presentations. Be sure to check back next week for a rundown of what we feel were the highlights (and possibly some low points) of the film screenings this week.

4/18 Update: Despite a noticeable lack of franchise tentpoles this year, 20th Century Fox presented to today's CinemaCon audience a mostly promising slate of releases for the remainder of 2013 (and a few 2014 titles as well).

Their upcoming release of Epic didn't debut any new footage--instead opting to run the first trailer from last year. This is one of the titles that we expect to perform more modestly at the box office as it competes with a heavy May schedule. We're currently predicting a $95 million domestic total.

Fox's summer could really take off in late June, though. The Heat--screened in its entirety for CinemaCon last night--was featured in a new red band trailer introduced on stage by Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. Buzz for this one continues to grow significantly. Continuing in the tradition of Bridesmaids, the hard R buddy-comedy is going to be a must-see for female audiences this summer--and probably their male counterparts. If things fire on all cylinders in the marketing department, this may rival The Hangover Part III as the event comedy of the summer at the box office.

The Wolverine showcased some new footage in what appeared to be an alternate trailer. Unfortunately, the very short preview focused mostly on the action sequences rather than story points. The built-in appeal of the character will naturally make this a decent opener in late July, but with the backlash against the series after X-Men Origins: Wolverine , this one could have a harder time reaching its predecessor's $180 million domestic take.

The first trailer for Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, then made its debut. Given Affleck's recent success, he could help pull in audiences to this thriller in late September and October, although we can't quite say box office expectations are as high as Argo or The Town. The film is directed by Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer).

Next up came the debut of footage from Ridley Scott's The Counselor. Boasting a strong ensemble cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, and Javier Bardem, while also coming from a source novel by Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men), the film already has several drawing factors going in. Opening in a similar November window as Scott's American Gangster did in 2007, this could be a strong contender for awards season--and by extension, a healthy holiday season at the box office. We'll be keeping a close eye on this one.

Lastly, Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig came out to introduce and set up the premise for the former's newest directorial effort, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The two scenes mixed in with various other footage looked extremely promising. Fox seems very confident in the film, and if the enthusiastic response of today's audience is any indication, they have every right to be. The film will be a tough sell come December with its quirky dramedy angle mixed with fantastical elements, but we've seen in recent years that it can be done. The film opens in December in time for the heart of awards season, which Mitty could easily become a contender for.

In the animation department, a brief teaser for Peanuts (featuring Charlie Brown's CG profile) debuted alongside a new Turbo trailer, a teaser for Rio 2, and an early look at 2014's How to Train Your Dragon 2. Mr. Peabody & Sherman was also unveiled, along with Walking with Dinosaurs 3D. Peabody could struggle to find a large audience given the relative unfamiliarity of the brand with today's kids, though it remains to be seen. Most of the rest have solid box office prospects, although Walking with Dinosaurs 3D is a wild card at the moment.

Keep checking today as our live CinemaCon coverage wraps up this evening with Lionsgate's presentation--where The Hunger Games: Catching Fire figures to play a prominent role.

4/17 2nd Update: Sony Pictures just wrapped up its CinemaCon presentation of a slew of previews for upcoming titles. Among the bunch were previously released trailers (some with extended and/or new footage), but several first-reveals caught our eye as well.

Captain Phillips, based on the true story of the Maersk-Alabama, debuted a first trailer and received a solid response from the audience. Overall, the film looks to have a lot of the thrilling elements that helped drive director Paul Greengrass's previous hits. Star Tom Hanks also shines in the trailer as the title character. Watch out for this one later in the year--box office prospects are excellent.

The trailer for Grown Ups 2 played well in front of the crowd, though it may have had something to do with the entertaining on-stage presentation from Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Salma Hayek, and David Spade. Still, after the global success of the first film there's certainly potential for another hit here. $100 million domestically should be achievable again.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 debuted a new trailer and promises more of what families loved in the first film. Sony likely has another animated hit on its hands there.

New footage from White House Down was also screened. Showcasing more of the setup for Channing Tatum's character, the film should do well over Independence Day weekend this summer. Star power will go a long way to make it another likely $100+ million earner for director Roland Emmerich.

Also debuting today: a brief teaser featuring glimpses of multiple characters in David O'Russell's American Hustle. The film stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence. Even with the brief imagery shown, it's a safe bet that this could be yet another Oscar-contender for O'Russell. The film opens December 18.

Ditto for George Clooney's The Monuments Men, video introduced by himself and Grant Heslov. The World War II drama is set for release later this year.

Elysium debuted new footage mixed in with the previously released trailer, and thus far, the outlook is promising for Neill Blomkamp's second directorial effort. The film will certainly be another hard sell as an original, somewhat esoteric, R-rated sci-fi movie--but Matt Damon's lead character is one that audiences may be able to connect with easily. It's best to stay conservative under the circumstances, but Elysium is ripe with potential at the end of the summer. We're not ruling a $100+ million domestic run if Sony can get the film to connect with general audiences through marketing.

Last but not least, Sony chose to close its 2013 preview with This Is the End. In short: the new footage shown nearly brought down the house at certain points. While it's hard to say this will be another Ted or Hangover, expectations for this unique comedy are increasing as we speak. There was plenty of chatter during and after the trailer aired. It's a busy summer for comedies, but if word of mouth carries on this one it could be yet another hit for the summation of the "Apatow crew".

Other films previewed included Carrie, The Smurfs 2, and Stalengrad.

Sony also teased 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with an announcement graphic--but no footage, unfortunately.

Lastly, 21 Jump Street 2 was confirmed for a 2014 release.

Check back tomorrow for CinemaCon's final day as we cover Fox's and Lionsgate's presentations.

4/17 Update: Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn presented the Mouse House's plans for 2013 and beyond this morning. Kicking off with a sizzle reel of upcoming releases, we were treated to the first glimpses of Thor: The Dark World, Pixar's The Good Dinosaur, Maleficent, and Saving Mr. Banks. While each glimpse only amounted to a few seconds, each one looks ripe with potential. Horn then reaffirmed Disney's tentpole strategy as they aim for three major tentpoles alongside three smaller titles each year (with even smaller ones having the potential to become event pictures). The first portion of the presentation was largely focused on Disney's recent brand expansion--now including Pixar, Marvel, DreamWorks, and Lucasfilm.

No new footage for Iron Man 3 was screened, understandably so as the film is mere weeks from release. However, Horn did state that Star Wars: Episode VII is planned for a summer 2015 release. He also reiterated the studio's plans to release the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean during that same summer. If both plans to come fruition, in tandem with The Avengers 2's set release date in May, then 2015 will likely be one for the Disney--or any--box office record books.

FYI: While we're treating Horn's Star Wars announcement as official, Disney presented a slide at the end that featured a timeline and all but a few titles were specifically pinpointed to a season (spring/summer/fall/winter). Star Wars and Pirates were two of those titles lacking an assigned season in 2015.

Also briefly discussed was this November's animation Frozen, although no footage was presented.

Following Horn's presentation were producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski, and stars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer coming on stage to briefly present two scenes from The Lone Ranger. The first scene seemed to fall somewhat flat with the crowd, although the second certainly picked up some steam. The team is remaining cautious when it comes to prospects for the film summer--largely in part due to the competing release of Despicable Me 2 which will eat away at the typical Disney audience that The Lone Ranger is gunning for. Still, The Lone Ranger's new trailer (debuting after the scene presentations) offers some promise for being able to hook summer crowds looking for a fun adventure movie.

Meanwhile, Monsters University just began screening in its entirety as of the publishing of this writing. We'll be keeping our ears open about buzz from the film following the show.

Later this evening, Sony Pictures will present their upcoming slate. Stay tuned to for our report on that event.

4/16 2nd Update: The Warner Bros. brass held another strong CinemaCon presentation this evening, showcasing a number of 2013 films ripe with potential.

The Great Gatsby was the first to take center stage with its new trailer following a video introduction from Baz Luhrmann. Todd Phillips then came on stage to introduce The Hangover Part III. Although no new footage was screened for that film, the latest trailer generated a great response from the crowd. While we're currently predicting an $86 million opening and $200 million domestic total as of April 13 (notably less than the first two), it's becoming clear that audiences are looking forward to one more installment in the hugely successful comedy franchise. If the film delivers on the promise of the trailer and the reactions we saw tonight, word of mouth for Part III should be stronger than that of the second film.

One of the most anticipated unveilings this year followed next as Zack Snyder presented the brand new trailer for Man of Steel. Highlighting more of the film's broad scope--including a somewhat better look at Michael Shannon's General Zod--seemed to play well with the CinemaCon audience. While we can't say the response was a clear indicator of box office potential, it certainly gives us an idea of how general audiences may approach a new Superman film: with optimistic caution. Keep an eye out for our first Man of Steel domestic predictions this weekend on

The big story of the evening was Pacific Rim. Guillermo del Toro graced the podium to present the film's latest trailer which offers a much better glimpse into the film's story. Charlie Hunnam's trailer voiceover describes the backstory of the film and sets the stage well for an audience to enter into del Toro's universe. Based on what we saw, Pacific Rim is filled to the brim with action sequences of an epic scope. We're increasingly confident in the film's potential to become one of the summer's biggest sleeper hits (especially thanks to the built-in appeal for young male viewers). We're even more confident in the film's overseas potential. Pacific Rim's box office outlook is definitely one that we'll be analyzing more over the next three months.

300: Rise of an Empire made its debut with unfinished footage, although the reaction was tame. The Conjuring's trailer drew noticeable interest as it continues to make a strong case for sleeper hit status later in the summer. Helping to finish up the summer slate will be We're the Millers, a comedy starring Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston. The CinemaCon crowd ate up the trailer. Opening in an August after a summer already filled with comedies, the film has a challenge or two ahead but it definitely deserves attention going forward.

Closers for Warner Bros.' session included Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, a few shots from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and rough footage of still-in-production Prisoners. The latter boasts a strong cast including, but not limited to, Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Maria Bello. Based on the limited scenes presented, Jackman could already be contending for awards again after the film's release later this year.

Continuing coverage of CinemaCon 2013's studio presentations will pick back up on Thursday with events from Disney and Sony Pictures.

4/16 Update: Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson took stage this morning in Las Vegas to present the studio's 2013 slate of releases. As a teaser, he announced that sequels for Snow White and the Huntsman and Pitch Perfect are moving forward. The former is slated for 2015. Also shown were trailers for 2 Guns and Kick-Ass 2, but very little new footage. The crowd seemed to get a kick out of Jim Carrey's Colonel Stars & Stripes in the former.

Truly kicking off the show was the first screened footage from July 19's R.I.P.D., starring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds. In what mostly amounted to an extended trailer, Universal showcased a number of CGI-driven effects sequences as well as the basic setup of the story involving Bridges' and Reynolds' characters. R.I.P.D. seems to be cut from the cloth of Men In Black as a buddy action flick set against a paranormal backdrop. Online buzz had been non-existent despite the film's impending release, but once the trailer is released it could start to turn things around a bit. The jury's still out on the film's box office potential, but the CinemaCon crowd got a kick out of Bridges' eccentric character.

Next came Despicable Me 2. Following the previously released theatrical trailer, we were treated to a montage of scenes picked from various points out of what seem to be the film's first and second acts. Included was an introduction to Al Pacino's lead villain. The scenes promise to bring back many of the elements audiences loved about the first film. Highlights included a comedic scene that features Gru setting up a birthday party for Agnes. Above all, there was no shortage of minions--good news for box office potential as they are undoubtedly the most popular aspect of the budding franchise. Watch for Despicable Me 2 to dominate theaters over Independence Day weekend. Prospects are highfor matching or exceeding the first film's $251.5 million domestic and $291.5 million overseas grosses.

The Despicable presentation went over well enough to be worthy of a show-closer, but they had one more everyone was waiting to see: Fast & Furious 6. In similar fashion, the film's theatrical trailer was shown with extended footage highlighting more of the octane action and character banter. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, and producer Neal Moritz then came on stage for an entertaining Q&A session. The franchise's central themes of family loyalty were a hot topic, underlining what they feel contributes to the franchise's continued success over the last 12 years. Vin Diesel himself then announced that the seventh installment has an official release date of July 11, 2014. Afterward, we were treated to one more action sequence featuring a thrilling multi-vehicle chase from the middle of the film. When the screen faded to black, the crowd delivered the loudest reception of the day so far.'s official Fast & Furious 6 prediction (as of April 13) is for a $102 million opening and $215 million domestic total. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we continue to update those figures.

Also, remember to check back on Tuesday night for our coverage of Warner Bros.' presentation here at CinemaCon.

Previously on 4/15: Paramount's presentation out of Las Vegas tonight delivered a bang to kick off CinemaCon. Upfront, the studio announced a new five-film deal with IMAX over the next couple of years. Two of those films were revealed to be Christopher Nolan's Interstellar (which will be shot with IMAX cameras) and Michael Bay's Transformers 4. The latter will be the first film shot in native IMAX 3D. The remaining three titles are yet to be named.

In addition, the first glimpses were shown from Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, Alexander Payne's Nebraska, and Kenneth Branagh's Jack Ryan reboot. Unfortunately, the footage from each title amounted to just a few seconds or less.

The big attraction of the night belonged to Star Trek Into Darkness. Writer Damon Lindelof came out with Chris Prine, Zachary Quinto, Alice Eve, and John Cho to introduce an 18-minute preview of the film. Included were two select scenes from the film. Neither revealed much of the film's central plot, however, the second did offer an extended scene featuring Benedict Cumberbatch's mysterious John Harrison character. The footage mostly showcased the film's action/adventure aspects alongside some lighter comedic elements. The CinemaCon audience responded very enthusiastically, further cementing Into Darkness's imminent box office success.

Next came a brief presentation for June's World War Z from Brad Pitt himself. Leading off the preview was the latest trailer (shown in 3D), followed by three extended 2D scenes from various points in the story. Pitt's on-stage presence electrified the audience, but the footage itself delivered audible positive reactions. The combination of Pitt and an apocalyptic summer blockbuster is definitely starting to show its potential. While the footage itself bears loose resemblances to the book it's based on, general audiences probably won't care. Competition in June will be stiff, but interest in World War Z just kicked up a notch or two as far as the CinemaCon crowd is concerned.

Stay tuned throughout this week as we bring you more updates from the CinemaCon studio presentations. Universal and Warner Bros. are next up on Wednesday.

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Tags: Star Trek Into Darkness, World War Z, Interstellar, Transformers 4, Fast & Furious 6, Fast 7, Despicable Me 2, R.I.P.D., Snow White and the Huntsman 2, Pitch Perfect 2, Pacific Rim, The Great Gatsby, The Hangover Part III, Man of Steel, We're the Millers, 300: Rise of an Empire, Gravity, Prisoners, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, CinemaCon 2013, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, Star Wars: Episode VII, Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Frozen, Maleficent, Saving Mr. Banks, Monsters University, The Good Dinosaur, Red 2, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Ender's Game, Escape Plan, Now You See Me, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain