On Thursday, CinemaCon, the annual movie-theater conference, wrapped up in Las Vegas. And once again the big takeaway was that the major studios aren’t abandoning their theatrical businesses any time soon.
The main purpose of CinemaCon – outside of taking countless meetings – is for studios to fly in with their stars in tow and give presentations that dazzle exhibitors about their upcoming slates of movies. This can range from trailers, to select scenes, to 15-20 minute sections of movies, and in some cases screenings of entire movies.
The goal for studios is to put on such a presentation that theaters don’t just run their movies, but show them on multiple screens and over a long period of time. (Warner Bros.’ “A Star Is Born” was in theaters for 6 months!)
And this year, the studios came to Vegas with titles that could make 2019 as big or even bigger than the record-breaking box office ($11.9 billion domestic; $41.1 billion global) and tickets sold (263 million) in 2018.
After spending the last four days at CinemaCon, Business Insider returns with 15 movies that you shouldn’t miss:
Warning: Minor spoilers below
This one is kind of obvious. The anticipation for this movie is so huge that when advanced tickets for the movie went up earlier this week, it overworked the servers of most of the places you go to get online movie tickets.
At CinemaCon, we got to see around five minutes of the movie and it had the mixture of tension and dry comedy that is perfect for the chapter that follows the shocking end to “Infinity War.”
We have a feeling all that time you spent the other day trying to get an advanced ticket will be worth it.
In theaters: April 26
I don’t really know if anything will prepare you for this movie. From producer Sam Raimi (“Evil Dead,” early 2000s “Spider-Man” franchise) and director Alexandre Aja (“The Hills Have Eyes” 2006 remake, “Piranha 3D”), we follow a woman trying to rescue her father from his house as a hurricane is about to hit. But there’s only one problem: As the water rises, alligators are everywhere.
The first trailer of the movie was shown at CinemaCon and it has a mix of scares and hilarity as the leads (Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper) try to escape the countless alligators who are everywhere as the house is overcome by rising water. The gators are coming into the basement, busting through windows, and even swimming around the bathroom while the main character hides in the tub.
In theaters: July 12
“Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”
Though the trailer already publicly released for this movie is crazy, wait until you see the one shown at CinemaCon.
The new one is less playful than the trailer now online. Sure, there is stuff that makes you laugh, like Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Statham) both battling bad guys in rooms divided by glass so both can see their handiwork (and Shaw having a tougher room than Hobbs). But there’s more of a sense of family. Shaw is trying to keep his sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) out of danger, while Hobbs’ Samoan family helps them fight the cyborg villain Brixton (Idris Elba).
In one amazing scene that really only works in the “Fast and Furious” universe, Hobbs and Shaw try to bring down Brixton in a helicopter with the tow truck they are in. The truck isn’t heavy enough, so the truck Hobbs and Shaw is in connects to another truck. That doesn’t work so they are able to attach to another truck. Oh yeah, and they are driving toward a cliff. It all leads to an incredible visual that would seem only possible for kids playing with toys in the backyard.
In theaters: August 2
“Ford v. Ferrari”
This is definitely up there as some of the best footage I saw at CinemaCon this year. From the Fox shingle of Disney (man, it’s hard to type that), director James Mangold (“Logan”) looks back on the true story of the battle between car giants Ford and Ferrari to win the Le Mans in 1966.
Matt Damon plays Carroll Shelby, a former Le Mans winner who Ford entrusts to build the car and find the driver to beat Ferrari. Christian Bale plays Ken Miles, the hot head driver Shelby entrusts to get the Le Mans win.
The movie looks to be an adrenaline-filled drama as we follow Shelby, Miles, and their team to build their dream car (despite the scrutiny of the Ford Motor Company). Damon and Bale look to be in top form and the movie also stars Jon Bernthal, Josh Lucas, and Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II.
This one could bring some award season buzz for Disney in the major categories, which is something that studio hasn’t had in a very long time.
In theaters: November 15
- Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Another movie with footage that made our jaws drop was Ang Lee’s latest. Always pushing the limits of CGI, for this story Lee does it again, this time having Will Smith play an aging hitman who finds his greatest challenge: himself.
No, literally a younger version of himself is trying to kill him. The footage of a young Will Smith is astounding. Even in this era when de-aging is becoming more common, seeing young Smith (including the sound of his voice; up a higher-pitch like how he sounded in his early movies) was stunning.
In theaters: October 4
Think of this one as “Superbad,” but a lot younger. Jacob Tremblay (“Room”), Brady Noon, and Keith Williams star as sixth graders who skip school and end up on an incredible journey that leads to them ending up with stolen drugs, being chased by teens, and discovering a lot of interesting “toys” their parents have while trying to get to the big sixth grade party.
Produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, expect a really raunchy fun time.
In theaters: August 16
“It: Chapter Two”
- Warner Bros.
The highly anticipated sequel to the hit 2017 horror movie adaptation of the classic Stephen King book looks like it will not disappoint – at least from the brief scene we saw.
That scene showed grown-up Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain) coming back to her childhood home to find an elderly woman living there instead of her father. While having flashbacks of her time there as a child, Beverly starts to realize this old lady may be a little off.
From shots we the audience can see of the old lady but Beverly can’t (including a shot where the lady strips naked and scurries around in the shadows), it’s clear that the woman is Pennywise.
Yeah, it was really creepy. We can’t wait to see this!
In theaters: September 6
“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”
John Wick is now on the run, but he has help. Yeah, there’s Sofia, played by Halle Berry, but I’m actually talking about her two dogs.
The footage shown at CinemaCon got one of the biggest receptions of anything shown the whole week because of how crazy Sofia’s dogs are in the fight scenes. In one sequence, John and Sofia are up against a bunch of bad guys, and in typical “John Wick” fashion, there are a lot of bullets flying. But what ups the ante is the two dogs coming into the shots and taking out bad guys. In one sequence, Sofia kneels down and one of her dogs jumps off her back and leaps up a 20-foot wall to take out a bad guy.
In “John Wick 3,” the dogs get some payback!
In theaters: May 17
- Warner Bros.
Hopefully you have seen the footage for yourself. Todd Phillips’ “Joker” looks to be a twisted origin story that has a little bit of “Taxi Driver and “The King of Comedy” to thank for its dark tone.
Phillips told the CinemaCon audience that most of the stuff written about the movie so far online hasn’t been accurate.
“I guess that’s what happens when you set out to do an origin story about a character that doesn’t have a definitive origin,” he said.
In theaters: October 4
- Stuart C. Wilson/Getty
Rian Johnson follows up “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” with a very different movie.
With an incredible ensemble that includes Chris Evans, Daniel Craig (sporting a Southern accent), Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, Christopher Plummer, Don Johnson, and Toni Collette, the story looks at a who-done-it focused on a family that’s so vile everyone is the suspect.
In theaters: November 27
“The Lion King”
Disney’s live-action remake of one of its most beloved animated movies could be the “Jurassic Park” of this generation in regards to the leaps in technology it’s taken.
Jon Favreau has already wowed us with the motion-capture done in 2016’s “The Jungle Book,” but the footage we saw of “The Lion King” at CinemaCon is flawless. It’s impossible to tell these talking animals are not real-life animals. We could be talking about the feats this movie has accomplished for a long time.
In theaters: July 19
Lionsgate showed us the entire movie, which is coming off a successful premiere at the SXSW Film Festival, where it received its audience award. Though it has a heavy run time of over two hours, Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen make it work. The two have chemistry that on paper shouldn’t work, but on screen is really cute. You fall right into the movie’s rom-com vibe. It’s fueled by a lot of great jokes and physical comedy.
In theaters: May 3
Octavia Spencer teams with Blumhouse and her old friend director Tate Taylor (“The Help”) to finally get her first solo lead movie.
Here she plays a lonely woman who befriends a group of teens and suddenly becomes popular when she allows them to get drunk and party at her house. But she has some twisted motives for doing all this.
In theaters: May 31
“Toy Story 4”
We got to see the first 17 minutes of the movie and get ready for a lot of excitement and laughs right out of the gate. Woody (Tom Hanks) plays hero to save RC, Bo Peep finds herself in a jam that leads to a shocking revelation, and we get the origin story of Forky (Tony Hale) – AND THAT’S ALL JUST IN THE FIRST 17 MINUTES!
In theaters: June 21
“Wonder Woman 1984”
- Warner Bros.
Now, Warner Bros. didn’t show a lot of “WW84,” as it was just part of a DC Comics sizzle reel – but we did catch a few things. They include Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) rocking a little 1980s style with her hair, walking arm-and-arm in Washington D.C. with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), battling bad guys in a mall (again, it’s the ’80s!), and our first-ever glimpse of Kristen Wiig as Cheetah. It was very brief, but was exciting to see.