Axel-In-Charge: Waid & Samnee on "Black Widow" and the Dawn of the All-New, All-Different Era
The first studio presentation of CinemaCon 2013 in Las Vegas was a pretty modest affair, with Paramount Pictures Vice Chairman Rob Moore highlighting just three of the studio’s upcoming major releases. Before Moore took the stage, IMAX Chairman Greg Foster made a brief presentation, announcing that his company had signed a five-movie deal with Paramount that will include Michael Bay’s Transformers 4 and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar shooting footage with IMAX cameras. The three other movies in the deal will be announced later.
Moore began by touting the international success of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and G.I. Joe: Retaliation before introducing a highlight reel offering brief glimpses of a range of upcoming releases, including Paranormal Activity 5, Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, Jason Reitman’s Labor Day, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (starring Chris Pine), Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, and the new SpongeBob SquarePants movie. There were title mentions, no footage, for Transformers 4, the Michael Bay-produced Ninja Turtles, Interstellar and the Dwayne Johnson-starring Hercules.
Moore then moved on to the main presentations, introducing co-writer and co-producer Damon Lindelof to talk about Star Trek Into Darkness. “Perhaps you know me better as the balder, less-talented J.J. Abrams,” Lindelof joked before reading a note from the director, who was in Los Angeles finishing post-production. The note had Lindelof making all sorts of self-mocking remarks, and closed with, “J.J. Abrams is responsible for all of Lost. I, Damon, did nothing.”
From there, Lindelof introduced “people who are considerably more attractive than I am,” Star Trek Into Darkness stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Alice Eve and John Cho. Pine addressed the evolution of Captain Kirk in this film, saying, “In this installment, we see Kirk earn the [captain’s] chair,” he said. “I think you can expect a lot more vulnerability from this young man.”
Quinto also talked about vulnerability. “It is an erroneous notion that [Spock] doesn’t have an emotional life,” he said. “Spock’s journey in this film is learning how to honor that emotional life.” He also noted that his role was a lot more physical this time around.
“I consider [Abrams] to be among the greatest minds I’ve ever met,” said Eve, a newcomer to the franchise. Cho related a story of an on-set prank in which Pine and Quinto convinced him that a laser at one of the movie’s filming locations was radioactive, and had him jumping up and down and putting on “neutron cream” to neutralize the effects.
Lindelof announced they would be sharing 18 minutes of footage from the film, all in 3D. Pine promised that while the franchise is known for being about space adventures, “This is a very earthbound story,” that deals with modern issues. Benedict Cumberbatch’s villain, John Harrison, is a terrorist, and “terrorism is a big part of our lives,” Pine said, noting the day’s events at the Boston Marathon.
Lindelof assured the audience that while he and Abrams were initially skeptical about 3D, after seeing test footage, “we became converts.” He said he believes that with the 3D, “the movie becomes immersive.”
The footage featured two sequences, starting with an action-filled mission on an unnamed planet, where the Enterprise crew has to deactivate a volcano and save a race of primitive aliens. The sequence featured familiar Trek lore, including Spock’s admonition to Kirk not to violate the Prime Directive (which Kirk does anyway, in order to save Spock’s life) and the proclamation, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Demonstrating Quinto’s promise of more action for Spock, the sequence had him literally dropped into the middle of a volcano. In the second sequence, Kirk and John Harrison have to don spacesuits and freefall through space between the Enterprise and another vessel.
Moore returned to introduce the 3D trailer for World War Z, which opens June 21, followed by star Brad Pitt, who spoke briefly and seemed a little uncomfortable on the CinemaCon stage. He talked about the efforts to tell a zombie story in an original way, saying, “We got a little carried away.” After Pitt’s brief appearance came about 10 to 15 minutes of footage from World War Z (shown in 2D), split into three sequences.
In the first, Pitt’s character and his family experience pandemonium on the streets of Philadelphia as the zombie plague breaks out, complete with crazed zombies breaking through car windows with their heads. In the second, Pitt’s character is in the Middle East as a horde of zombies climbs over a massive wall into a fortified military zone. And in the third, Pitt’s character is on an airplane when a zombie stowaway attacks, rapidly zombifying passengers and eventually stopped only by a grenade that blows a hole in the side of the plane.
The final presentation of the evening was a full screening of Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain, opening April 26. Moore introduced stars Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, and the audience was audibly disappointed when they appeared via video. “If I was there, [Bay would] be making me take off my shirt and do ‘Good Vibrations,'” Wahlberg joked. Bay took the stage following the video, promising that next summer’s Transformers 4 would be the series’ best installment yet, and teasing a “big name” that was soon to be added to the cast alongside Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci.
He then introduced Pain & Gain, which he called his “little movie” that he made because he was “tired of the press always taking digs at me.” Bay’s “little” $25 million movie played in its entirety in the 4,300-seat Colosseum at Caesars Palace to close out the presentation.