Lionsgate Logo

Lionsgate closed out the presentation lineup with a bang courtesy of actor/comedian Kevin Hart. It truly was quite nice to hear studio bigwigs thank the CinemaCon crowd for giving their films the best possible homes, run through past hits and tease potential upcoming blockbusters, but when you’ve got an effortless, foulmouthed comedian like Hart running things, the presentation winds up feeling more like an entertaining show. Hart dished out amusing gags, noting that it’s his job to keep us all from falling asleep and warning the audience, “I’m gonna cuss a couple times,” before spitting out about a half dozen naughty words that brought out the immaturity in many.

Hart took a little break and let Lionsgate CEO, John Fellman take the stage to introduce the company’s brand new animated logo, which you can see for yourself right here. Then in came a very important message from the set of “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas.” A cell phone rings, Madea fumes, grabs the boom microphone from overhead, and demands that everyone turn their cell phones off. Once that was taken care of, in came the Lionsgate sizzle reel followed by a string of footage from their upcoming releases.

Now You See Me

There was nothing new to note from “Now You See Me,” as the trailer screened appeared to be this very one right here, but an appearance from Morgan Freeman and Isla Fisher made for a nice surprise.

You’re Next

Lionsgate showed off its August 23rd horror release next, running the trailer for the Adam Wingard-directed, Simon Barrett-penned, “You’re Next.” Again nothing new, but the trailer did play particularly well on the big screen and even though the company’s attempt at giving the audience one last scare by shining spotlights on two folks wearing the “You’re Next” animal masks, right when the trailer cut to black failed, it was a charming effort.

Red 2

Red 2

“Red 2,” on the other hand, did have a new trailer to debut. The piece opens with the same Bruce Willis/John Malkovich Costco scene during which Malkovich’s Marvin attempts to recruit Willis’ Frank for another mission. From there the trailer gives us a little more information on why Helen Mirren’s character informs Willis he’s being hunted – he’s mistakenly believed to have been part of a certain operation.

Then in comes this new trailer’s main highlight, Anthony Hopkins. He’s a criminally insane scientist who’s been locked away for 32 years – and you can tell. Almost every single time you see Hopkins in this trailer, he’s acting as goofy and mindless as you’ve ever seen him and it’s absolutely hilarious.

We also get a few shots of Byung-hun Lee’s character, the best contract killer in the world, engaging in some wicked hand-to-hand combat after which Catherine Zeta-Jones’s Miranda Wood pops up in Paris. We did get a couple of shots of Miranda invading Sarah Ross’ (Mary-Louise Parker) space in trailer one, but here, Zeta-Jones really strives to turn up the heat. Paradoxically, right after that we see a nasty string of toilets explode before cutting to a scene with Helen Mirren’s Victoria during which she beats the crap out of someone because he doesn’t know who she is and then blames it on her being “before his time.”

Based on the promos released thus far, the plot hasn’t come together enough to suggest the gang’s next mission will make for a powerful narrative, but, like the first, the opportunity to see our favorite retired and extremely dangerous heroes back in action again is all that’s necessary.

Escape Plan

Escape Plan

How about a little old school Arnold Schwarzenegger/Sylvester Stallone action for your fall season? “Escape Plan,” formerly “The Tomb,” is due to hit theaters on September 13th and the CinemaCon audience got the first look at the film’s new trailer.

We begin with Stallone’s Ray Breslin breaking out of a high security prison. Turns out, that’s what he does for a living. Apparently Ray’s got the ability to “break out of any prison designed by man,” so in order to make sure a facility is inescapable, they send him in to give it a go.

One day, Ray is zapped with a taser and wakes up in a new type of prison – one in which prisoners are kept in clear glass boxes rather than cells. They are occasionally let out of the tiny cubes and when that happens, they’re closely guarded by ruthless men in eerie black masks. While the facility does appear to be a prison, the unusual form of confinement and brutality that runs rampant throughout the halls suggests this place is much worse.

And this is where Ray meets Schwarzenegger’s Rottmayer. Ray tells his new buddy about his unique job, but then it’s revealed that this isn’t some paid gig for Ray, as we cut back to a colleague or employer played by Amy Ryan who’s clearly concerned that she can’t track him down. That’s when someone suggests that Ray could be in a facility known as The Tomb, a prison without a known location.

Back inside The Tomb, there’s talk of breaking out and punishing the people that put them there followed by a string of fight footage, yelling, helicopters, guns, and more. Sounds appropriate for a film starring Stallone and Schwarzenegger, right? Absolutely! And if you’re the type of moviegoer who enjoys indulging in some outrageous battles during which the ultimate action heroes run through a barrage of fists and bullets unharmed, “Escape Plan” looks as though it may deliver.

Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing

In came another special guest, “Much Ado About Nothing” director, Joss Whedon. Whedon explained that they shot the film in his home for 12 days and that he strove to capture the feeling and energy of live theater. He also noted that he’s been enjoying what he dubbed the “I don’t like, but” response, referring to folks who tell him, I don’t like Shakespeare, but I like your movie. However, personally, I don’t enjoy Shakespeare and based on the footage shown, it’s not looking good for Whedon’s rendition.

The first scene focused on a conversation between Clark Gregg’s Leonato and two other men while a fourth eavesdrops from a window. As someone who could use a couple of reads to fully digest and understand a scene of Shakespeare, what I took from one watch of this moment is that the men were in the company of one woman who loves a man, but refuses to tell him of the affection. Based on a little SparkNotes searching, it looks as though the scene could have been Act I, scene ii of Shakespeare’s original work.

Then we move outside and meet Amy Acker’s Beatrice and possibly Alexis Denisof’s Benedick performing material from Act I, scene i, during which Beatrice continuously insults him while he rather brutishly shows off for her by doing pushups and sit-ups.

There’s nothing wrong with the material per se, but it’s pretty easy to tell that it’s not for me. It’s a noble and unique effort, shooting on such a tight schedule, using Shakespearian dialect, and presenting the entire piece in black and white, but I likely won’t be abiding by the “I don’t like, but” response for this one.

Let Me Explain

After incessantly plugging his movie throughout the entire presentation, it was finally time for Hart’s “Let Me Explain” to take center stage. Hart introduced a sneak peek clip that was broken down into three jokes from a standup performance. There was “Single Life,” “Crazy Women,” and “Biggest Fear” during which he admits to being terrified of bum hands – yes, bum hands.

Even as someone who doesn’t indulge in much stand-up comedy, Hart is such a hilarious charmer in person, it does entice you to give the film a shot, so, as Hart said time and time again, buy “Let Me Explain” on July 3rd.


Considering “Divergent” only just went into production, it was no surprise that there was nothing to show, but the studio did mention the March 21, 2014 release in an effort to segue into the highlight of the presentation.

Ender's Game

Ender’s Game

Yes! The time finally came. While it was a pleasure to see Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld on stage to introduce the footage, they couldn’t have gotten off quick enough so the film’s very first trailer could finally roll.

The piece opened with the epic Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) battle while Harrison Ford’s Colonel Graff narrates the scene, explaining that the Formics learned the humans’ strategies and weaknesses and nearly decimated the planet. He insists that that can never happen again and then we’re whisked away to Battle School.

Graff continues by explaining that the humans are in need of a new type of solider as we see feet marching up a set of steps, someone suiting up, and then diving into the zero gravity Battle Room. There’s a quick look at an enemy Formic ship before finally giving Ender (Butterfield) the spotlight. Ender’s told that “we need minds like yours” and gets his Salamander Army uniform.

Then in comes our first close-up look at Mazer Rackham, face tattoos and all. There’s more marching through the halls of Battle School, a shot of Steinfeld’s Petra Arkanian dining with Ender (from the previously released still), and then a look at the Formic’s home planet, Eros. Before wrapping up, we get another string of quick fire shots including one of Ender with his sister, Valentine (Abigail Breslin), at the lake house, a ship exploding and then, the ultimate, Ender looking as though he’s conducting an orchestra of sorts. The trailer flashes the URL and comes to a close.

Not only does the trailer do a solid job of conveying the details for those unfamiliar with the source material, but for those who’ve read Orson Scott Card’s book, it’s really like seeing what you’ve imagined come to life. Minus the fact that the trailer is devoid of the fantasy game, everything is there and it all looks right. Plus, the piece benefits from solid editing and an effective structure, one that serves the narrative’s plot points while building a solid dose of suspense.

As if that wasn’t enough, the “Ender’s Game” portion of the presentation concluded with a surprise visit from Graff himself, Harrison Ford.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Considering the film’s first teaser trailer only dropped a week ago, this was bound to happen; we saw no new footage from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” However, making up for the lack of fresh material, Lionsgate did bring Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, and Francis Lawrence up on stage and gave the CinemaCon audience the honor of being the very first crowd to see the teaser on the big screen and, sure enough, it was exponentially more powerful in a theatrical setting with the Dolby Atmos sound system. Opting to re-watch the teaser trailer in theaters ahead of “Iron Man 3” on May 3rd probably won’t make you any less anxious for more footage from the highly anticipated sequel, but it’ll still be immensely satisfying.

By Perri Nemiroff

By Perri Nemiroff

Film producer and director best known for her work in movies such as FaceTime, Trevor, and The Professor. She has worked as an online movie blogger and reporter for sites such as,, Shockya, and MTV's Movies Blog.

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