LAS VEGAS – Lionsgate was the 10th and final studio to present its upcoming slate to the world’s theater owners today and they ended their event with an early screening of the upcoming Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson action comedy “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.” Any written reaction is embargoed at the moment, but one of its stars, Salma Hayek, predicted a sequel. That being said, the mini-major did push some of its other notable releases and was surprisingly quiet on others.
Lionsgate has had a very successful partnership with Pantelion Films and Spanish-English releases such as “Instructions Not Included” and “Pulling Strings.” Their latest collaboration is “How To Be A Latin Lover” and features its most “Hollywood” cast to date with Hayek, Rob Lowe, Rob Riggle, Michael Cera and Kristen Bell. The movie’s star, however, is Eugenio Derbez, who previously toplined ‘Instructions’ and is one of the most popular Hispanic actors in the world. ‘Latin Lover’ looks funny, but its unclear if it can crossover to non-Latino audiences. Both studios brought Derbez and Hayek to CinemaCon with hopes that it might.
CBS Films‘ “American Assassin,” which Lionsgate will distribute, was the picture that probably piqued the audience’s interest the most. Based on the popular 2010 novel, it centers on Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien), a twentysomething whose girlfriend is killed right in front of him while they are vacationing at a beach side resort. Looking for revenge Mitch trains himself in numerous fighting techniques only to be recruited as a CIA operative. He’s put under the watch of Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton) who is described as one of the most dangerous killers in the world and Mitch quickly learns that he’s a true bad ass. In one scene Stan teaches a bunch of new recruits how you really kill someone who attacks you. He flips Mitch to the ground and instructs not to slash, but to stab your victim right in the throat. This is a big jump from the teen-friendly action O’Brien has done on MTV’s “Teen Wolf” and “The Maze Runner” series. The rest of the preview alluded to a mission overseas, but it was sort of lost in a haze of trailer cutting.
Lionsgate’s big fall release at the moment appears to be “Wonder.” The studio wanted to make sure everyone knew it was their highest testing movie ever, but the preview was underwhelming to say the least. Well, let’s rephrase that. The movie seemed incredibly broad for its subject matter. That was pretty surprising considering Stephen Chbosky, who previously directed the acclaimed “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower,” was behind the camera. The story centers on Auggie (Jacob Tremblay), a young boy who had to endure a number of surgeries to battle a facial deformity that affected his eyesight and breathing (I believe he says he’s had 27 surgeries). He arrives at a new school and, as you’d expect, isn’t treated very well by all of his fellow students. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson play his parents. And, notably, it doesn’t look like an awards movie whatsoever.
Surprisingly, there was no mention of “My Little Pony” outside of a title card, Joseph Kosinski’s “Granite Mountain” with Miles Teller, Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges and Jennifer Connely or the “Sicario” sequel “Soldado” which is expected to premiere at a major fall festival.