Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Broad Green Enters Long-Term Home Video Deal with Universal for Burgeoning Slate Broad Green Enters Long-Term Home Video Deal with Universal for Burgeoning Slate Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Watch 'SPECTRE' Trailer: James Bond Meets the Author of His Pain Watch 'SPECTRE' Trailer: James Bond Meets the Author of His Pain 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick and Morty,' and Our Love/Hate Relationship with TV 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick and Morty,' and Our Love/Hate Relationship with TV Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) First Look at Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a Gay Couple in 'Freeheld' First Look at Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a Gay Couple in 'Freeheld' Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

CinemaCon: Sony Relies on Low-Risk Sequels, Comedies, and Faithfuls Adam Sandler, Will Smith

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 23, 2013 at 9:56PM

After seeing several CinemaCon studio presentations in a row, you start to see the retreads coming. The requisite rehash of 2012 hits, adding up to $4.1 billion worldwide, did not reveal that both "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Men in Black 3" cost too much to return serious profits, or that the global bounty from "Skyfall" was shared with Eon and MGM. As I watched Sony's dog-and-pony show, led off by studio star Adam Sandler trumpeted by Romans in tunics and breastplates, I was checking off a grid.
0
Jaden Smith in "After Earth."
Jaden Smith in "After Earth."

After seeing several CinemaCon studio presentations in a row, you start to see the retreads coming. The requisite rehash of 2012 hits, adding up to $4.1 billion worldwide, did not reveal that both "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Men in Black 3" cost too much to return serious profits, or that the global bounty from "Skyfall" was shared with Eon and MGM. As I watched Sony's dog-and-pony show, led off by studio star Adam Sandler arriving on stage with trumpet fanfare from Romans in tunics and breastplates, I was checking off a grid.

Dystopian sci-fi adventure: Will and Jaden Smith play father and son marooned on a nasty Planet Earth in M. Night Shyamalan's cool-looking "After Earth" (May 31). Where's Tom Cruise when you need him? Even more promising is Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to "District 9," which earned him some independence on "Elysium" (August 9), which stars Matt Damon as a man struggling in a hellhole on Earth who sets out to fight for the medicine he needs to survive.

Apocalyptic comedy: The last remaining refuge of the original is comedy, and thankfully writer-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg confront the apocalypse in their own raunchy way in L.A. showbiz comedy "This is the End" (June 12) starring a cast of friends playing their deranged selves, from James Franco and Michael Cera to Emma Watson and Rihanna. This looks hilarious.

President in danger thriller: "White House Down" (June 28) stars the ubiquitous Channing Tatum, who starred in more $100-million movies than any other star in 2012. And Jamie Foxx plays a remarkably athletic president under terrorist attack. Where's Gerard Butler when you need him?

Matt Damon in 'Elysium'
Matt Damon in 'Elysium'

Comedy sequels: Sandler's "Grown-Ups 2" (July 12) stars Salma  Hayek, David Spade and Kevin James. "It's a fucking four-quadrant movie, let's get it done motherfuckers," Sandler exhorted the theater owners. 

Low-risk concert movie: Morgan Spurlock directs young Brit band "One Direction: This is Us" (August 30) in concert and behind the scenes.

Animated family sequels: "Smurfs 2" (3-D, July 31), "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" (September 27).

Young adult fantasy bestseller movie: "Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" (August 23) stars Lily Collins ("Mirror Mirror") as a young teen whose mother Lena Headey ("Game of Thrones") admits she's born into a family of Shadowhunters who chase demons. Tag line: "There is a world hidden within our own." Where's Sarah Michelle Geller when you need her? The release date confirms my suspicion that Sony's expectations are low. 

This is the End

Reluctant coach turns team of losers into winners: In "Battle of the Year" "Lost" star Josh Holloway trains a ragtag team to battle for a world championship (3-D, September 13). See "Monsters University."

Low-risk horror remake: Inevitably, Stephen King's "Carrie" (October 18) has been recast with Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore. At least Kimberley Peirce is at the helm. She's never dull.

'Stalingrad'
'Stalingrad'

Low-risk acquisition: One of the more compelling Sony pictures previewed in Las Vegas was an independently financed international pick-up from Russia, Fyodor Bondarchuk's World War II actioner "Stalingrad," about the infamous standoff waged in November 1942. It was shot with Red cameras in IMAX 3-D and does not yet have a domestic release date. (My set visit is here.)

Needless to say the last quarter brings the quality award season movies Sony chief Amy Pascal really likes to make, from George Clooney's period art heist thriller "Monuments Men" and Tom Hanks in Paul Greengrass's Somali pirate movie "Captain Phillips" to David O. Russell's Abscam comedy now titled "American Hustle."

And 2014 brings more of same: new film versions of "Annie," "Popeye" and "RoboCop" as well as sequels to "Think Like a Man," "21 Jump Street" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" (May 2).


This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Sequel, Spider-Man, Elysium


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.