For almost three hours at CinemaCon Wednesday night, Universal Studios and Focus Features just unleashed the Kraken If, by “Kraken,” we meant was “film footage.” Trailer after trailer, star after star, all touting the films the studios have coming to theaters in the next year or so. There were around 20 films in total and though not all of them were sci-fi, a good portion were, and here’s what you need to know about them.
The presentation opened with Jordan Peele’s Nope, a film we’ve been anxiously awaiting for months despite knowing almost nothing about it. Well, Peele arrived in Las Vegas and said he was going to show a clip that would reveal more than is out in the general public. Which he did. However, he also hoped everyone would keep it a secret. But we’re gonna tell you anyway.
Basically you have Daniel Kaluuya’s character seeing [REDACTED] followed by [REDACTED] in the [REDACTED]. He then teams up with his wife, played by Keke Palmer to [REDACTED] that he actually [REDACTED]. They team up with [REDACTED] and then a whole bunch of wild stuff happens like [REDACTED] on the windows and [REDACTED] in the sky. Then there’s a big empty [REDACTED] and they think that [REDACTED]. It then ends with the big reveal: a [REDACTED].
Come on, did you think we were going to go against Jordan Peele’s request? Hell no! Suffice to say, Nope looks sort of like what you are thinking but with a very Jordan Peele touch you aren’t. That is, if what we saw is even supposed to be taken in context. One never knows. It’s out July 22.
Jamie Lee Curtis then showed up to present what she called “Laurie’s last stand” in the October 14 release of Halloween Ends. “Trust me, it’s gonna fuck you up,” she said. The footage was largely a look back at the history of the Halloween franchise, from the original film as well as the 2018 sequel. However, as the editing ramped up the trailer put up text that said “Every scream, every scare, every slash, has led to this.” And finally, we’re watching footage from the new movie.
Laurie is hiding in the pantry being extra quiet as Michael, with a very dark, burnt mask, enters the kitchen. He looks around, she takes a deep breath, and jumps out of the doors at him. She attacks him! The two battle, back and forth. Michael smashes her head through some glass and throws her around. But eventually, she grab his knife and stabs him through the hand. The footage then ended with Laurie standing over a dazed Michael, with his knife in her head. Just so bad ass.
Here’s one that might not be on your radar. Produced by James Wan and Jason Blum, written by Akela Cooper (Malignant), Megan looks like Child’s Play for the 21st century. But this time, Chucky is Megan, an artificially intelligent toy programmed to protect a young girl. As you’d expect, things start rather innocently but then we see Megan can’t be shut off. She starts to get angry. And then angrier. And then very angry when a boy tries to bully her friend. “You should probably run” she says as she goes full feral, running on all fours like a AI tiger mixed with a demon from The Grudge. The footage was ridiculous, amazing, and creepy as hell. It won’t be out until January 13, 2023 but it looks wonderful.
In Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, there’s a chapter called “The Captain’s Log.” It’s about a voyage at sea where a mysterious creature (Dracula, duh) picks off an entire crew of a ship one by one. Well, this is an adaptation of that starring Corey Hawkins, Liam Cunningham, and David Dastmalchian. And it looks pretty cool. Pirates of the Caribbean meets Dracula, but during the evening and not as bombastic. There’s potential though and it’s a fun concept. It’s out January 27, 2023.
David Harbour is Santa Claus. That’s a pretty great selling point right there. But, as you can tell from the title, this isn’t your typical Christmas movie. From Tommy Wirkola, the director of Dead Snow, and the producers of Nobody and John Wick, this is a balls out action film, with Santa as the center. John Leguzamo plays a man who takes a family hostage, on Christmas, just as Santa arrives at the house. But Santa is not having it. The footage showed him swinging a sledgehammer, putting billiard balls in a stocking and smashing people with it, and even some stabbing with ornaments. It looks ludicrous and we are here for it. It’s out December 2.
Just like last year, the presentation ended with one of the biggest franchises in the world. After some banter between Jeff Goldblum and Bryce Dallas Howard, the CinemaCon audience was shown a brand sizzle reel mixing footage we’ve seen before with new extensions and revelations. For example, we learn that Blue the raptor has a baby (which we knew) but that the baby is kidnapped and Owen (Chris Pratt) promises Blue he’ll get her back. A point which, Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) later questions when he says “You made a promise to a dinosaur?”
In one scene Dr. Wu (B.D. Wong) finally admits they made a big mistake. In another, a motorcycle chase through the city which we’ve seen, a dinosaur eats a man whole who is riding a portable scooter. There’s a lone shot of Ian waving a big staff of fire. After Owen and DeWanda Wise’s character show down with an feathered dinosaur on the ice, that creature dives below the ice and starts swimming at them. And then, just like the other trailer, it ends with the legacy and new casts uniting to fight what Dr. Grant (Sam Neill) refers to as the largest land carnivore of all time. Or something to that effect. We see it smash through some windows, almost bit a girl in half and, most terrifyingly, get very close to eating Dr. Sattler. Oh, and you can watch it right here!
All in all, it was a very fun presentation filled with footage that put a few new films on our radars, while cementing a few others. Oh, and in between there were tons of other non-sci film films that looked great. For example, Billy Eichner’s Bros looks hilarious. She Said, the film about the women who broke the Harvey Weinstein story, looked powerful and compelling. And director Todd Field (In the Bedroom) is back with his first film in 16 years. It’s called Tar and stars Cate Blanchett as an orchestra conductor.
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