CinemaCon 2014 Day 1 – Paramount, Rottentomatoes, Hercules, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more!


Hollywood comes to Vegas this week to do some glad-handing and schmoozing as the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) holds its annual weeklong shindig. The goal of the week is, I really don’t know. It’s a chance for Theater owners to interact with their primary customer and discuss issues amongst themselves and with content creators. Hollywood studios will bring out the big guns with every major studio doing big presentations all week. Stars and executives will be on hand to debut new extended footage, hopefully announce some new projects and more. kicked the festivities off with the first official panel for the week. It was a fun interactive discussion about films and what makes critics tick. The audience was given paddles with Fresh/Rotten on them where you can provide instant feedback on whatever the panelist was saying. Everyone was able to argue with their favorite critics about various films. Of course I couldn’t help myself and jumped up there with my controversial opinion on Gravity.


The audience and the panel turned on me, but I held firm to the opinion that Gravity was, at best, mediocre. The panel included Christy Lemire, former Film Critic for the Associated Press, Leonard Maltin, Host, Maltin on Movies, Scott Mantz, Film Critic & Producer, “Access Hollywood” and Claudia Puig, Film Critic, “USA Today.”


Paramount Pictures had a strange presentation that seemed more focused on the past than the present or future. It was a little off-putting as the evening started with a teaser from Anchorman 2, followed by Mitch Neuhauser, Managing Director of Cinemacon, dropping from the ceiling in a full Ron Burgandy costume.  You have to give the guy props for going all the way with the joke.

After several rounds of opening remarks, Rob Moore, Vice Chairman of Paramount Pictures, came out to introduce Paramount’s 2014 slate of films. The initial sizzle real was very strangely put together as 90 percent of it featured footage from Paramount’s history, with the last 30 seconds or so showing new footage from Transformers, Hercules, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and there was a surprise glimpse of Christopher Nolan’s upcoming project Interstellar They disguised the lack of substance by having the big guns come out.



Dwayne Johnson came in through the audience, all smiles and beefcake.  He talked a bit about what it was like filming Hercules in Budapest and his 8 month long social media campaign where he went into depth about his workouts, his makeup, costumes and more, all without revealing his full face.  The 2-minute trailer was really well done. We see lots of profile shots with his hair covering him up, back shots, arm shots, but not his face until the last 10 or 20 seconds.

I have some concerns about the film as, the genre hasn’t done that well this year and it has obvious visual cues from 300, only it looks like they are using a lot more practical effects and not going for as much CGI. It looks like they are going with a more grounded approach to the story, but it’s hard to say with the footage shown. Hercules opens in July. Stars Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane and is directed by Brett Ratner.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Will Arnett then came out on a Segway to introduce Michael Bay’s controversial new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He takes liberties with their origin story; it looks like instead of being created by accident, the  Turtles are created to save a city that’s being overrun by Criminals. Other than the fractured origin, fans of the franchise should be very happy with what Bay has done. The lookband feel seems like a more technically proficient version of the old films. The CGI Turtles look exactly how they should, although weirdly taller than I’d have liked. They tower over Megan Fox and are a lot beefier than they should be. Stars Megan Fox, , . Directed by Jonathan Liebesman. Opens August 8, 2014.

 Transformers 4


After Turtles, Mark Wahlberg came out and talked about how he was going to beat his friend Dwayne Johnson and become the biggest star of 2014. He talked a bit about working on Pain and Gain with Bay and how he was asked to be in Transformers.  Wahlberg looked buff, but not as much as he did last year. He joked about being smaller than Dwayne. He then went on to introduce his co-stars Nicola Peltz, and Jack Reynor.  We were treated to 12-minutes worth of footage. This is where I tell you, I’m not a big fan of this franchise and after three films I still have no clue whom these robots are.


As far as I can tell it looks like Optimus Prime is biting the big one here. He’s losing badly in a fight when a spaceship comes down and another Robot shoots a big rocket at him. The footage shows lots and lots of good sploshins, robot on robot carnage, there’s even a big Dinobot/Bumblebee (I think) fight.

Not sure what the story is, it seemed like a mess. Wahlberg is a down on his luck mechanic who finds one of the last remaining Autobots and repairs him. This triggers a chain of events that lead some shadowy Govt organization, lead by Titus Welliver, to their house. It looks like this agency has created or somehow controls a group of Autobots.

Then you have the space robots – I’m assuming the Decepticons invading the earth with Wahlberg and is daughter (Peltz) and her boyfriend (Reynor) stuck in the middle – complete with fisticuffs between Welliver’s character and Wahlberg. There was a lot of stuff in this footage that fans of the series would go crazy over.  There was a hysterically funny, typical Bay moment where Wahlberg loses his daughter to some space robots and he bangs his fist on the ground screaming NOOOOOOO in full on slow motion. Starring Mark Wahlberg, , and Directed by Michael Bay. Transformers is coming June 27, 2014.