Another CinemaCon is in the books and, as usual, the major film studios brought out some of the best releases they have to offer through the rest of 2016 and beyond. The annual meeting of the exhibition industry has become a reliable way to learn which films could have an impact at the box office.
By the end of this year’s convention, we came away very encouraged by a number of films from every studio and their potential to help deliver another big year. It’s still questionable whether 2015’s record $11.1 billion domestic gross can be topped, but if enough of these films succeed critically and commercially—with a few unexpected hits along the way—we can’t rule out 2016’s chances to come close.
Here’s our breakdown of highlights from Warner Bros.’s CinemaCon 2016 presentation:
The Bad Guys
Warner Bros. launched with the full Suicide Squad cast onstage to present the latest trailer for the DC film, slated for an August release. The film continues to build buzz months out from release, and we think the excitement is spreading beyond fans to more casual viewers. As a comic book adaptation that’s not quite like anything we’ve seen before, it looks well primed to become a big box office hit for WB and DC. If the momentum continues and reviews turn out strong come August, the impact could resemble the breakout successes of Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Conjuring 2’s new trailer debuted for CinemaCon attendees, and director/horror master James Wan looks to have assembled another winner for the genre. It’s tough to say whether the sequel can match the long-run box office haul of 2013’s original, but we’re expecting a big opening weekend this June.
Just for Laughs
Another potential early summer standout on WB’s slate is Central Intelligence, a comedy starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. That duo is one of the smartest pairings imaginable right now, as each one possesses a sizable and demographically diverse fan base. If the film delivers on the trailers’ promises, look for this to play well all summer long.
Writer-director Shane Black’s The Nice Guys also made an impression—a 1970s-set dark comedy with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe that generated big laughs among those in attendance. It has definite sleeper-hit potential as a mid-May release, an R-rated alternative to summer’s tentpoles.
Todd Phillips’s War Dogs trailer was another big winner that drew hearty laughs from the CinemaCon crowd. The Hangover director has put together Jonah Hill and Miles Teller in a based-on-a-true-story flick we think will have a healthy run later in the summer.
Back to Hogwarts?
The first trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screened to a generally positive reception. It wouldn’t be fair to expect this prequel/spin-off to equal the performance of others in the Harry Potter franchise, but if it’s a strong film it should be high on the list of family-movie choices this holiday season.
Other notable titles included the romantic drama adaptation Me Before You and horror flick Lights Out. The former could be a strong date-night option this summer, while the latter boasts sleeper-hit potential with its late July release.
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