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 Fox’s CinemaCon 2016’s presentation:
Fox took the stage with a long reel of its upcoming releases—many of which should deliver the studio another strong year. First up on the schedule, new footage from X-Men: Apocalypse received great reactions and supported our continued expectations for another box office winner in the franchise. Director Bryan Singer is back following his celebrated return to the series with 2014’s Days of Future Past—which became a huge crowd-pleaser and the best reviewed film of the franchise. Apocalypse is said to be the conclusion of a trilogy within the series, begun by First Class and continued with DOFP. It’ll be tough following Captain America: Civil War’s storming of the box office, but the great marketing, popcorn-friendly action sequences, and renewed goodwill of the X-Men movies should help Apocalypse enjoy another strong box office run.
Fireworks on the Fourth
A brand new trailer for Independence Day: Resurgence made its debut at CinemaCon. While we’re still somewhat conservative in our long-run expectations, the crowd’s response was generally favorable. A healthy opening box office is expected come late June as the twenty-years-in-the-making sequel looks to ride the current wave of nostalgia-boosted franchise follow-ups.
Fox Searchlight’s The Birth of a Nation was a major player at CinemaCon, not only showcasing its full trailer but seeing writer-director-star Nate Parker receive the convention’s Breakthrough Director of the Year award. Its early October release positions it for both box office and awards-season success. While similar films like 12 Years a Slave didn’t quite become major box office performers, this one seems to have more of a wide commercial appeal. We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on it as release approaches.
Closing things out in a fairly big way, Fox saved a couple of announcements just for CinemaCon—the first being that not only is a Deadpool sequel officially in the works, but that the first film’s entire creative team will be returning for it.
The big climax, however, was marked by James Cameron taking the stage, to everyone’s surprise. Cameron spoke passionately about his firm support of the exhibition industry and his commitment to maintaining a viable theatrical release window. Then came the big reveal, as he closed out the presentation with the announcement that his planned Avatar sequels will number four instead of the previously confirmed three. He continues to promise a massive expansion of the franchise’s universe—literally, by partnering with Disney for a new Avatar theme park in Orlando; and figuratively, by incorporating new characters, themes, and settings into future sequels—which he hopes will follow in the blockbuster footsteps of the original 2009 film. The release dates for the four sequels are currently set for Christmas 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2023.
Other notable features included positive reactions to Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates, the latest Ice Age: Collision Course trailer, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Lastly among footage unveilings, the first teaser for Assassin’s Creed debuted to generally positive reactions. Stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard lead the video game adaptation, which is set for a Christmas release this year as it hopes to mark a turnaround in the generally disappointing history of video-game-to-film adaptations.