2016 was a rebound year for Lionsgate, the studio successfully transitioning from a tentpole-focused strategy to one that pursues relationships with heralded filmmakers while releasing a diverse set of films across a variety of genres. Their presentation at CinemaCon proved the company will remain committed to that approach. Footage from cross-cultural comedy How to be a Latin Lover showed cross-over potential, the film features Mexican stars Eugenio Derbez and Salma Hayek along with familiar Hollywood names like Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, and Michael Cera.
Derbez might not be a household name in the U.S. but he is one of Mexico’s most recognizable comedians today and has already proved he can carry a box office hit in both countries after the runaway success of 2013 Instructions Not Included.
Footage from the long-awaited film on Tupac Shakur, All Eyez On Me, teased what could be another box office hit for Lionsgate. The obvious comparison, of course, is Universal’s N.W.A. hip-hop-biopic Straight Outta Compton, which grossed $161million in 2015. That’s where the similarities between the two films end. The brief preview screened at CinemaCon focused on Tupac’s activism —and it’s shortcomings, especially as he rose to fame.
Michael Keaton’s comeback continues in full-force after presenting footage from American Assassin, a gritty thriller situated in the age of international terrorism. Dylan O’Brien plays a man who loses his partner in a terrorist attack, dedicating himself to getting respect on the group that carried out the attack. Keaton stars opposite as a mentor in the art of brutal, ruthless combat.
Showcasing yet another film with a different tone was footage from
Wonder, featuring Room star Jacob Tremblay. The film is based on the popular novel by R.J. Palacio. Lionsgate expressed high hopes for the family drama, which it referenced as the highest-testing movie in its history.
Salma Hayek returned to the stage to close out the event, introducing the first public screening of The Hitman’s Bodyguard, an action-comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson.
With a range of stars, movies, and genres, it appears as if Lionsgate is aligned with the call of audiences looking for more diversity on the big screen.