Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was the stand-out title from the STX presentation, emerging as a potential gem for the upstart distributor. The film’s lush sci-fi visuals recall director Luc Besson’s modern cult classic The Fifth Element. The film looks great in 3D, using the format as a platform to showcase impressive special effects. Valerian is a passion project for Besson, who has been a fan of the comic strip since he was a kid. “I was 10 years old,” Besson shared with the CinemaCon crowd, recounting how long he’s wanted to tackle the project, “I’m pretty stubborn.”
He finally decided the time was right for a big screen adaptation after seeing James Cameron’s Avatar, realizing that cinema technology was ready for such an ambitious project, “There’s two human characters and, like, one thousand aliens,” remarked the French director.
STX also previewed footage from Renegades, another release from its relationship with Luc Besson’s Europacorp. Besson has built a reputation throughout his career in delivering what STX chairman Adam Fogelson calls “the underserved mid-budget action genre,” and this latest title promises to continue that trend.
Among other titles previewed at the presentation was The Circle, a tech thriller for the internet age starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, drew positive reactions from the crowd at the Caesars Palace Colosseum. There was also Molly’s Game, pairing Aaron Sorkin with Jessica Chastain and based on the true story of the woman who ran one of the most notorious underground high-stake poker games in the country.
Hitting a darker tone, The Foreigner, is a departure for Jackie Chan’s usual tongue-in-cheek rock-em-sock-em fare in what promises to be a dark action thriller co-starring Pierce Brosnan.
STX’s initial foray into the animation genre, Ugly Dolls, will hit screens on May 10, 2019, with Robert Rodriguez joining the film as it continues pre-production. The company shared its long-term plan to develop a pipeline of animated titles.
And then there’s Mile 22. “Mark and I have made three films that are pretty heavy, to put it mildly,” shared director Peter Berg as he took the stage with Mark Wahlberg to talk about their latest collaboration. This film won’t have any ties to true-life events, a factor Berg considers to be liberating in the latest collaboration between the duo. “We’re planning it to be a trilogy,” revealed Wahlberg, citing that he believes this will be the role he will be remembered for. “I’m really hoping this is going to be the first thing people think of when they think Mark Wahlberg.”
The presentation came to a close with an appearance by Mila Kunis, who spoke about the upcoming Bad Moms Christmas, set to hit theaters this holiday season.
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