CinemaCon 2021: Universal, Focus, and Neon Preview Coming Tentpoles and Award Contenders

Photo by Daniel Loria

In today’s episode of The Boxoffice Podcast’s Daily CinemaCon Edition, co-hosts Daniel Loria and Rebecca Pahle cover the third day of CinemaCon 2021, including slate presentations from Universal, Focus Features, and Neon. The day’s studio presentations offered a glimpse of the diverse series of titles coming to theaters in the months ahead: from tentpole releases to specialty award contenders.

Today’s episode concludes with an exclusive recording from Monday’s global executive roundtable featuring Mooky Greiding, CEO of Cineworld; Alejandro Ramirez Magaña, CEO of Cinépolis; Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President of Distribution at Universal Pictures International; and Mark Viane, President of International Theatrical Distribution at Paramount Pictures. 

Listen to a full recap of the day’s events by subscribing on any major platform or visiting

Universal’s presentation opened with Jim Orr, the studio’s president of domestic distribution, taking the stage and expressing his support for a revival of the cinema industry. Orr emphasized Universal’s current efforts in producing more original titles: only three of the nine films from its CinemaCon slate were part of an existing franchise. His counterpart in international distribution, Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, also joined the event in person to introduce a series of video messages from stars promoting their upcoming releases.

New footage from Universal presentation included clips from animated title Sing 2, horror sequel Halloween Kills, the thriller The Black Phone from producer Jason Blum, female-driven global spy flick The 355, the romantic comedy Marry Me starring Jennifer Lopez, the broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen, the Michael Bay heist flick Ambulance, and the upcoming animated movie The Bad Guys. Universal closed its presentation with preview clips from stars involved in Jurassic World: Dominion, which will bring together cast members from the original Jurassic Park films with those appearing in the current Jurassic World titles.

On the specialty side, Focus Features head of distribution Lisa Bunnell came on stage in person to deliver her portion of the presentation. Bunnell introduced clips with video appearances from filmmakers showcasing upcoming Focus titles. Edgar Wright unveiled footage from Last Night in Soho, stressing in his remarks that he was personally involved in securing a fall theatrical release date for the film. Kenneth Branagh introduced footage from his upcoming film, Belfast, and Robert Eggers unveiled early footage from The Northman, the period viking drama that is still in production. The Focus presentation closed with footage from the new Downton Abbey film, Downton Abbey: A New Era, scheduled for release in March 2022.

During the day’s breakfast presentation, fellow specialty distributor Neon showcased a trio of award contenders in its 2021 slate. The presentation included trailers from Palm d’Or winner Titane, the animated Sundance award winner Flee, and an early, exclusive look at a scene from Pablo Larrain’s Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana.

Photo by Daniel Loria

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