This year’s CinemaCon, the world’s largest annual convention for motion picture exhibitors, was a week-long celebration of theatrical release. Studios expressed their gratitude and support for cinemas while unveiling slates of upcoming movies. This year, the mood was markedly different than at the last two CinemaCons, which were wracked by anxiety over a perceived lack of commitment to cinemas by studios. Many were trumpeting an “all-in” streaming strategy.
The major studios previewed their upcoming 2023 slate, with A-list stars and filmmakers appearing in person to promote films such as BARBIE, DUNE 2 and FAST X. Vin Diesel deviated from his pre-planned statements to give thanks “from his heart” to theatre owners for having supported his movies over the years. Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav made a rare appearance to deliver an unalloyed endorsement of theatrical releasing, saying that he believes in “full windowing of the motion pictures. We do not want to do direct-to-streaming movies. We’re in no rush to bring the movie to Max.”
Disney previewed its upcoming Pixar release ELEMENTAL, the 26th animated feature in the famous studio’s history. It will enjoy a traditional, theatrical release and rollout beginning on June 16th. Warner Bros. offered a full screening of THE FLASH, which was warmly received by industry attendees so much so that some were comparing it to last year’s CinemaCon screening of TOP GUN: MAVERICK, which added to the buzz building up to its wildly successful 2022 theatrical campaign.