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Big-screen hopes set on upcoming action films

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CinemaCon – which typically sees Hollywood studios bring glitzy stars and never-before-seen footage to a Las Vegas casino to woo theatre bosses – did not take place at all last year as the pandemic shuttered cinemas around the world.

But with nearly 90 percent of domestic theatres now back open, Sony Pictures used its opening night presentation slot at Caesars Palace to set the tone for a returning event that is determined to prove the future of the big screen. Studio bosses showed a new trailer for its much-anticipated “Spider-Man: No Way Home” superhero sequel, before previewing “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” – a heavily nostalgic follow-up to the 1984 supernatural comedy classic – in full to a rapturous crowd.

“Over the last 19 months, there’s been a lot of doom and gloom,” said Josh Greenstein, president of Sony’s motion pictures division.

“But we know movie theatres, and the theatrical movie experience, will triumph,” he added.

The presentation also squeezed in brief footage of “Bullet Train” starring Brad Pitt, and future superhero fare including a sequel to “Venom,” and “Morbius.”

Clips from Denzel Washington’s “A Journal for Jordan” and a movie adaptation of the bestselling novel “Where the Crawdads Sing” produced by Reese Witherspoon were also shown before a longer “Spider-Man” trailer teased how the film will tie in with other popular Marvel characters including Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Doctor Strange.”

Attendees then settled in for “Ghostbusters: After Life,” introduced by its director Jason Reitman and his father Ivan, who directed the original.

Plot details are under strict embargo, but the film, set almost four decades after the first movie, finds young descendants of the original’s wise-cracking ghoul hunters picking up the mantle – and vacuum backpack.

‘Not too bright’ – CinemaCon is taking place despite fears about the Delta variant that have caused some pandemic restrictions to be reimposed on Hollywood in California, and glitzy A-listers have largely stayed away from the Las Vegas event.Organizers have forged ahead with Covid protocols in place, including proof of vaccination or a recent negative test for attendees. While Disney is largely absent, other traditional major Hollywood studios showing their wares this week include Warner, Universal and Paramount.


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