Sony, which was last seen at CinemaCon in 2018, brought the confab back to post(ish)-pandemic life today. Its President of the Motion Picture Group, Josh Greenstein, took center stage and reiterated the Culver City lot’s “commitment to protecting and preserving the theatrical window.” That drew a great roar from the Caesar’s Palace Colosseum crowd.
Despite booking three hours on the conference schedule, Sony kept it short, but came with passionate speeches about the big screen and great surprises. Specifically, the first trailer to their Disney MCU threequal Spider-Man: No Way Home, which was reportedly leaked over the weekend on social and the first preview of their Nov. 11 sequel Ghostbusters: Afterlife . The latter filled the bulk of the studio’s presentation time tonight, with director Jason Reitman and producer (and original 1984 and 1989 feature director) Ivan Reitman appearing.
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Greenstein continued: “Debuting movies simultaneously in theaters and in the home is devastating to our collective business.” He then rolled a quick sizzle reel containing unseen footage from Brad Pitt’s Bullet Train (the bespectacled Oscar winner in a knife fight with Bad Bunny on said speeding train), The Black Label Jonathan Majors’ Korean war pic Devotion, Morbius with Jared Leto and the Reese Witherspoon-produced feature adaptation of the Delia Owens novel Where the Crawdads Sing.
“Our movies will be seen exclusive first in our movie theaters,” said Greenstein. “Movie theaters and the theatrical movie experience will triumph.
“Over the last 19 months there’s been a lot of doom and gloom,” continued Greenstein, “Without dismissing the very real challenges, we at Sony take a long-term view of the movie business.”
Then Sony Boss Tom Rothman made a surprise appearance. He was supposed to be on vacation in Cape Cod, but opted to take a break from it in Las Vegas. The hurricane there also made him change his travel plans and head west.
“I saw Free Guy on Cape Cod,” Rothman told the crowd which included an army of Regal Cinemas’ managers.
“That film has done great business because, number one it’s terrific and number two, you actually can’t watch it at home on television! Go f***ing figure. You remember Bill Clinton and it’s ‘the economy stupid?’ It’s the window stupid! Yeah, we’re not too bright out in Hollywood but we’ll figure it out.”
Rothman told the crowd that “Covid, too, will pass” and that Sony “values theatrically above all media”; that the studio is a home for filmmakers looking to impact the cultural conversation with big-screen fare.
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