5 Things We Learned at CinemaCon: Fading A-Listers, Killer Comedies, Where Are the Minorities?
5 Things Learned at CinemaCon: Fading A-Listers, Killer Comedies, Where Are the Minorities?
CinemaCon, the annual lovefest between movie theater owners and studios, is always rigidly on message. People love the communal movies and the cinemas will never go away, studio chief after studio chief announces with barely a passing mention of the digital upstarts that are endangering the moviegoing experience.
Between the panegyrics and the sizzle reels, the gaudy box office stats and the celebrity appearances, it's easy to detect an industry in transition. From a lack of ethnic and female faces to the rise of a new crop of A-list actors, here are five things that should be on Hollywood's radar after the exhibition trade show.
1. Hollywood Needs More Women and Minorities Stat
The rise of markets such as Brazil and China in recent years has shown Hollywood that catering to the global box office is critically important to the long-term growth of the industry.
At the same time, films like "The Hunger Games" and "Bridesmaids" have demonstrated that women have exploded the long-held prejudice that they cannot anchor action movies or R-rated comedies.
Judging from the films scheduled to hit theaters this summer, the lesson has been lost on most major studios. With a few exceptions, most notably female buddy cop romp "The Heat," it is largely white men who will be doing the fighting and joke cracking at the multiplex from May through August.
The executive suite and the director's chair also remain the homogenized provenance of white men. Most of the people who took the stage at the various studio presentations shared the same pigment and lacked a second X chromosome. Could that have something to do with the preponderance of movies starring white men, geared towards white men?
Kevin Hart, who emceed Lionsgate's presentation, was quick to crack his jocular whip.
"I want everybody to look around you and notice there are five black people in the room," Hart joked. "They're with me; they're cool. They probably don't have passes cause I snuck 'em in here."
That resistance is bad for business. "Fast & Furious 6" with its cast of Asian, Hispanic and African-American actors generated one of the strongest responses at CinemaCon, while "The Heat" with Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock was greeted with uproarious laughter when it screened in its entirety at the convention.
Introducing Regal Cinemas CEO Amy Miles, National Association of Theatre Owners CEO John Fithian said he wished he could clone her because there were so few women in positions of power in the movie industry. Barring that, it might be a good idea for studios to do more to foster greater diversity in the board room in a way that mirrors the growing diversity in the moviegoing population.
Also Read: TheWrap's Complete CinemaCon Coverage
2. The Old Guard of A-List Actors Is Looking Creaky. The New Guard? Just Fine.
The number of stars who are capable of opening a major blockbuster has diminished in recent years and the few that remain, such as Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt, are now comfortably middle aged. Their wrinkles are starting to show, at least when it comes to launching star-vehicles with broad appeal.