Highlights from Warner Bros. CinemaCon: Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, DC Comics and more
Celebrating its 100th anniversary, Warner Bros. unveiled a full lineup of new movies on the big screen at CinemaCon on Tuesday, from live-action Barbie comedy about Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg’s remake of The Color Purple. The historic Hollywood studio also used its presentation at the annual Las Vegas gathering to tease a “10-year plan” to revive its DC superhero films, which include beloved characters such as Batman and Superman. .
David Zaslav, who spearheaded the merger of Warner and Discovery last year, took the stage personally to woo an audience of mostly theater owners. “We don’t want to do straight-to-stream movies,” said Zaslav, whose predecessor has been criticized for streaming Warner movies directly to his HBO Max streaming platform – recently rebranded as Max. “We’re in no rush to get the movies to Max.”
During a two and a half hour presentation, Zaslav and other Warner bosses brought out top stars including Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya. Robbie and Gosling co-star in Barbiereleased July 21, which finds the ubiquitous blonde doll living in a dreamlike, rose-hued world, before one day beginning to question her too-perfect reality and journey into real-life Los Angeles.
“Everyone knows Barbie, and she’s never been on the big screen before,” said director Greta Gerwig, who drew inspiration from The Wizard of Oz as well as disco music culture. “They did life-size Barbie houses…everything was amazing.”
Gosling said making the film was “like a fever dream”, explaining, “I was living my life, and then one day I was bleaching my hair, shaving my legs, wearing custom-made neon outfits and going roller-skating. wheels lined up on Venice Beach.”
Oprah Winfrey took the stage to present her new version of Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple, which will be released on Christmas Day. The film is based on the Broadway musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel about black women enduring trauma, sexual abuse and racism in the rural Deep South in the early 20th century.
“The reason it’s not your mom’s purple color — but your mom’s really going to love it — is because the musical factor is so dynamic and the magical realism is so honed here,” Winfrey said. . Winfrey starred in the previous 1985 film, earning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination, and is a producer on the new version.
Chalamet presented images from two new films in which he stars. He appears in Wonka, slated for release in December, stars a youthful and idealistic version of Roald Dahl’s famed chocolatier, whose efforts to launch a magical candy empire are blocked by a sinister “chocolate cartel.” Chalamet described the “bizarre” process of filming the origin story – which involved “a lot of swimming in pools of real chocolate”.
He’s also returning for Dune: Part Two, the second and final part of Denis Villeneuve’s Oscar-winning adaptation of Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi novel, due out in November. Austin Butler, Léa Seydoux, Christopher Walken and Florence Pugh join the cast for a sequel Villeneuve describes as an “epic, action-packed war movie.”
The presentation was complemented by the DC universe of Warner’s superhero movies. DC’s films, while popular, have recently suffered from various production issues and casting turnovers, and have been largely overshadowed by rival and record-breaking Marvel films. James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Peter Safran (Aquaman) have recently been appointed new division heads.
This year, the studio will release the flash, blue beetleand Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Although these films were made under Warner’s previous regime, Gunn said they “will drive perfectly into the DCU slate that we have coming from 2024.”
Superman: Legacy, directed by Gunn, is already slated for July 2025. Safran said future DC movies will be “broad, interconnected, and filled with promise and possibility,” and promised he and Gunn “step into” the “first chapter” of the universe. .’
Zaslav, a self-proclaimed “DC lover”, told the audience that Warner had a new “10-year plan” for the titles.
CinemaCon, which runs through Thursday at Caesars Palace, offers Hollywood studios the chance to showcase their upcoming movies to movie bosses, while bringing out the industry’s biggest stars to generate excitement.
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