CinemaCon: Paramount Presentation Recap

Check out the Paramount presentation at CinemaCon that revealed details for Baywatch, Transformers: The Last Knight, Annihilation, Suburbicon, Downsizing and more.

CinemaCon is a standalone movie theater industry trade show or exposition established by The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO).  Each year it stands as one of the biggest showcases for the various film studios to release details, trailers, footage, etc. for many of their high-profile films due out that year.  Below check out the presentation from Paramount that included such movies as Baywatch, Transformers: The Last Knight, Annihilation, Suburbicon, Downsizing and more, courtesy of Coming Soon.  I was not able to attend CinemaCon this year, but that remains a bucket list item for future years.  Additional coverage of CinemaCon can be found at the following links:

Sony Pictures’ CinemaCon Presentation Recap

Disney Studios CinemaCon Presentation Recap

Spider-Man: Homecoming CinemaCon Trailer

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets CinemaCon Trailer

The Paramount CinemaCon presentation opened with a clip from last year’s NATO event wherein the Baywatch cast promised that they would return in 2017. Although Ilfenesh Hadera wasn’t able to attend, the rest of the cast came out on stage, including Dwayne JohnsonKelly RohrbachJon BassAlexandra Daddario and Zac Efron. Touting “the finest collection of superstar lifeguards walking God’s green Earth,” Johnson introduced what was jokingly labeled a “fuchsia band” trailer (according to the card, that’s a FU rating, standing for “F—ing Unbelievable” due to the film offering “pervasive hotness, comedy and action. May cause pissing in pants due to excessive laughter.”

You can read on for a breakdown of the Paramount CinemaCon presentation’s major footage showcases, including films like Annihilation,  Downsizing, Transformers: The Last Knight. Also be sure to check out our FB Live reaction video in the player at the bottom of this page.

Adapted from the novel by Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation marks the latest from Alex Garland, the writer and director behind Ex Machina. This one reteams Garland with Oscar Isaac, who stars alongside Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The Paramount CinemaCon presentation offered a lengthy look at the undated release.

Set against Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Helplessly Hoping,” the footage begins in a suburban house where Natalie Portman’s character is trying to control her emotions. She’s holding a locket with Isaac’s character’s face in it. She’s trying not to cry. She moves to bedroom and covers a bed with a plastic sheet. She begins to paint the walls.

“Helplessly Hoping” continues as we see Isaac, standing at the bottom of the stairs. He comes up the stairs and enters the room. Portman’s mouth drops. She can’t believe it. She rushes to him, sobbing. He makes no expression, though, even as she tries to kiss him.

Downstairs, she has given him a glass of water and she now sits across from him at the table.

“No one knew anything about your unit,” she tells him. “I contacted everyone I could. Was it a cover up?”

“Maybe,” he says.

“What does that mean, maybe?”

“Yeah,” he deadpans. “It was a cover-up. Yeah.”

“Pakistan, maybe?”

“I don’t know where it was,” he says. “Or what it was.”

“How is that possible?!” she says, growing irate. “You must be able to tell me something. You vanish off the face of the Earth for 12 months. I want an explanation.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he says, punctuated by a long pause.

She takes his hand.

“How did you get home?” she asks.

“I was outside,” he says.

“Outside the house?”

“No,” he says. “Outside the room. The room with the bed. The door was open and I saw you. I recognized you. Your face.”

He takes a drink of the water.

“I don’t feel very well,” he says.

There’s blood in the glass.

An ambulance races to the hospital, but police pull up alongside, running the ambulance off the road. They swarm, removing Portman’s characters and the doctors from the back.

“Let him go!” she screams.

Later, we find her sitting across from Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character at a desk.

“It started around three years ago,” Leigh tells Portman, “Something deemed a shimmer. A religious event. An extraterrestrial event? We have many theories, but few facts.”

Lots of things have gone into the shimmer, but nothing has come back. Until now, it seems.

From there, the footage took on more of a trailer quality, revealing Portman and Leigh navigating a fantastic world with quick shots of tree-like people (or, perhaps, people-like trees) as well as an alligator-esque creature.

The Paramount CinemaCon presentation then saw George Clooney and Matt Damon taking the stage to promote the upcoming Suburbicon. Scripted by Joel and Ethan Coen, the noiresque comedy also stars Julianne Moore.

“We’ve knocked over a few casinos here, haven’t we?” Clooney said as he took the stage, joking about this week’s actual attempted casino heist.

“They used guns and masks,” says Clooney.

“Yeah,” says Damon. “All we needed was Brad Pitt.”

“Amateurs,” Clooney scoffs.

Clooney also made fun of his turn as the Dark Knight in 1997’s Batman & Robin.

“I wore the suit with rubber nipples and I still have a career,” he says. “I am a super hero!”

The Suburbicon trailer offered a first look at the film, which definitely looks like something that the Coen brothers might very well have helmed themselves. Damon stars as a suburban man who kills his wife for the insurance money, while Oscar Isaac plays a suspicious insurance adjuster investigating the claim.

Although it hasn’t started filming quite yet, the Paramount CinemaCon presentation devoted a quick moment to the upcoming sixth Mission: Impossible film, confirming the return of stars Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin and Sean Harris alongside newcomers Vanessa Kirby, Sian Brooke and Henry Cavill. Noticeably absent from that list of names is Jeremy Renner, who appeared in the last two films.

Production on Mission: Impossible 6 begins on April 8 with production set to take place in London, India, Paris and New Zealand. What’s more, filming will be done in IMAX 3D. Look for it to hit the big screen July 27, 2018.

Downsizing, a new sci-fi satire from Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, Nebraska), was next in the Paramount CinemaCon presentation. Payne joined star Matt Damon to introduce a “bite size morsel” of the film, totaling about ten minutes of footage. The film stars Damon as a man who, alongside his wife (Kristen Wiig) decides to be voluntarily reduced to the size of an action figure to go live in a special community called LeisureLand. There, miniaturized citizens can live extravagant lifestyles turning a small amount of wealth into relative millions.

The footage opened with a crowd gathered around a stage, facing a dollhouse-scale mansion. From out of the mansion’s front door exits a miniaturized man in a polo shirt (Neil Patrick Harris). He’s being filmed by a miniature cameraman with the footage being screened live on stage for the benefit of the full scale audience. As though he’s selling a timeshare, the tiny man begins to extoll the virtues of LeisureLand. The house itself actually winds up splitting in two to reveal the man’s tiny wife (Laura Dern) taking a bubble bath. It’s clearly all for show, though, as the couple rehearse a scene wherein he scolds her for buying diamond jewelry, demanding to know how much she spent.

“$83,” she finally admits.

“$83?!” says NPH with mock discord. “That’s our food budget for two whole months!”

The scene moves to a desk where a woman is running Damon and Wiig through various post-miniaturization opportunities and helping them to break down their investment portfolio with regard to what it will amount to given their new size. Their $150,000 will mean millions in LeisureLand.

Damon and Wiig are sitting in a waiting room, waiting to be called for the procedure. He’s a little surprised when only his name is called, but they assure him that both he and his wife will go through the process separately and will be reunited in a matter of hours.

Damon is taken to a room with lots of other men undergoing the procedure. Their heads are shaved entirely. Then their eyebrows. Damon is given an IV and he goes unconscious. After that, clothes are removed from the patients and their full bodies are shaved. In a dental section, fillings are removed from the men’s teeth. Then, roughly 20 at a time, are wheeled into a room with machine that looks like a massive microwave. A door is closed as a room of naked men on gurneys are subjected to the machine. In moments, they are reduced to tiny versions of themselves. Nurses enter the room, armed with specially-designed spatulas that lift the tiny men from the full size gurneys to miniature versions. Those gurneys are then pushed to a sort of dumb wait that connects with the miniature world. There’s even a brief dialogue between one of the full-sized nurses and one of the tiny guys working on the other side.

Now in LeisureLand, fillings are restored to teeth. Damon wakes up, rubbing his jaw, a bit disoriented. A nurse enters and cheerfully greets him. She says that he must be hungry and exits, returning seconds later with a giant (regular sized) saltine cracker. She can’t keep a straight face, though, and starts chuckling.

“Isn’t that cute?” she laughs. “People just love that. I’ll bring you a real snack in a moment.”

Look for Downsizing to hit theaters on December 22.

The Paramount CinemaCon presentation ended with an extended look at Michael Bay’s Transformers: The Last Knight, the fifth entry in the big screen franchise.

“I keep saying this is my last one and I’m going out with a bang,” Bay said in a behind-the-scenes look at Last Knight. “This is a big scale movie.”

The first film to shoot native IMAX 3D (and the only summer movie shot in native 3D), The Last Knight brought to stage Bay alongside stars Mark WahlbergLaura Haddock, Jerrod Carmichael, Isabela Moner, Sir Anthony Hopkins and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura.

“This is not a number five,” said Bay “This feels like a brand new, fresh look into ‘Transformers.’”

Promising (per Bay) “two distinct mythologies,” The Last Knight is the result of the Transformers writers room that Bay had started two years ago.

Hopkins told an amusing anecdote about working with the “very American” Bay, recalling one scene that blows up Stonehenge. A fake Stonehenge was constructed nearby and Bay liked it so much he told Hopkins, “Ours is so much better than theirs.”

“Only an American would say that,” smiled Hopkins.

From there, nearly 20 minutes of footage began that jumped from scene to scene throughout The Last Knight. Beginning with the Paramount Pictures logo, the frame actually turns around, revealing a medieval battlefield. King Arthur and his men are being overtaken by some kind of viking horde.

“Where in the Hell is your so called magician?” one knight asks.

“He’s more than that,” says Arthur. “Much more.”

The camera pans across rolling green hills. A three-headed Transformers dragon flies through the air.

“These are hard times,” says Hopkins’ voice. “Optimus Prime has left us, some say never to return.”

Some kids are exploring a destroyed baseball field littered with post-battle debris. We see (but the kids don’t) the new Autobot, Sqweeks, hiding out in the rubble. By now, the kids have climbed on top of a crashed ship and can see a Transformer inside. Suddenly, though, a robot (reminiscent in design of RoboCop‘s ED-209) tells the children that they are trespassing as laser targets are aimed.

Enter Moner’s Izabela, a tough 14-year-old girl whose parents were killed in a Transformers related incident.  She tries to rescue the kids, but Sqweeks gets hit by a stray shot and, injured, is no longer able to transform. Izabela has been living on her own with Sqweeks with another Autobot, Canopy. Canopy serves as Izabela’s actual canopy, transforming into a massive covering that she lives beneath.

“Who is he?” asks one of the kids when he sees Canopy.

“As far as you’re concerned,” she sneers, “He’s my boyfriend.”

“How long has that been going on?” the kid sighs.

Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager ends up entering the scene with a giant gun and grenades. He attacks a resurgent patrol robot, but the army shows up and arrests him, demanding to know details on the whereabouts of the Transformers.

Jumping ahead, we see Cade with the kids trying to hide in a church as drones attack. There’s a jump as another scene is outside and has Cade falling off the back of a drone. It flies off, but Cade is approached by Cogman, a mechanical man with a British accent that looks a lot like C-3PO’s Phantom Menace design.

Another jump sees Anthony Hopkins’ Sir Edmund Burton walking a dog outside a castle. There’s a WWI tank there, which reveals itself to be an Autobot as Cade, Cogman and Canopy approach. Burton tries to tell Cade that the tank Transformer has “robot dementia,” but Cade thinks it is the old man who has something wrong in his head.

“What a bitching car she is!” says Burton as a vehicle races in from the distance. As it approaches, it transforms and ejects it’s rider, Haddock’s Vivian Wembley.

Inside, Cade and Vivian aren’t getting along. He accuses her of being stuck up and wearing a “stripper dress.”

“If my dress makes you uncomfortable,” she glares, “I could take it off.”

Burton takes both of them to a secret area where he has the actual roundtable of Arthurian legend. He explains that there were 12 knights and also 12 Transformers. There’s also some of a prophecy that calls for a chosen one to help save the world. Cade realizes that the amulet he has matches the table.

We see Optimus Prime waking up.

“My maker,” he says. “My doom.”

From there, the footage turned into more of a trailer, offering a new shot Josh Duhamel. We also see Cade and Vivian in a submarine and Cade trying to convince someone that something very wrong is going on.

“Something happened!” he shouts. “That’s not Optimus!”

Transformers; The Last Knight hits theaters June 23.

Stay tuned for more from CinemaCon throughout the week.


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