By Judy Thorburn
Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - Las Vegas Round The Clock
Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - The Flick Chicks
Director of Communications - Nevada Film Alliance
ShoWest 2010 Showcases 3D, Upcoming Movies and Star Power
The annual ShoWest convention convened at Bally's and Paris from March 15 through March 18, 2010. As the largest movie industry trade show in the world, this is where movie executives, distributors, theatre owner/managers, manufacturers of products and services, gather together to share the latest most exciting technologies, discuss ways to preserve their big screen product, enhance the movie going experience, and to honor the films, stars and filmmakers that brought in the big box office bucks. As customary, there was also a trade show floor filled with concession vendors and a daily schedule that includes seminars, sponsored breakfasts, luncheons and dinners, and special trailors and preview screenings of some of the most anticipated films of the year, many of which are expected to be blockbusters.
Mentioned from day one was the fact that although we are going though a recession and hard times, it did not keep people away from movie theatres. Over and over again studio executives emphatically stated that people see going to the movies as a reasonably priced form of escapism that cannot be replicated anywhere else. To prove that point, 2009 had a record setting box-office take of $10.9 billion in North American ticket sales.
Going out to the movies is more fun than ever, especially since the latest advances in technology offers audiences such premium choices as digital cinema, and 3D which immerses the movie goer into the ultimate, entertaining experience. More and more movies are being released in 3D, with it being the growing trend, as 2010 audiences will be delighted to discover.
Tuesday morning, DLP Cinema presented a Salute to the $100 Million Films of 2009. Avatar, which, as of this writing has taken in $2.6 billion in worldwide box office receipts, and is the highest grossing movie of all time, topped the eclectic list of 31 movies that included Paranormal Activity, Sherlock Holmes, District 9, Angels and Demons, Inglorious Basterds, Watchmen, 2010, Taken, The Blind Side, The Hangover, Twilight, Up, Monsters and Aliens,The Princess and the Frog, Its Complicated, Terminator: Salvation and other box office hits.Tuesday night the Cinemark Theatres at the Orleans hosted a "A Night Of Independent Films” with a lineup that consisted of Apparition's "The Square" from Australia, SONY Pictures Classics' Get Low starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek, Focus Features' "The Kids Are All Right" starring Julianna Moore, Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo, Hannover House's Twelve starring Chace Crawford, Emma Roberts and Rory Culkin, Zipline Entertainment's "Racing Dreams" about NASCAR racing, and Roadside Attraction's "The Joneses" starring Demi Moore and David Duchovny. Each film was shown at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. so that attendees had the opportunity to see two of the six films. In between screenings, at 8 p.m. a special reception was held in the theatre lobby where attendees could enjoy a buffet style dinner and mingle with the stars and filmmakers in attendance.
During the following days, there were special ticketed screenings of major studios films such as Disney's/Pixar's Toy Story 3 in 2D (though not yet ready, it will be released in 3D) with returning voices of Tom Hanks,Tim Allen, Letters to Juliet starring ShoWest Breakthrough Actress of the Year Amanda Seyfried, SONY's remake of Karate Kid starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, Lionsgate's Kick Ass, CBS Film's The Back up Plan starring Jennifer Lopez, and Disney's Prince of Persia starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
Young Jaden Smith was on hand prior to the screening of Karate Kid to accept his ShoWest Breakthrough Male Star of the Year Award. He was joined on stage by the film's producer Jerry Weintraub, and his parents, actor Will Smith and actress Jada Pinkett Smith (co-producers of the film), who stood on the sidelines beaming proudly as their adorable son accepted the award saying “I am only 11. Thank you very much.”
Following the Thursday morning screening of The Back Up Plan, there was a luncheon sponsored by CBS Films which included preview clips from three of their upcoming movies for 2011. The star studded event included an appearance by Jennifer Lopez, who was excited about her latest film, the aforementioned romantic comedy, The Back Up Plan. Vanessa Hudgens, Alex Pettyfer, and Neil Patrick Harris took to the stage to help promote their film Beastly, which is a modern day, re-imagined version of Beauty and the Beast and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton helped plug their film, Faster, an action drama which will be released in November.
After the luncheon, Warner Bros. Pictures presented a ticketed event titled “The Big Picture” where exclusive footage from Warner Bros. exciting lineup for 2010 was shown. The films' stars and directors also made surprise appearances. Alan Horn, Pres & CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment introduced the 2010 lineup that includes 5 films in 3D. Never before seen 3D footage from Clash of the Titans (which will be released on April 2) was presented followed by an appearance by its star Sam Worthington and director Louis Leterrier. Also taking the stage were director Christopher Nolan following a clip from his upcoming film Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio; Writer/director Michael Patrick Kelly and three of his four leading ladies (Parker, Davis and Nixon) from the upcoming Sex and the City 2; Zack Snyder, director the family friendly, animated adventure Legends of the Guardians; Director Greg Breganti and his star Katherine Heigl from the romantic comedy Life As We Know It; and Director Todd Phillips and Zack Galifianakis and Robert Downey, Jr. stars of his comedy Due Date.
The final two installments of the Harry Potter franchise are also on the slate for 2010. Although, only rough cut footage was available from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, it was enough to get everyone excited about what's in store, especially since the film will be in 3D.In addition to Jaden Smith, actors and filmmakers honored with awards this year were Male Star of the Year: Sam Worthington, Female Star of the Year: Katherine Heigl (who upon getting up from her seat had a wardrobe malfunction, but joked about it and went with the flow with help from host Billy Bush who held up the strap of her dress as she accepted the award); Breakthrough Actress: Amanda Seyfried, Comedy Star of the Year: Zach Galifianakis, Director of the Year: Todd Phillips, Comedy Director of the Decade: Jay Roach, Ensemble Award: cast of Sex and the City; Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall (who couldn't make it since she was busy starring in a play in London); Female Star of Tomorrow: Vanessa Hudgens; Male Star of Tomorrow: Alex Pettyfer; and Lifetime Achievement Award: Jerry Bruckheimer. Each received their award during the closing night banquet hosted by the aforementioned Billy Bush of Access Hollywood.
As this year's ShoWest came to a close, I was informed it was the last ShoWest convention, as NATO (the National Association of Theatre Owners) has made a transition. Next year, the gathering of industry players will meet at Caesar's Palace for what will be called CinemaCon. While the name might be different, in a manner of speaking, the showest goes on.
SHOWEST PHOTO GALLERY
Photo credits: Stephen Thorburn
Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis
Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis
Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker
Katherine Heigl and Robert Luketic
Michale Lewis and John Landau
Michael Lewis and John Landau
Vanessa Hudgins and Alex Pettyfer
Alice Mathias and Andy Landen
Andy Landen and Alice Mathias