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Surprise Guests, And A Surprise Player, Dominate Day 1 At CineEurope

Deadline logo Deadline 6/20/2017 Nancy Tartaglione
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Ryan Gosling, Christopher Nolan, Luc Besson, Tom Holland, Jack Black and Nick Jonas were among those that hit the stage today for the kickoff of CineEurope, the European exhibition convention here in Barcelona. Others, such as Dwayne Johnson, Hugh Grant, Nick Park and JK Rowling, appeared via video message to promote upcoming projects. The studios presenting today included Studiocanal, Sony and Warner Bros.

Meanwhile, as a sign of the changing times, Amazon has its first presence here at CineEurope. While the streaming giant has previously taken the stage at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, this is the first time it’s spending time in Barcelona, taking meetings with European exhibitors to show its support for international releases (think pics like Cannes title Wonderstruck). The company is not doing a full-on presentation here and doesn’t release directly in Europe, but may have a bigger footprint at this event in the future.

On the main stage this afternoon, Besson personally got things going by showing exclusive 3D footage of his Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets. He introduced four scenes of the Dane DeHaan/Cara Delevigne-starrer which begins its  international rollout on July 20. (STX has U.S. distribution.) The world-creation film is written, directed and produced by Besson, and at a $180 million-plus budget, it’s reputed to be Europe’s biggest indie ever. Besson last traveled to CineEurope with images from Lucy, his 2014 movie that ended up grossing $463M+ worldwide.

The first full slate presentation of the day belonged to Studiocanal in only its fourth year here to mix with the Hollywood biggies. Among the pics it highlighted were the in-production Guernsey from director Mike Newell; Jaume Collet-Serra’s Liam Neeson action thriller The Commuter with an exclusive clip; Madame starring Pedro Almodovar regular Rossy DePalma along with Toni Collette and Harvey Keitel; and a trailer of French comedy Marry Me, Dude from the folks behind Alibi.com which grossed $25M in France this year.

There was also focus placed on Studiocanal’s family films, an area in which it has recently excelled. Nick Park, directing his first feature since 2005’s The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit, sent a message from the set of Early Man. Four clips of the in-production prehistoric tale were then shown. Studiocanal releases in the UK on January 26 with Lionsgate handling domestic beginning February 16.

The big finish for Studiocanal was an extended look at the David Heyman-produced Paddington 2. The first film made $268M worldwide to become the biggest independent family movie ever, and this one retains the core cast while adding Brendan Gleeson and Hugh Grant. Grant sent a video message to introduce the footage.

Next it was on to Sony with the studio’s President of Marketing and Distribution, Josh Greenstein, introducing an extended look at its Christmas release Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. He had some help from co-stars Black and Jonas, who were here in town (Black bounding in song from stage left).

Sony’s Steve O’Dell also introduced The Emoji Movie which the studio had touted at Cannes last month via a waterfront stunt involving TJ Miller. Further, Sony unspooled a Hotel Transylvania short involving a new beast. The next Hotel Transylvania movie, part of a franchise that has done well for the studio, is due in 2018.

Also during the Sony presentation, Studio 8 chief Jeff Robinov coming out to talk up movies from his slate including Ice Age survival tale Alpha from Albert Hughes, and Matthew McConaughey-starrer White Boy Rick. The Hughes movie, previously titled Solutrean,  just had its U.S. release date pushed back to March 2, 2018, from its previously set September 2017 bow.

Other upcoming Sony films like Edgar Wright’s SXSW Audience Award winner Baby Driver, and horror titles Insidious 3, Flatliners and Cadaver, also screened footage.

Spider-Man: Homecoming helmer Jon Watts and star Tom Holland were also on hand to introduce extended footage of the latest spin on the Marvel superhero which begins international rollout July 5.

Watts had earlier in the day been on a panel here, so perhaps the biggest reveal of Sony’s presentation was the appearance of Blade Runner 2049 star Gosling and director Denis Villeneuve turning up onstage at the conference center. They were joined by co-stars Ana de Armas and Silvia Hoeks. The quartet introduced a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the extension of the iconic Ridley Scott sci-fi pic. Offshore release is slated to begin October 4, although I have a sense this one will end up at the fall festivals. (Venice, anyone?)

Rounding out the day was Warner Bros. Hot off the success of Wonder Woman, the studio showed a Justice League trailer and an Aquaman reel among its varied offerings. But, before that, it turned to master filmmaker Nolan, who came onstage to introduce footage of his WWII epic action thriller Dunkirk — and to extol the virtues of making films for the big screen.

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