To celebrate its centenary, Warner Bros unveiled a billboard for the premiere at CinemaCon on Tuesday, which from the long-awaited “Barbie” to the new version of “Purple” Directed by Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg. The historic Hollywood studio also used its presentation at the annual film industry meeting in Las Vegas to show part of its ’10 year plan’ to reboot DC superhero movieswith characters like Batman and Superman.
David Zaslav, architect of the Warner-Discovery merger last year, took to the stage to capture the attention of an audience made up mostly of theater owners. “We don’t want to make films that go straight to streaming platforms.said Zaslav, whose predecessor was criticized for premiering Warner productions on the streaming service HBO Max, now known as Max.
“We’re in no hurry to put films on Max.” During a two and a half hour presentation, Zaslav and Warner representatives brought to the stage stars such as Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya. Robbie and Gosling are filming Barbie, which releases July 21 and follows a famous blonde doll and her daydreaming life in a pink world until she begins to question her ideal reality and decides to travel to Los Angeles to face real life.
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“Everyone knows Barbie and she has never been on the big screen,” said production director Greta Gerwig, inspired by The Wizard of Oz and the disco era. “They built life-sized houses for Barbies… everything was out of the ordinary,” he said. Gosling said that working on this film was “like in a dream”. “I was leading my life, and suddenly one day I was on Venice Beach with blond hair, shaved legs, bright neon outfits and ice skates.”
For her part, Oprah Winfrey took the stage to present her and Steven Spielberg’s version of The Color Purple, scheduled for Christmas. The film is based on a Broadway musical, itself an adaptation of an Alice Walker novel that chronicles the trauma, sexual abuse, and racism that black women faced in the rural Southern United States at the turn of the 20th century.
“The reason it’s not your mom’s Purple, but she’ll love it, is because the musical factor is so dynamic and the magical realism is so polished,” Winfrey said. Winfrey, the producer of the tape, had participated in the previous version in 1985 and then received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
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Timothee Chalamet showed footage of two films in which he starred. The actor appears in Wonka, out in December, as a younger, more idealistic version of famed chocolatier Roald Dahl, whose efforts to build a magical confectionery empire are thwarted by a sinister “chocolate cartel.” Chalamet described the “weird” process of making the film, which involved “a lot of swimming in pools of real chocolate”.
He also returned in Dune: Part Two, the final installment of the Oscar-winning film adaptation of Frank Herbert Denis Villeneuve’s science fiction novel, slated for release in November. Austin Butler, Léa Seydoux, Christopher Walken and Florence Pugh are part of the cast for the sequel, which Villeneuve called “an action-packed war epic.”
The presentation also included future editions of Warner’s DC Universe. DC films, despite their popularity, have recently been plagued by production issues and cast changes, and have been largely overshadowed by the box office record of competing Marvel productions.
James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy director) and Peter Safran (Aquaman co-producer) were recently appointed as the new unit leaders. The studio will release The Flash, Blue Beetle, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom this year. While these films were made under Warner’s previous direction, Gunn said they “align perfectly with the DC Universe lineup coming out in 2024.” Gunn’s Superman: Legacy is scheduled to premiere in July 2025.
Safran said the upcoming DC films will be “expansive, interconnected, and full of hope and opportunity,” adding that he and Gunn “plow their way” into the “first chapter” of the universe. Zaslav, a self-proclaimed “DC lover”, told the public that Warner had a new “10-year plan” for productions.
The CinemaCon Summit, which runs until Thursday at the luxurious Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, offers Hollywood studios the chance to pitch their next films to theater owners, and also has the presence of the show’s biggest stars to turn up the heat.