CinemaCon 2021: the big screen is back!

    Author Zoe Aresti

CinemaCon, the annual gathering of the world’s cinema exhibitors, took place last week at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas.

The focus was on the cinema industry’s future post-pandemic, theatrical windows and, as always, a look at some of the fantastic content set to premiere on the big screen.

An exciting film slate

Attendees were treated to a 13-minute preview of Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick, which is in cinemas on 19 November. Download DCM's film slide to explore available brand opportunities. Fans also saw nearly ten minutes of the highly anticipated No Time To Die. The final trailer for Daniel Craig's last outing as 007 has also been released. It's in cinemas only from 30 September.

The trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home was also released and it smashed the 24-hour all-time global record for most views, being watched 355.5 million times, eclipsing the previous record-holder, Avengers: Endgame (289 million views).

CinemaCon saw not just the first official confirmation of the title to the upcoming fourth Matrix movie, but a screening of the first footage. Written and directed by Lana Wachowski, it’s called The Matrix Resurrections and it stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss along with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, and more. It opens 22 December.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife was screened in its entirety. Directed by Jason Reitman and starring McKenna Grace, Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, and Finn Wolfhard the film has received rave reviews. It’s in cinemas 11 November.

Theatrical exhibition

Theatrical windows was a hot topic during panel discussions. Since cinemas reopened on 17 May, studios have been experimenting with shortening traditional windows to 46 days, 17 days or through simultaneous streaming and theatrical launches. A number of exclusivity agreements have recently been negotiated between individual cinema chains and studios, but what is clear after the discussions at CinemaCon, there is a strong commitment to theatrical exhibition. 

Sony’s President, Josh Greenstein, stated: “At the core [of Sony’s release strategy] is preserving and protecting the exclusivity theatrical window… [Day-and-date is devastating to our collective business.”

Patty Jenkins, Director of Wonder Woman 1984, added: “I’m not a fan of day-and-date and I hope to avoid it forever. I make movies for the big-screen experience.”

“Exclusive release periods remain vital to the success of the theatrical business […] Simultaneous release does not work. It doesn’t work for anyone. A steady flow of strong movies released with windows is essential to the recovery of the industry and to the profitability for the entire ecosystem” said National Association of Theatre Owners chief John Fithian