Movies & TV / Columns

CinemaCon 2024 Days 1 & 2 Recap: The Fall Guy, Furiosa, Beetlejuice 2, Joker 2

April 11, 2024 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Joker: Folie A Deux Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

411mania is back once again for this year’s CinemaCon. CinemaCon 2024 kicked things off on Monday with a gala screening for the upcoming big-screen film adaptation of The Fall Guy. Based on the 1980s television series of the same name, Ryan Gosling stars as the stunt man Colt Seavers, who seeks to reunite with his ex-girlfriend, Jody (Emily Blunt), who is now making her first big-budget blockbuster. However, during the production, Colt gets caught up in a real-life crisis as the film’s lead actor and star, Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), goes missing. So now, it falls on the fall guy to save the day.

While I can’t go too in-depth regarding The Fall Guy, I can provide my social reactions from CinemaCon’s opening night gala showing of the event:

Continuing onto Day 2, Sony Pictures didn’t opt for a major presentation this year, but Sony Pictures-owned Crunchyroll did come out instead to showcase the recent success of the theatrical releases of Crunchyroll that have been doing quite well as of late. The Crunchyroll presentation showcased upcoming theatrical releases set for later this year, including HAIKYU!! The Dumpster Battle, which will be released theatrically, subbed and dubbed, on May 31. Also coming up for Crunchyroll theatrical releases are Bluelock: Episode Nagi on June 28 and Overlord: The Sacred Kingdom. Subtitled trailers were shown for all three pictures. I’m very excited about getting a new animated movie for Overlord, which will have a theatrical release. Looks like there will be lots of battles and intrigue ahead for Lord Ainz Ooal Gown.

The Crunchyroll presentation closed things out with the first 10 minutes of the English-dubbed version of Spy x Family Code: White. The first 10 minutes re-establish the premise and lead characters for this fantastic animated series. There’s father Loid Forger, a spy, mom Yor Forger, an assassin, and telepathic daughter Anya. While Anya is aware of her adopted mother and father’s hidden lives due to their telepathy, Loid and Yor don’t know about their true occupations, or that Anya is telepathic. In the new film, Loid’s organization, Westallian Intelligence, wants him reassigned to a new mission and seeks out a buffoonish replacement for Operation Strix. Meanwhile, Anya is seeking to win a meal contest for her elite school’s headmaster, which could possibly earn her a Stella Star and get Operation Strix one step closer to Donovan Desmond, a high-ranking member of his country’s powerful political party in the hopes to prevent war and conflict.

I’m a huge fan of Spy x Family, and I’m greatly looking forward to this movie. While the story looks to be a filler adventure set between episodes of the series, it looks like it was given a bigger budget, and the animation looks immaculate, and I loved hearing the “STRIX” theme in a theatrical setting. So while this isn’t a Demon Slayer: Mugen Train scenario, it looks like it will still be a fun experience and cinematic event for fans of the film.

Warner Bros. Pictures had the afternoon presentation for the day, kicking things off with an extended look at Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, which looks to be an epic, post-apocalyptic tale showcasing how the legend of Furiosa was forged. Set well before the events of Mad Max: Fury Road, this is the story of how Furiosa was ripped from her peaceful life and home, forced into bondage, and became a fierce warrior. This looks like a significant expansion of Fury Road as the story will cover many years, showcasing Furiosa from her childhood to her teens to her young adult years. It looks like the world-building and mythology on the Wasteland and the world of Mad Max will be greatly expanded upon as well, as we learn more about Immortan Joe and other warlords such as Dr. Dementus (Chris Hemsworth). It also looks like Furiosa finds a new ally, portrayed by Tom Burke, who helps teach her how to survive the Wasteland and supports her in her journey to return to her home. This definitely looks like it will be an amazing role for Anya Taylor-Joy as she realizes Furiosa’s transition into a warrior and eventually a legend of the Wasteland. I’m most excited about getting a deeper, expanded look at the post-apocalyptic Wasteland that we only saw glimpses of in Fury Road and the previous films.

Next up was an early look at the new supernatural horror-thriller, The Watchers, based on the novel of the same name by A.M. Shine. Ishana Night Shyamalan, daughter of M. Night Shyamalan, was live in attendance to preview her directorial debut. This looks to be a creepy premise, as star Dakota Fanning plays a young woman stranded in a dark forest. She manages to take refuge in a remote sort of steel container. It appears at night, they are being watched by dark, malevolent creatures, who can mimic human appearances. Anyone familiar with the television series, From, this looks to be a similar scenario and setup. Of course, Dakota Fanning’s character becomes trapped with three other human survivors and seeks to escape, but leaving the container and wandering outside means certain death. It will be interesting to see what Ishana Night Shyamalan pulls off here. The Watchers hits theaters on June 14.

Filmmaker James Gunn provided a pre-recorded video introduction from the set of Superman in Atlanta. While we didn’t get any new footage or reveals, we did get a look at the film’s new Superman logo, and DC Studios co-head Peter Safran also took the stage to introduce the feature documentary Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story. This will be a candid look at the life of Christopher Reeve, with interviews from his closest friends and family, covering his life, career, and how he found the strength to endure following the accident that left him paralyzed. This looks like it will be an emotional, deeply honest look at the life of Christopher Reeve.

Filmmaker and actor Kevin Costner was live in attendance to showcase his big-screen two-parter, Horizon: An American, debuting in theaters later this summer. This is a major passion project for Costner, as he’s been trying to make this feature since the late 1980s, and his character in the film, Hayes Ellison, shares the same name as his son Hayes. This 1800s-era Western will follow a group of settlers who seek to make a life for themselves in the American Frontier. Costner considers the film a story about the promise of America.

Based on the trailer that was shown, definitely looks like it will be an epic period drama in the vein of Dances with Wolves, but from the perspective of settlers seeking to find a life and fortune on the frontier. Think a live-action movie version of The Oregon Trail. Costner’s character in the film looks to be a rather stoic gunslinger. This is an ambitious project for Costner, as it will be released in two parts over the summer, with Part 1 dropping on June 28, and Chapter 2 drops August 16. Costner also took the stage after the trailer to accept the CinemaCon Cinema Icon Award for 2024.

One of the more interesting showcases of the Warner Bros. Pictures presentation was Mickey 17, a new sci-fi adventure film from the award-winning filmmaker, Bong Joon-ho. The upcoming feature is based on the book, Mickey 7. Robert Pattinson stars as an interstellar grunt worker called an Expendable who does all the dirty work and jobs no one else wants. Whenever he dies, he’s cloned with a new version to continue on with the work. However, during one incident, the 17th clone of Mickey Barnes manages to survive and returns to his chip, realizing that his next clone, Mickey 18, has already been created. Having multiple clones at the same time is highly illegal. The film also stars Steven Yeun, Mark Ruffalo, and Toni Collette, so it boasts an impressive cast.

Mickey 17 looks impressive. It definitely looks like Pattinson had a lot of fun playing the scrappy underdog Mickey Barnes, and it looks like it nicely utilizes Bong Joon-ho’s strange blend of humor and satire. Both Pattinson and Bong Joon-ho were in attendance to promote the film’s release, and Bong Joon-ho was quite funny and charming. He jokes that the movie is called Mickey 17 over Mickey 7 “because I killed him 10 more times.” The film is due out on January 31, 2025.

M. Night Shyamalan took the stage next to showcase his new film, Trap. He spoke about how he came up with the idea for this film, and wanting a movie to capture the immersion of attending a music concert mixed with that of a thriller. In Trap, Josh Hartnett portrays a father who takes his teen daughter to a concert for a popular pop star. However, Hartnett’s character starts noticing a lot of security guards and police at the doors. It appears that the whole concert is an elaborate sting operation to capture a deadly serial killer. Based on the trailer, the plot twist is that the protagonist, Hartnett’s character, is the serial killer. Shyamalan films can be very hit-and-miss, so the jury is still out on this one, but the setup does seem interesting. Trap hits theaters on August 9.

The next part of the Warner Bros. presentation was all about the long-awaited, highly anticipated sequel to Beetlejuice, titled Beetlejuice Beetlejuice. This included a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the feature, highlighting star Michael Keaton and director Tim Burton’s desires to revisit the world and characters. The featurette appeared to express a heavy emphasis on practice effects, production design, and costumes, all of which look strong and in keeping with the original. Burton and Keaton were in attendance live to promote the film, along with cast members Catherine O’Hara, Monica Bellucci, Willem Dafoe, and Justin Theroux. Burton recalled how much he identified with Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder) in the original and wanting to showcase three generations of Deetz women in the sequel.

They provided a look at a new trailer offering a deeper look at the sequel. While the plot is not completely clear, it appears that Lydia summons Beetlejuice once again in order to help rescue or find her daughter. It looks like much of the sequel will also be set in the Land of the Dead, or the Neitherworld, so that definitely piques my interest. Beetlejuice looks to be taking somewhat of an antihero role here, but his true motives and goals are still somewhat unclear. It looks like Theroux’s character is some type of bureaucrat of the Land of the Dead who is in pursuit of Beetlejuice. If Bellucci is portraying Beetlejuice’s undead wife, I think that’s a perfect role for her. Her brief appearance in the trailer gave off some live-action Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Emily from Corpse Bride vibes. Beetlejuice Beetlejuice will be out in theaters on September 6.

Director Todd Phillips took the stage next for a look at Joker: Folie à Deux, the sequel to 2019’s billion-dollar, Oscar-winning hit, Joker. Phillips spoke about coming back to the world of Joker despite saying the original film was only going to be a one-off, and how he and star Joaquin Phoenix wanted to revisit the character of Arthur Fleck, aka Joker, and bringing on Lady Gaga. Joker: Folie à Deux looks to be a twisted love story where Arthur meets his partner-in-crime. Rather than a psychiatrist, Lady Gaga’s version of Harley Quinn looks like she’s also a patient or prisoner at the mental institution/prison where Arthur is imprisoned. I greatly preferred Joker as a standalone exploration of a Joker-like character.

I’m not completely sold on how a sequel will work, but I think fans of the first movie will greatly enjoy where the new film appears to be going. I always found something deeply unnerving and captivating about Phoenix’s performance in the first film, and that very much looks to be the case again here. However, things are changing for Arthur because he’s found someone else now, someone who appears to share his worldview. This is a story about Arthur falling in love. Joker: Folie à Deux arrives on October 4.

Stay tuned for more from CinemaCon from Day 3, featuring presentations from Lionsgate and Universal Pictures.