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CinemaCon Day 1 Recap: Sony Pictures, Spider-Man, Ghostbusters: Afterlife

August 25, 2021 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Spider-Man: No Way Home, CinemaCon Image Credit: Sony PIctures

411mania was on hand for Day 1 of the 2021 CinemaCon. Last year’s convention was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) organized a comeback for this year as Caesar’s Palace. The theme on opening was “The Big Screen Is Back.” Organizers and exhibitors pushed the focus on the importance of the shared communal experience of moviegoers, and the debilitating setbacks the industry faced due to the pandemic.

Overall, the message for the opening presentation on “The Big Screen Is Back” was fairly positive. That said, there were some potshots taken regarding the day and date releases and the eliminating of theatrical windows being bad for business. At one point, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group Chairman Tom Rothman joked about how the reason Free Guy is doing so well in theaters right now is because a theater is the only place you can see it. So there was a bit of bluster going on.

The Sony Pictures portion of the presentation featured a reel with some new footage for major upcoming releases. There was a focus on the Sony Spider-Man Universe, even though the recent Spider-Man films are already technically part of the MCU. The Sony sizzle reel features clips of new footage for Morbius, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and also the long-awaited Uncharted movie starring Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland. There was also a tease for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2.

One thing of note from the Uncharted footage is that there does appear to be a sequence where Drake is dragged out of a freight plane with some cargo like Uncharted 3. Sadly, there were no specific segments in the panel that focused more on the Uncharted movie to offer a deeper, in-depth look at the film. The sizzle reel included a bit more of the transformation into Carnage by Kasady.

Actually, the Sony Pictures panel mainly focused on two films. First up, Spider-Man: No Way Home. Of course, the trailer has now been officially released, and it was available minutes after it debuted during Monday’s showcase. I’m glad the trailer is finally out there, and it looks promising so far. The trailer didn’t show too much, which is good. It showed just enough to start enticing the audience, and it looks like there’s still a lot left to unveil. The only real villain who showed up was Doctor Octopus. There were hints of the Department of Damage Control, what I think was Matt Murdock, Electro’s powers, and a Green Goblin pumpkin bomb. Now obviously, it looks concerning that all these problems are being caused by the actions of Peter and Doctor Strange, but we’ll see how things play out provided the movie still gets released in December.

There are already new rumors that emerged this week from Vulture during CinemaCon that Venom 2 gets pushed back to 2022. With the issues still surrounding the pandemic, another delay would not surprise me. With that in mind, it would not surprise me if No Way Home gets pushed back to 2022 as well.

After the debut of the new Spider-Man trailer, original Ghostbusters filmmaker Ivan Reitman and son Jason Reitman came out for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. It’s no secret at this point, that Sony ended up debuting the first public screening of Afterlife at CinemaCon, which was a complete shock. Here are my brief thoughts posted on social media:

That was actually the end of the CinemaCon panel. While I do encourage the strong support for a theatrical window and seeing big movies in theaters, I would have liked to have seen a few more movies showcased during the panel and perhaps get a trailer debut for Uncharted. That said, I can’t complain too much considering one of the things shown during the panel.