Sony unspooled a reel previewing its summer slate at ShoWest in Las Vegas on Wednesday, although the first order of business was an announcement that Spider-Man 4 is due to arrive in 2011. That small bit of business out of the way, the studio’s summer movies looked strong, with something for everyone. Attendees got an unexpected treat in a long scene from Katherine Heigl’s The Ugly Truth, which might give Meg Ryan’s famous orgasm act from When Harry Met Sally… a run for its money. Angels & Demons, Julie & Julia, Year One, and Pelham 123 all looked good, too.
But Sony is pushing really hard on a movie with an unknown cast called District 9. Distribution president Rory Bruer mentioned it in his opening remarks, and audience members were given T-shirts and hats for the little-known sci-fi movie after the presentation concluded. So what is it? Well, the film is produced by Peter Jackson and directed by newcomer Neil Blomkamp, who wrote it with Terri Tatchell. Blomkamp was the director who was supposed to helm the Halo film, but when that project fell apart, he continued working Jackson’s help on District 9, which is based on a series of short videos Blomkamp had created for advertising Halo 3. The film itself concerns a South African refugee camp for aliens called District 9, and it resembles a combination of 28 Days Later and Cloverfield. Sony execs are psyched about the project and it could prove to be one of the big surprises of the summer. These days, that’s a hard feat to pull off.