This year’s Showest has been a fairly scaled-back affair. Fewer big parties, fewer movies, more business. That wasn’t the case for Sony’s presentation of The Karate Kid yesterday, however. In addition to the big lunch the studio threw for thousands of attendees, Sony was clearly in it to win it when it came to the movie’s pre-show. Some of it no doubt had to do with their very important producers, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, waiting in the wings, but even so, this elaborate introduction included drummer and cymbal players, men in masks doing acrobatics, scores of women dressed in Asian garb lining the aisles to the theater, not to mention 12 little karate kids doing their own routine. It concluded with a shower of confetti streaming from the ceiling, carefully missing the studio executives sitting in the lower level. The act looked more like something you’d see at Comic-Con than what’s become the norm at this exhibition convention.
The film itself (which releases this June) is a worthy remake of the 1984 Ralph Macchio classic, and the delegates seemed to love it. Director Harald Zwart (Pink Panther 2, Agent Cody Banks) was able to conquer the majestic scope of China, and stars Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan form a sweet bond. Smith received what is sure to be the first of many awards for his acting when he was honored with Showest breakthrough star of the year. He took the stage in his white sneakers and said, “My dad prepared a speech for me with a bunch of funny stuff in it, but I’m 11 and I’m nervous.”
Karate Kid opens June 11 opposite The A-Team, so it’s no wonder Sony is setting the stage early with exhibition, hoping for the biggest theaters when it bows opposite the action remake of the popular ’80s TV show.