The movie business must really be booming. How can you tell? When Sony Pictures chairman Michael Lynton delivered his keynote address March 15 at Vegas’ ShoWest convention — the annual gathering of movie studio execs and theater operators — the only thing he griped about was the calorie count in concession-stand snacks. In fact, the explosion of 3-D movies has boosted ticket sales by 10 percent, a number that has encouraged the studios to churn out 20 3-D movies this year alone. As National Association of Theatre Owners CEO John Fithian told exhibitors, ”There is no doubt that 3-D is a game changer.”
With that kind of optimism steadily spreading through Hollywood, some studios spared no expense when it came to wooing theater owners, arguably the industry’s most important customers. Sony had drummers and Asian dancers on hand for a screening of their Karate Kid reboot. (Having producer Will Smith there didn’t hurt either.) And Warner Bros. must’ve spent a small fortune on jet fuel to shuttle their stable of stars — including the Sex and the City ladies, Robert Downey Jr., and Katherine Heigl — into town to hype their 2010 highlight reel. It’s been a while since the Nevada desert has seen that kind of heat.
Let’s Talk About Sex
”It’s not in 3-D, not even double-D,” Sex and the City 2 writer-director Michael Patrick King joked while introducing three of the four Sex stars: Cynthia Nixon, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kristin Davis. (Kim Cattrall was in London, starring in the play Private Lives.)
”My dad prepared a speech for me with a bunch of funny stuff in it. But I’m 11 and I’m nervous.” — Jaden Smith, who’s Will’s son, receiving his ShoWest Male Breakthrough Star of the Year award for The Karate Kid (out June 11)
Big Love for Amanda
Amanda Seyfried helped cement her It Girl status with an award for Female Breakthrough Star. She’s up next in the indie Chloe (out now), in which she plays a hooker who seduces both Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore.
Dying for more Decepticons? Josh Duhamel confirmed at the trade show that he’ll be back for the third installment of Michael Bay’s Transformers series — and revealed that they now have a completed script.
Fun With Fairy Tales
Beauty and the…boys. Vanessa Hudgens introduced a trailer for Beastly — a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast (out July 30) — with help from Alex Pettyfer (right, who stars as the disfigured hero) and Neil Patrick Harris (who plays his blind tutor).
Last Action Hero
Thanks to Avatar and Clash of the Titans, Sam Worthington (Male Star of the Year) has become the go-to guy for 3-D.
Odd Couple Alert
Jennifer Lopez and Billy Bob Thornton schmoozed at an event for CBS Films, the studio behind their films The Back-up Plan and Faster.
Downey’s Comedy Dream Team
How do you top 2009’s The Hangover? For director Todd Phillips (center), it’s as simple as casting Robert Downey Jr. (right) opposite Zach Galifianakis in a road-trip comedy, Due Date (out Nov. 5). ”I don’t mean to belittle The Hangover, but Due Date is really about something,” Downey deadpanned to reporters.