Four key things we learned at CinemaCon about the biggest films of 2024

There are few weeks of the year that are bigger or more important to the film world than CinemaCon. The annual gathering gives studios, theater owners and exhibition-oriented technology companies the chance to show off the most exciting developments in film. But while the innovations that debut at CinemaCon can have important implications for the theaters where viewers get their movie fix, the convention’s biggest news almost always comes from the stage presentations, where studios show off their biggest gambles.

The 2024 CinemaCon was no different, but with over a hundred titles shown or mentioned at the event, it can be difficult for a casual movie fan to keep up with all the news, especially since most trailers and clips are pre-released. are viewed at the con are not released to the public. To help you keep track of the most promising things from the convention, Polygon has put together a list of what we learned during our attendance at CinemaCon 2024.

2024 will be a great year for animated films

The demise of animated films has been greatly exaggerated, as evidenced by the CinemaCon 2024 lineup. Nearly every studio got in on the animated action. Disney and Pixar have massive sequels on the way, including Moana 2, Inside out 2and a Lion King precursor. Paramount has the first Transformers animated film in almost 40 years. And Universal is releasing a new Despicable Me movie and a stunning-looking adaptation of the children’s book The wild robot. Perhaps the most surprising addition to this crop is Warner Bros.’s entry: Lord of the Rings: War of the Rohirrimwhich was not shown at CinemaCon, but was pitched as ‘anime’ to exhibitors during the studio’s show.

With all of these films coming out in the next eight months, 2024 is by far the biggest year for animation since 2019, a year in which The lionking, Toy story 4, Frozen 2, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, The secret life of pets 2And The Lego Movie 2. It’s hard to imagine one year living up to all these massive releases, but with what’s on the calendar so far, 2024 might just have a chance.

Hollywood has finally recognized Glen Powell as a superstar

Glen Powell has been on the cusp of superstardom since 2018 Set it up, but he never got the opportunities he deserves. But after that Top Gun: Maverick in 2022 and Everyone but you in 2023, it looks like 2024 is finally his year. He was a big presence at CinemaCon, taking the stage to introduce a new look Twisters, where he plays an exciting tornado chaser with an F5 ego. Paramount also announced him as the leader for his new one Running man reboot, directed by Edgar Wright. With those two-star performances coming up, plus the hilarious Netflix movies Touch man coming out this year, Powell will finally get his time in the spotlight.

Horror fans are in for a great and busy year

Even in the most tumultuous times at the box office, horror films are always a reliable bet, which is one of the reasons they were such a highlight at this year’s CinemaCon. Every major studio panel featured at least a few scary movies set before 2024, and many of them looked absolutely fantastic.

Disney previewed two scenes from the upcoming film Alien: Romulus, which brings the Xenomorph back to its horror roots. Warner Bros. proved bullish on the Shyamalan business by showing trailers for M. Night’s new film Falla thriller set at a stadium concert that is too fun to even describe, and The guards, the first film from his daughter, Ishana Shyamalan, which follows a girl who gets trapped in the woods by monsters. Meanwhile, Lionsgate is about to release its trilogy of Strangers films Never let goin which Halle Berry tries to protect her children after the apocalypse.

Paramount also showed off an impressive horror lineup to start with A quiet place: day one on the way, a prequel to the horror series directed by Michael Sarnoski (Pig) and is set in New York. The studio also unveiled the first trailer for Smile 2the sequel to the 2022 breakout hit. The film will apparently follow a pop star, played by Naomi Scott, whose fans are slowly starting to get the series’ iconic killer smile.

Finally, Universal has made perhaps the biggest horror bet of the year Nosferatuthe new vampire movie from The witch And The Northman directorRobert Eggers. It’s scheduled for a huge release on Christmas Day. The film’s first trailer premiered at the show and looked absolutely incredible, full of moody shadows, shocked screams, and the twisted form of Bill Skarsgård’s ravenous vampire. The studio also showed itself Speak no evila terrifying remake of a European cult hit from a few years ago, and announced sequels for Five nights with Freddy‘s and M3GANalthough the latter two won’t hit theaters until 2025.

Everyone wants to make the next Barbenheimer

During the entire four-day convention, the most popular word on people’s lips was “Barbenheimer.” Everyone from studios to movie theater owners to tech companies had something to say about last year’s combined breakout hit(s), Barbie And Oppenheimer, and what it meant for cinema that two completely different films, released on the same day, could be box office sensations. The one thing no one seems to have an answer for is how to do it again.

To theater owners, Barbenheimer was a clear sign that studios need not fear programming their films against each other, as audiences were more than happy to support two major films at once. This type of takeout certainly makes sense if your main goal is to sell tickets and fill seats. The studios seemed to feel the same way, but none of them seemed willing to say what that meant for them.

In fact, the only meaningfully shared date on the calendar so far is November 27, the release date for both Moana 2 And Bad. While part of Barbenheimer’s strength was that it counter-programmed two very different films that audiences wanted to see, it’s hard to imagine such a film. Moana sequel and a Wizard of Oz prequel musical has an audience that not overlap. But while this year’s CinemaCon didn’t have a Barbenheimer announcement, it’s clear that studios are still carefully trying to choose the right lessons to take away from the phenomenon.