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Lionsgate 2024 CinemaCon Presentation Includes News/Footage from John Wick Spin-Off, Michael Jackson Biopic and More

By George & Josh Bate

Lionsgate CinemaCon 2024

With John Wick: Chapter 4, Saw X, and The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Lionsgate had an impressive 2023 and, after their 2024 CinemaCon presentation, appear to be on track for quite the 2024 and 2025.

Check out a full breakdown of all the news, reveals, and footage from Lionsgate’s 2024 CinemaCon presentation below…

Highlander

John Wick director Chad Stahelski is getting ready to shoot his new film Highlander. A remake of the 1986 cult classic, Stahleski’s film will star Henry Cavill, who made an appearance at CinemaCon. 

Cavill, who is currently training for his role in the film, said, “I’m a lover of the original movies – for better or for worse.” Cavill continued, “If you thought you saw me do sword work before, you haven’t see anything yet.”

Lionsgate hinted that Stahleski is not just overseeing the Highlander remake, but will be spearheading a franchise in the Highlander universe. Highlander is expected to begin filming in 2024.

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

Cavill was also present to discuss a double feature of Guy Ritchie films he’s in. First up was The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, a spy action comedy loosely inspired by Operation Postmaster from World War II. 

New footage from the film was shown ahead of its release date on April 19, 2024. A look at the film can be seen below.

In the Grey

The other Guy Ritchie-Henry Cavill team-up is for the film In the Grey. The previously untitled Ritchie project was officially unveiled by Lionsgate at CinemaCon.

In the Grey is a heist film starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Henry Cavill, Eiza Gonzalez, and Rosamund Pike. The footage shown at CinemaCon previews a witty and action-packed heist adventure with a playful tone consistent with most of Ritchie’s previous works.

Based on the footage, In the Grey doesn’t look particularly novel. Despite its lack of uniqueness, the film does feature an impressive ensemble with Gyllenhaal reteaming with Ritchie after recently starring in The Covenant.

The Strangers: Chapter 1

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An ambitious continuation of The Strangers was discussed during Lionsgate’s presentation. Lionsgate are currently developing three prequels to The Strangers with Chapter 1 due to release next month.

Described as “an origin story of how the Strangers came to be,” The Strangers: Chapter 1 had a special look during Lionsgate’s CinemaCon presentation. The footage shown Madelaine Petsch’s character Maya and Froy Gutierrez’s character Ryan journey to the Pacific Northwest to begin a new life together. When their car breaks down in a small town, they’re forced to spend the night in an isolated Airbnb home. It’s not long before three masked maniacs arrive at the home and begin terrorizing the innocent couple. The footage largely detailed what seems to be at least the first half of Chapter 1. After the three strangers show up to the home, quick clips show Maya and Ryan hiding in the house and eventually running away in the woods. 

It remains unclear just how this prequel to The Strangers warrants three films, although what we’ve seen from Chapter 1 looks appropriately terrifying and disturbing.

The Strangers: Chapter 1 is in theaters May 17, 2024

Borderlands

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The cast of Borderlands recorded a greeting for the CinemaCon audience in which they talk about their love for the film. New footage from the film shows how strongly Eli Roth’s project evokes the aesthetic of the acclaimed video game. While the cast looks strong and the action looks great, the humor of the film did seem a bit awkward and often fell flat. Cate Blanchett seems to be the perfect person to bring Lilith to life, while Ariana Greenblatt was the highlight of the footage as the witty Tiny Tina.

Speaking of Greenblatt, the 16-year-old actress appeared on stage at CinemaCon alongside her writer/director Eli Roth to discuss Borderlands.

Eli Roth explained why he was drawn to direct Borderlands. “I loved the game,” Roth said. “I love big popcorn sci-if movies. I always wanted to do a film with the fun of Star Wars and Road Warrior and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Eli Roth was particularly excited to work with scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. He even said that he was “nerding out” with Jamie Lee Curtis about Terror Train and Prom Night.

While on stage, Eli Roth said that he assigned My Dinner with Andre and Andy Warhol’s eight-hour film Empire to prepare her for Borderlands. Roth admitted these were unusual recommendations, but Greenblatt took them in their stride and thoroughly enjoyed making Borderlands.

Eli Roth concluded the Borderlands presentation by saying, “Nothing better than creating movies for theaters.” 

Borderlands is in theaters August 9, 2024.

The Crow

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Arguably the most anticipated movie on Lionsgate’s slate, The Crow also took the spotlight at CinemaCon. Described as “vastly different in look and feel” to the 1994 Brandon Lee cult classic, this long-awaited reboot of The Crow stars Bill Skarsgård as Eric Draven.

Footage shown from the film began spotlighting the love story between Bill Skarsgård’s Eric Draven and FKA Twigs’ Shelly Webster. The passionate love between the two is shattered when Shelly and Eric are brutally murdered. Given a second chance, Eric is reborn as an undead vigilante to avenge his murder and the murder of his beloved Shelly.

The footage shown at CinemaCon previewed a tonally and aesthetically dark film. The action has the fluidity of the John Wick films, but the highlight of the footage was a wild scene featuring Eric being kicked out of a moving truck. Breaking his leg in multiple places, Eric lays in the middle of a road and begins to heal himself back to full functioning. This healing entails taking his splintered leg bones and fixing them back into place. If this footage is an indication of what’s in store for The Crow reboot, fans of the 1994 original will walk away happy.

The Crow is in theaters August 23, 2024.

Never Let Go

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Coming off of the critically acclaimed Crawl, Alexander Aja returns with Never Let Go. The upcoming horror film stars Halle Berry as a mother of two fraternal twins living in a post-apocalyptic world. The family live in a secluded house in the woods as mysterious creatures lurk all around them. Keeping them safe is a rope attached to their house as they seemingly go unharmed by the creatures if they remain somehow attached to their home (hence the title Never Let Go).

Halle Berry apparently went quite method with the role, revealing that she actually skinned a squirrel while filming the movie.

Berry remarked on the film, “It reminded me how I would protect my children with my life… This role allowed me to take that to the limit, what you’d do to protect your kids.”

The footage from Never Let Go from the CinemaCon presentation was mysterious and dark, but otherwise not quite engaging or novel. There are so many similar post-apocalyptic films set in a similarly secluded location, and the footage shown didn’t quite show how Never Let Go distinguishes itself from other similar films.

Never Let Go is in theaters September 27.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

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Based on the Barbara Robinson novel of the same, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever stars Judy Greer and comes from director Dallas Jenkins.

The footage presented looked like a conventional family Christmas film. It follows a mother (played by Judy Greer), who takes on the seemingly impossible task to oversee a Christmas pageant. 

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is in theaters November 8, 2024

The Killer’s Game

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Dave Bautista stars in this new action movie from director J.J. Perry, who previously helmed the Netflix vampire comedy Day Shift. The Killer’s Game is based on the book of the same name by Jay Bonansinga and also stars Ben Kingsley, Sofia Boutella, Terry Crews, and Pom Klementieff.

The footage from The Killer’s Game presented at CinemaCon revealed what looks like a standard action film. It shows Bautista’s veteran assassin Joe Flood be diagnosed with a terminal illness, which perplexingly leads him to put out a hit on himself. However, in another perplexing turn, Bautista’s character finds out that the terminal medical diagnosis was a mistake. Although he immediately removes the hit on himself, the assassin finds himself still hunted down by a range of bounty hunters.

Flight Risk

Also discussed during Lionsgate’s presentation was the upcoming thriller Flight Risk. The film is directed by Mel Gibson and stars Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Dockery, and Topher Grace.

Footage from the film shows a U.S. marshal (Dockery) transporting an informant (Grace) via helicopter to testify against a crime family. The helicopter pilot (Wahlberg) soon reveals himself to be an assassin, trying to kill Grace’s character to prevent him from testifying.

The footage seems to suggest that most of Flight Risk takes place either in a helicopter or airplane. Mark Wahlberg, in a short message to the CinemaCon crowd, remarked that audiences have not seen him in this sort of role before – and that definitely seems to be the case. Sporting a Karl Pilkington haircut (remember his look from Derek?), Wahlberg appears to be at his most villainous since Fear.

Shadow Force

Joe Carnahan directs and co-writes this new action thriller starring Kerry Washington. The film follows Washington as Kyrah, the former leader of a multinational special forces group called Shadow Force. Kyrah broke the roles of the organization by falling in love with Isaac (played by Omar Sy), forcing the couple to go undercover to protect their son as the rest of Shadow Force hunt them down.

Unfortunately, the film didn’t look that special and definitely not anywhere near the quality and grit of Carnahan’s previous work (see Narc, Smokin’ Aces, Copshop). The silver lining here is that it’s neat to see Kerry Washington in a different kind of role and the trailer concludes with a character played by Method Man asking a kid if he’s ever heard of Wu-Tang Clan before, to which the kid responds, “Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with.”

Good Fortune

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Aziz Ansari appeared at CinemaCon to discuss his new film Good Fortune. Ansari was absolutely hilarious on stage, poking fun and making the audience laugh like no one else has done this CinemaCon so far.

Good Fortune is directed, written, produced by, and stars Aziz Ansari. Ansari plays an impoverished man struggling to stay afloat hopping from job to job. Ansari’s character is given hope when he is visited by the angel Gabriel (fittingly played by an actual angel Keanu Reeves), who allows Ansari’s character to switch places with an immensely wealthy character played by Seth Rogen. 

Keanu Reeves was the undoubted highlight of the footage shown from the film. Reeves shows a completely different comedic side here, distinct from his humorous turn in the Bill and Ted films. Reeves’ character is an angel who creates a Trading Places-type scenario for Ansari’s character. Gabriel is wrong, however, in assuming Ansari’s character will experience a wealthier life and wish to go back to his old life. In turn, Gabriel is punished by an angel superior (played by Sandra Oh), following which he takes up smoking cigarettes and working at a fast food restaurant. 

John Wick Presents Ballerina

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The world of John Wick is expanding with the upcoming release of Ballerina. Fully titled John Wick Presents Ballerina, the upcoming action film stars Ana de Armas as Rooney, a ballerina who seeks revenge against those who murdered her family.

The film takes place between the events of John Wick Chapters 3 and 4 and also features Keanu Reeves as John Wick, Ian McShane as Winston, Anjelica Huston as The Director, and the late Lance Reddick returning as the concierge of the Continental Hotel. New additions to the franchise are Gabriel Byrne and Norman Reedus. 

The footage depicted a film that very much seems to capture the aesthetic and tone of the world of John Wick. Ana de Armas’ character Rooney appears to go through many of the same events as Keanu Reeves’ John Wick character. She visits The Continental Hotel in New York, is greeted by Lance Reddick’s concierge, discusses matters with the elegant Winston, and kicks a lot of ass. 

Lionsgate announced that Ballerina was delayed until June 6, 2025 to allow for additional filming on large scale action sequences.

Monopoly

Margot Robbie is teaming up with Lionsgate and Hasbro to develop a movie based on the iconic board game – Monopoly.

Naruto

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton will helm a live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga series. 

Blair Witch

Jason Blum is developing a new film in the Blair Witch franchise. No other details were revealed.

Michael

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A surprise first look at the upcoming Michael Jackson biopic concluded Lionsgate’s CinemaCon’s presentation. Antonie Fuqoa (Training Day) directs the movie, which is produced by Graham King (Bohemian Rhapsody).

Graham King was at CinemaCon to discuss the film, noting that it wouldn’t shy away from the controversies surrounding the titular musician. That being said, it’s unclear just how willing Michael will be to get into the controversial sides of the artist. Bohemian Rhapsody, while entertaining and emotional, was a somewhat sanitized depiction of Freddie Mercury’s life. Will Michael be the same?

The footage presented at CinemaCon shows Jaafar Jackson and Juliano Krue Valdi play versions of Michael Jackson during his lifetime. Jackson, who is actually Michael Jackson’s real life nephew, looks strikingly like the famous artist and seems to nail his voice and mannerisms. 

Check out the news and reveals from Warner Bros.’ 2024 CinemaCon presentation here.

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