Erik Kabik / Retna / ErikKabik.com
Thursday, March 27, 2014 | 2:05 p.m.
China has become Hollywood’s first international market to top $3 billion in movie-ticket sales, and industry experts at the 2014 CinemaCon meetings at Caesars Palace this week predict that the growth will continue to explode with 13 new screens built every day.
Worldwide box office ticket sales hit a new record in 2013 of $35.9 billion, an increase of 4 percent over 2012. U.S. ticket sales were nearly $11 billion.
“It was a fantastic, incredible 2013,” Motion Picture Association of America Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd told the annual meeting of the 5,000-strong National Association of Theater Owners.
Today, CinemaCon wraps with its glittering Big Screen Achievement Awards with Drew Barrymore (Female Star of the Year), Kevin Costner (Cinema Icon Award) and Adam Sandler (Male Star of the Year) leading a parade of stars and industry chieftains, including Comedy Filmmakers of the Year Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Leslie Mann (Comedy Star of the Year) and director Ivan Reitman, who will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann started today’s meetings with a preview of their upcoming comedy “The Other Woman” during the 20th Century Fox morning presentation. They were followed by Shailene Woodley (“Divergent”) introducing her new movie “The Fault in Our Stars.”
The final appearance of the presentation was by Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. for their movie “Let’s Be Cops.” They walked into the dark theater as sirens went off and lights started flashing, shouting to the audience through bullhorns. Our thanks to contributing photographer Erik Kabik of Retna for his photo gallery.
It’s been a star-studded week for CinemaCon, with appearances by Angelina Jolie, Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Will Arnett and “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm, who on Wednesday screened his May 16 sports drama “Million Dollar Arm” for Disney Studios. It’s the true story of a once-successful sports agent who down on his luck decides to turn cricket players into baseball pitchers.
Million Dollar Arm
Disney execs also screened its new live-action version of “Cinderella” directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother, Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother and Derek Jacobi as the King. Lily James from “Downton Abbey” plays Cinderella, and Richard Madden is Prince Charming in the March 2015 release.
Rival Sony Pictures screened four segments lasting 30 minutes of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone being released on May 2.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Director Christopher Nolan (“Memento,” “Batman” series) spoke about his new film “Interstellar” during a lunchtime session and was adamant that celluloid film was a much better medium over digital for movies in theaters.
“It’s the best way to capture images and project them,” he said. “I’m in favor of technological innovation, but it has to exceed what came before, and none of the new technologies have done that.” “Interstellar” stars Matthew McConaghey, Anne Hathaway, Ellen Burstyn and Michael Caine.
“Interstellar” is the story of a team of space explorers who travel through wormholes. Christopher added: “I grew up in an era that was the golden age of the blockbuster, a family film with universal appeal. I want to see that again. ‘Interstellar’ looks at where we are as a people and the universality of the human experience.”
He also introduced the six finalists of the Sprite Films program from students from 23 colleges who submitted original short films. They will debut today with celebrity mentor and actor Michael B. Jordan (“Parenthood,” “That Awkward Moment,” “Friday Night Lights,” “CSI”). He’ll be seen as the Human Torch in next year’s “Fantastic Four.”
Public online viewing and voting of the short films is live at Sprite.com/films through May 15. Film industry experts, including Michael, will crown the Green Ribbon Panel winner.
“What’s a dream without action or a talent without a stage to set it free?” he said. “Each year Sprite Films finds student filmmakers who have it — the fearlessness and dedication to pursue their passion for film — and supports them to grow their dreams on a national platform. I’m lending my support by meeting with the student finalists to share my story as an actor and what I have learned.”
Wednesday night’s Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation dinner with Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg as MC raised more than $1 million, with 2,000 of Hollywood’s industry elite paying tribute to the late Tom Sherak. His widow Madeline Sherak accepted the award after a concert by The Tenors, who appeared in the Cirque du Soleil fundraiser “One Night for One Drop” last Friday at Mandalay Bay.
Adam Sandler contributed a videotaped message for the former 20th Century Fox marketing head who died in January from cancer. Past recipients include Jack Warner, Darryl Zanuck, Cecil B. DeMille, Jack Valenti, Michael Eisner and Sumner Redstone.
We’ll post photos and videos Friday of tonight’s CinemaCon Awards, so please check back for the finale wrap-up.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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Transport yourself to the opulent and excessive Roman Empire at Caesars Palace. But the ever-changing Caesars Palace is far from ancient. The hotel and casino is constantly raising the bar for what visitors can expect in a Vegas resort experience.
Caesars Palace features 3,348 rooms and suites in five towers, including the new luxury boutique Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, which opened Feb. 4, 2013, in the totally remodeled Centurian Tower. Caesars features 129,000 square feet of gaming space, including the Strip’s largest poker room and a 250-seat sports book. Other amenities include about two dozen restaurants, a four-level shopping mall, four pools, a spa, Pure and Poetry nightclubs and Pussycat Dolls.
Dining options include restaurants from world-renown chefs Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and, on Feb. 4, 2013, Nobu Matsuhisa.
You never know what characters you’ll run into at Caesars with regular performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Bette Midler, Elton John and maybe even the emperor himself.