Wednesday, April 25, 2012 | 6:35 p.m.
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It’s definite that actor Johnny Depp has never been under the roof of a Las Vegas hotel with Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog at the same time. Strange bedfellows -- and proof that the filmmaking world relies on characters of all kinds to produce box office blockbusters.
The unlikely trio was spotted at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace on Tuesday on the second day of the four-day CinemaCon global theater owners meetings. They were all there to promote “Lone Ranger” for Disney produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Johnny stars in the film as Tonto opposite Armie Hammer as the title hero. Miss Piggy and Kermit aren’t in the movie but were lobbying to be cast in it -- even at this late stage of production, which began last month.
Johnny, in a rare visit to Las Vegas, also is here promoting his new film “Dark Shadows” out May 11 and directed by good friend Tim Burton, who was at CinemaCon on Tuesday.
The biggest news, though, was that Jerry, one of Hollywood’s most prolific and powerful producers, revealed that Johnny will return for him in a fifth outing of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which probably will be shot simultaneously with a sixth film.
Also promoting new movies: Jennifer Garner (“The Odd Life of Timothy Green”); James Franco and Mila Kunis (“Oz: The Great & Powerful”); and John C. Reilly (“Wreck-It Ralph”). Former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, now the president of the MPAA, spoke to delegates in a keynote address.
Our thanks to contributing photographers Tom Donoghue, Scott Harrison and CinemaCon’s Ryan Miller of Capture Imaging for today’s fabulous photo gallery.
CinemaCon theater owners, studios and exhibitors noted that last year, the global box office for films racked up a record $32.6 billion, with $10.2 billion from the U.S. and Canada alone. It completes a four-decade upward trend, with more than 1.43 billion people a year going to the movies.
“This year, the first quarter has also been remarkably strong. Box office is up 23 percent and admissions up 22 percent,” said John Fithian, National Association of Theater Owners president.” We have many reasons to celebrate. It was the biggest March movie opening in the history of the business. We expect that growth to continue, particularly with the technological innovations.
“Digital cinema offers improved visual images and more than 27,000 screens in America; more than two-thirds of the total are now digital. More than 70,000 movie screens around the world -- more than half -- have been converted to digital. I have predicted that distribution of movies in the format of celluloid film will cease by the end of next year!”
Today, expect Academy Award-winning directors Martin Scorsese and Ang Lee to discuss more of the future of films, exhibition windows before DVD release, 3-D and laser projections. Jack Black, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas will be here to honor DreamWorks chief Jeffrey Katzenberg at a Pioneer of the Year fundraiser for the Will Rogers Motion Picture Fund.
CinemaCon concludes its four-day visit Thursday with its gala awards featuring Sylvester Stallone, Michelle Pfeiffer, Charlize Theron and “Hunger Games” breakthrough performer Josh Hutcherson. NATO reports that “Hunger” gobbled up a whopping $330 million in its first month of U.S. release.
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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