Warner Bros. shows off star directors Snyder, Phillips, Del Toro

LAS VEGAS -- At CinemaCon, most studios charm movie theater owners by putting their best-looking stars center stage. On Tuesday, however, Warner Bros. went a different route, opting to promote its summer slate with the help of its most recognizable filmmakers.

Zack Snyder was here to show off a new trailer from his take on Superman, “Man of Steel.” Guillermo del Toro spoke of his passion for his big-budget robot tale “Pacific Rim.” Todd Phillips, the director behind “The Hangover” franchise, was meant to talk about the third installment of the comedy series -- but he also took the opportunity to try to liven up the crowd.

“Let’s wake this up a little,” said Phillips, who arrived on stage after the studio’s distribution chief, Dan Fellman, and movie division President Jeff Robinov had spoken at length about how successful Warner Bros. has been and will continue to be.

PHOTOS: Movies Sneaks 2013

Phillips, who in an interview later admitted he was a bit drunk during the presentation, certainly made an impression on the crowd. He told the audience that he had recently been asked if he was worried about “The Hangover Part III” opening on the same weekend in May as Universal’s “Fast & Furious 6.”

Apparently not: “Come on, it’s ... Vin Diesel and the Rock,” he said, using some colorful language.

Ultimately, exhibitors seemed most invigorated by the trailer for “Man of Steel,” which depicted Clark Kent being given away as a baby, realizing his powers as a child and ultimately maturing into an adult superhero.

When he first met with Christopher Nolan and wife Emma about the possibility of taking on “Man of Steel,” Snyder said, he was fearful.

“I wasn’t sure if I had something poignant to say about Superman. I had so much respect for the character and I just wasn’t sure what I had to give him,” the director said. “I really hope I can give you something awesome.”

PHOTOS: Hollywood Backlot moments

Del Toro, meanwhile, seemed the most confident in his upcoming project, which tells the story of robots piloted by soldiers who must defend themselves against monsters from the sea. The filmmaker waxed poetic about the three-year-long process of making the $190-million production, saying that at 48 the experience of making the movie had changed his life.

“This allowed me to try a scope and a palette that I hadn’t tried before,” he said. “The summer is a very special time for movies ... it’s not only a time to create big, loud, beautiful movies, but to engage in world creation. It’s a massive window for the audience to be able to see our world populated by things they will never see in real life.”

Warner Bros. also showed snippets from the rest of its 2013 slate, including the sequel “300: Rise of an Empire”; the Hugh Jackman abduction drama “Prisoners”; and “Gravity,” in which Sandra Bullock plays an astronaut spiraling through space.

The Warner Bros. presentation took place hours after National Assn. of Theatre Owners President and Chief Executive John Fithian had urged Hollywood to make less R-rated fare. As it happens, however, the biggest laughs during the studio’s slate came in response to a graphic trailer for the Jennifer Aniston-Jason Sudeikis comedy “We’re the Millers,” in which a character’s genitals swell after a tarantula attack.


‘Man of Steel’ trailer: Krypton’s doom, Zod’s attack

Universal shows off 'Fast' cast, confirms 'Pitch Perfect' sequel

Brad Pitt gets Las Vegas convention riled up with 'World War Z' clips

Follow @AmyKinLA

PHOTOS AND MORE PHOTOS: Faces to watch 2014 | Movies ENVELOPE: The latest awards buzz DOCUMENTARIES: 10 best of 2013, and a new crop in 2014

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Artists and filmmakers make surprising leaps in 2014
    Artists and filmmakers make surprising leaps in 2014

    Exhibiting raw promise is one thing, but to exceed those initial flashes is something really special. Throughout this year, many filmmakers and performers were pressing on in remarkable ways, showing that even artists who have already exhibited notable skill, talent and accomplishment still...

  • Mark Olsen's best indie films of 2014
    Mark Olsen's best indie films of 2014

    Throughout the year people you thought you knew showed they were still full of surprises. In 2014, when some would see cinema as a storytelling mode and cultural force as an endangered species, these are vital signs of life. Here is Mark Olsen's top ten list of independent films:

  • Kenneth Turan's best films of 2014
    Kenneth Turan's best films of 2014

    What's the point of doing a 10 best list if you put only 10 films on it?

  • Daring films lifted the artform in 2014
    Daring films lifted the artform in 2014

    Like voices crying in the wilderness — rising above that vast wasteland of movie mediocrity — came the roar of the auteurs in 2014. A rangy group with varying aesthetics, they've left an indelible imprint on cinema despite the 400 or so of the marginal that clogged our theaters...

  • Everyone loses in a December deluge of films
    Everyone loses in a December deluge of films

    I try not to publicly argue with film legends, even those who are no longer alive. But when Mae West famously said that "too much of a good thing can be wonderful," she clearly was not considering a film critic's lot in December.

  • Goodbyes abound in 'Night at the Museum' as trilogy comes to an end
    Goodbyes abound in 'Night at the Museum' as trilogy comes to an end

    "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," otherwise known as "Night at the Museum 3," rates as more determinedly heartfelt than the first and not as witty as the second (and best). Also, no Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart in jodhpurs this time around.