Disney touts 'Finding Dory,' Marvel and theatrical window at CinemaCon

Disney touts 'Finding Dory,' Marvel and theatrical window at CinemaCon
Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, encounters an octopus named Hank, voiced by Ed O'Neill, in "Finding Dory." (Disney / Pixar)

At the end of Disney's CinemaCon presentation, featuring a trailer for Marvel's "Doctor Strange" and footage from Pixar's "Finding Dory," studio distribution chief Dave Hollis delivered a reassuring message to cinema owners in Las Vegas.

"Our commitment to the theatrical window has never, ever been stronger," Hollis told exhibitors at in the Caesars Palace Colosseum on Wednesday morning before screening the company's "Captain America: Civil War."


Protecting the exclusive window — the traditional gap between a movie's theatrical release and when it becomes available on home video — is a recurring theme at the annual film industry conference. But this year, the topic has dominated the conversation, with Sean

Parker's proposed video-on-demand startup, Screening Room, emerging as a hot topic.

On Tuesday, Warner Bros. Chief Executive Kevin Tsujihara promised theater owners he wouldn't let a "third party or middleman" disrupt their business model.

It's not just Parker, though. Sony studio head Tom Rothman shrugged off Netflix's model of simultaneously releasing movies in theaters and in the home. "Let's see Netflix do that," Rothman quipped after showing footage from the Jennifer Lawrence-Chris Pratt space movie "Passengers."

But, back to the movies themselves.

Though Disney is one of Hollywood's most closely watched companies, its CinemaCon presentations aren't exactly flashy, mostly eschewing the kinds of star-powered cast appearances that its rivals feature.

Disney had a strong year at the box-office in 2015 with movies such as "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," and Hollis made sure to boast about the success of this year's "Zootopia," the animated movie that has grossed more than $850 million in ticket sales so far.

The studio surprised audience members by showing the first 27 minutes of its upcoming sequel "Finding Dory," with Hollis joking that it was a movie the studio "almost forgot to make." Its predecessor, "Finding Nemo," came out back in 2003.

Disney also played previously released trailers for Steven Spielberg's "The BFG," "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" and "Doctor Strange."

The company's reimagining of "The Jungle Book" comes out this weekend and is poised to do strong business in its debut. "This is the reason movie theaters were invented," Hollis said.

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