‘Dragon 2,’ ‘Monsters Univ.’ Shine at CinemaCon

CinemaCon-150

Animated features took center stage at the CinemaCon confab in Las Vegas today. The industry event, which targets exhibitors, producers, distributors, equipment and concession industry professionals, was held this week (April 15-18) at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

On Wednesday, Disney offered a sneak preview of Pixar’s highly anticipated summer pic Monsters University, which opens in theaters on June 21. The early buzz on the feature is overwhelmingly positive, and we won’t be surprised if the pic, which goes back to Mike and Scully’s college years, gets a huge thumbs up from both audiences and critics this summer.

Fox and DreamWorks Animation stole the spotlight on Thursday as they showed a 3D clip from the June 2014 sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2, which is written and directed by Dean DeBlois. In the clip, Hiccup is now a strapping teenager and rides on his dragon Toothless’ back. The DreamWorks session also included a peek at the March 2014 release Mr. Peabody and Sherman, which is based on the classic Jay Ward toon introduced in Rocky and His Friends in the late 1950s. Rob Minkoff (Stuart Little) is directing the CG toon. Also previewed was DWA’s July 17 release, Turbo, which is directed by David Soren follows the adventures of an ordinary garden snail who dreams of being the fastest snail in the world.

On Thursday evening, CinemaCon will present its Big Screen Achievement Awards to a wide variety of actors and directors, among which are Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Aubrey Plaza (Breakthrough Performers), Morgan Freeman (Cinema Icon), Armie Hammer (Male Star of Tomorrow), Hailee Steinfeld (Female Star of Tomorrow), Justin Lin (Director), Elizabeth Banks (Award of Excellence), Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson (Comedy Duo), Harrison Ford (Lifetime Achievement Award), Chris Pine (Male Star) and Melissa McCarthy (Female Star).

For more info, visit www.cinemacon.com.

How to Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon