It wasn't the most enthralling news week by any means. For the most part, the little news of consequence* that broke this week did so from the fifth annual CinemaCon, an industry trade show put on by the National Association of Theatre Owners in Las Vegas' Caesars Palace. Because, you know, where better to stage a celebration of Hollywood cinema than the barren, nightmare hellscape of unfettered capitalism that is Las Vegas? Saying that, though, I think calling CinemaCon a 'celebration' may be a bit of a stretch; from the outside, it all seems tantamount to middle-aged dudes from the six major Hollywood studios waving their dicks about in order to sell their wares to exhibitors.

Basically, the idea is that each of the majors delivers a presentation in which they brag about the size of their upcoming slate of films, show off trailers and exclusive footage from those films, and push their biggest stars on stage to confirm the slate's girth. All while sycophantic members of the press and industry boldly proclaim on Twitter that every single one of these films looks "amazing" and "incredible." Quite honestly, the whole thing sounds fucking awful. Still, while it really seems like an excuse for industry people to get shitfaced, eat lots of party food and meet The Rock (which is fair enough, he seems lovely), some news does occasionally crawl out of the abyss. So let's see what crawled out this time - it's not like there's anything better to do.

I think it's safe to say that biggest news to emerge from CinemaCon came Wednesday with Sony Pictures' announcement of an animated Spider-Man film, due July 20th 2018. If you followed the story of the Sony hack last year, this may not come as much of a surprise given that this exact idea was discussed in leaked emails; but even so, I suppose it's encouraging to see that Sony have been largely undeterred following the leaks. Understandably, given how far away the film actually is, very little was revealed in the CinemaCon announcement beyond the involvement of Phil Lord and Chris Miller - the directors of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009), The Lego Movie (2014), 21 Jump Street (2012) and 22 Jump Street (2014) who have thus far demonstrated an incredible knack for turning would-be garbage into absolute gold. But then again, their involvement was also leaked, so we already knew that. In Sony's words, Lord & Miller will "mastermind" the project, which, for those not fluent in PR, means they've signed on to write the film's treatment (contrary to some reports, the press release only specifies the treatment) and produce along with Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach and Amy Pascal.

Considering that this new Spider-Man is currently bereft of such necessities as a director (though reportedly Lord & Miller may direct), writers and stars - and a title for that matter - we can assume that it's very, very early on in the development stage. But even so, recently appointed Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman still managed to disclose that the film will exist independently of Sony's future plans for the live-action Spider-Man franchise with Marvel Studios, and that it's "fucking awesome." But while Sony has only confirmed something that the industry already knew, I imagine their decision to go ahead with the film and announce it at such an industry-centric event was part of a concerted effort to restore their beleaguered image following the hacks. I'm sure the eventual film will be okay - Lord & Miller are very talented, and the comedy treatment they will likely write for this animated Spider-Man will probably suit the property more than a dour live-action film - but right now it's not a film, it's a promise to shareholders and the film industry writ large. It's a release date, not a developed script; a calculated statement delivered by the new chairman that Sony won't withdraw. And that's fine, I guess; hopefully the film is good.

Elsewhere in Sony's presentation, they looked to further demonstrate that, post-leak, their dick is totally still relevant and competitive in the marketplace by showing off their plans for the next two years. This included screening footage from, among many others, the latest James Bond film Spectre and Chris Columbus upcoming garbage heap/Adam Sandler comedy Pixels, as well as announcing a sequel to the Denzel Washington film The Equalizer (The Sequelizer?), all of which I'm sure will make both Sony and theatre owners plenty of money. However, while their dick was thoroughly waved by the presentation's end, they failed to get any huge stars on stage, which is really how you really ingratiate yourself to theatre owners. Paramount's presentation, for example, went over well despite being very light on news. The only new information that could be gleaned was that Michael Bay is working on a new Transformers film, which we basically knew anyway. So in lieu of anything that could be interesting for those not in attendance, they got Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Cruise (with co-stars Simon Pegg and Rebecca Ferguson) on stage to discuss Terminator Genisys and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation respectively and shout the word "billion" at the exhibitors. Apparently they loved it.

The presentations from Fox and Warner Bros seemed to follow in kind. After screening Paul Feig's Spy to a warm reception, the former pulled an interesting move by showing the first ever footage from Alejandro G. Inarritu's The Revenant, David O. Russell's Joy, and Ridley Scott's The Martian; but they also started the presentation with a dubstep remix of the Peanuts theme and ended it with Matt Damon talking science, so you can't have it all. Warner Bros, on the other hand, appeared to dispense with anything remotely exciting, opting instead to parade the likes of Dwayne Johnson and Charlize Theron on stage. Disney's presentation was similarly devoid of news, but pointedly so. They only needed a slide sporting the logos of their upcoming films to establish that their dick is undeniably the biggest. On top of their in-house productions such as The BFG and Beauty and the Beast, they own Marvel Studios, Star Wars and Pixar; they have effectively monopolised nostalgia and will confidently stack up the billions as a result. Rather than pander to the exhibitors with stars, they spent a mere twenty-five minutes presenting and let their work do the rest of the talking by screening Pixar's latest Inside Out for the first time. It seems that there's an embargo up, but the buzz coming from CinemaCon was definitely positive.

Universal wrapped-up proceedings, and bought with them some actual gosh darn news! The biggest story being that an eighth Fast & Furious film is happening, and will be released April 14, 2017. There was some speculation that Furious 7 would be the last in the series given the untimely death of star Paul Walker, but considering that it has become the sixth highest grossing film ever in the space of three weeks (it's almost like audiences respond to onscreen diversity, shock horror), you can understand their reasoning for continuing the series. The other big story to come from Universal's presentation was that both Fifty Shades Darker (which also found a writer this week: E.L. James' husband Niall Leonard) and Fifty Shades Freed have also been given release dates: February 10th 2017, and February 9th 2018 respectively. They also announced a veritable fuck-tonne of other release-dates, which have been listed on Deadline, but who really cares when we're probably all going to see these bloody films regardless of when they're released.


The Weekly Regurgitation:

- *Unfortunately, this story broke quite late in the process of writing this article, but Adam Sandler is a giant garbage monster and a number of Native American actors and crew members walked off the set of his upcoming Netflix comedy The Ridiculous Six due to the film's portrayal of Native Americans. Good on them, I say. (Indian Country)

- *Another late story, but Jeremy Renner is a dick, Chris Evans less so. (Entertainment Weekly)

- Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan sold a detailed outline for a revisionist Jack and the Beanstalk to Disney, which he may direct. That's pretty fucking weird. (Deadline)

- DreamWorks, Sony, and Disney all have Robin Hood films in development, now Warner Bros do too. It's like they all want to burst a bubble or something. (Deadline)

- John Wick directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch will direct an adaptation of the Valiant comic Boodshot for Sony. Another Valiant comic called Harbinger will also be getting a film adaptation from Sony. These words mean nothing to me; I've never read a Valiant comic, I'm more of an Image Comics guy, so forgive my ignorance. John Wick was pretty rad though, so I look forward to anything new from Stahelski & Leitch (The Hollywood Reporter)

- Four Lions and Nightcrawler star Riz Ahmed is being eyed for Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One. That's some nice casting. (Variety)

- New films from Gaspar Noé and Apichatpong Weerasethakul have been added to the Cannes Film Festival line-up. (Cannes)

- Much to my delight, Sundance London will be returning next year after a hiatus this year. It has moved venue from The O2 Arena to the currently under construction Picturehouse Central in the West End of London. (The Hollywood Reporter)