Sony Pictures had the honor of opening the 2021 CinemaCon with a presentation featuring an A-list star-filled sizzle reel and the official premiere of the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer. The studio followed that up with a surprise screening of the much-anticipated new entry in the Ghostbusters franchise, Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
Prior to the juicy goodness of the sizzle reel, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group President Josh Greenstein and Chairman and CEO Tom Rothman reiterated the core of Sony’s strategy is preserving and protecting the theatrical window. “Debuting movies simultaneously in theaters and in the home is devastating to our collective business,” stated Greenstein to enthusiastic applause from the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) audience gathered at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
Sony’s presentation kept its most of its talent at home and let the sizzle reel speak for their slate of 2021-2022 films. The packed teaser reel featured Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Uncharted with Tom Holland, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2, and A Journal for Jordan directed by Denzel Washington and starring Michael B. Jordan. The footage from Where the Crawdads Sing was stunning and Brad Pitt kicking butt was showcased in the Bullet Train footage. Morbius, Devotion and Venom: Let There Be Carnage also showed off previously unseen footage as part of the promotional reel.
Tom Holland and Benedict Cumberbatch didn’t appear in person but did team up for a video message in which they joked about the fact Spider-Man: No Way Home was noticeably missing from the sizzle reel. And after Sony hustled to take down a bootleg trailer over the weekend, the impressive official trailer arrived to solid applause from the NATO attendees. Wisely, Sony dropped the real trailer immediately after premiering it at CinemaCon.
Father and son filmmakers Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman took the stage in support of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Ivan recalled the first time he screened Ghostbusters for a preview audience back in 1984. They’d just finished shooting and the audience saw a rough cut without a finished score or special effects. “Can you imagine showing Ghostbusters with no special effects?” asked Ivan, laughing. Nothing came out of the proton packs, the frig was empty, Slimer was just a light, and only a bobbing head was seen in place of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. “The audience groaned but they were having a good time!” recalled Ivan Reitman.
Ivan said Jason did a spectacular job on Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and Jason revealed he wanted this to be a film for the whole family. “Ghostbusters is a rare franchise. It doesn’t belong to the filmmakers…it doesn’t belong to me..it doesn’t belong to my father — technically, it belongs to Sony — but it belongs to you,” said Jason Reitman.
“You are about to go on the biggest Easter egg hunt of all time,” teased Jason Reitman immediately before the film began. Although those in attendance are restricted from revealing anything about Ghostbusters: Afterlife, it’s okay to pass along Reitman’s warning: Stick around for something special in the credits.
Audiences everywhere will be able to catch Ghostbusters: Afterlife exclusively in theaters on November 11, 2021.
2020’s CinemaCon was canceled because of the pandemic and 2021’s CinemaCon is taking place with strict Covid-19 protocols in place. All attendees must be vaccinated or present a negative test, and masks are required indoors. During a normal year, the major studios would be flying in talent from their upcoming releases to woo the National Association of Theatre Owners attendees. This year’s presentations are expected to be less flashy, with more video presentations than in-person introductions.