Sprinkling stardust

A still from Thor: Ragnarok slated for release this year

Some of Hollywood’s biggest movie studios took center stage at the CinemaCon last week - wheeling out a vast array of stars to promote their upcoming slates of blockbusters.

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The cast of Justice League at the CinemaCon

Hollywood decamps to the Nevada desert for four days every year, taking over the iconic Caesar's Palace hotel to show theater operators what they can expect to be making their money from over the following 12 to 24 months.

STX, in business for just two years, was first up, putting forward legendary sci-fi director Luc Besson to present footage from his latest adventure, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

The 58 year old French auteur has made a string of hits, including The Fifth Element, Leon: The Professional, Lucy and Nikita.

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The cast of Baywatch

Female power

The US$180mn Valerian - which comes out on July 21 - centers on a dark force threatening Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. 

Blacks ops agents Valerian (Dean DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard the universe.

Numerous stars, including Jessica Chastain, Aaron Sorkin, Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis took to the stage to discuss upcoming projects in various stages of development.

Wahlberg introduced action flick Mile 22 saying he hoped it would be “the thing that defines me,” while Mila chatted about motherhood and the sequel to smash-hit Bad Moms, due for release in November.

Oscar nominee Jessica stars in Molly’s Game as Molly Bloom, a real-life skier who lost out on her Olympic dream and became an organizer of underground poker games for the Hollywood elite.

I like that the film explores female power and what that means in society, said Jessica, who got to meet Molly during production. 

It was a busy day for Wahlberg, who was among a role call of A-listers enlisted in Paramount’s afternoon presentation at a packed Colisseum theatre. 

The studio launched its two-hour extravaganza with Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron fronting the segment for Baywatch - the upcoming big screen adaptation of the popular 1990s lifeguard show.

Avengers of the Beach'

Surrounded by 20 models in Baywatch beachwear, Johnson called up Efron, Jon Bass, Alexandria Daddario and Priyanka Chopra, and declared: “I give you the Avengers of the Beach, Team Baywatch.

George Clooney, Matt Damon and Julianne Moore took to the stage to present footage from Suburbicon, providing the first genuinely comedic moment of the afternoon.

Clooney - who directed the noir thriller from a script by the Coen brothers - cheekily berated Paramount and Damon for its decision to release Suburbicon on November 3, the same day Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters.

“Who’s Thor?” Clooney, 55, wanted to know.

“I’m Thor, if I don’t use my thaddle. Theriously,” replied Damon.

The 46 year old was back onstage later with director Alexander Payne to introduce the first footage of Downsizing, a comedic satire based on a world where people can be shrunk down to save on household bills.

Then Anthony Hopkins, Wahlberg and other cast members from Transformers: The Last Knight were sent on with director Michael Bay to discuss the technological advances which went into making the movie.

Disney’s evening presentation offered little in the way of breaking news on its upcoming slate, which includes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and the hotly anticipated movie - Star Wars: The Last Jedi 

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