Disney opened CinemaCon on Wednesday with new looks at Finding Dory and a full screening of Captain America: Civil War.
The studio’s presentation to movie theater owners lacked any big announcements but offered a few interesting tidbits about their upcoming slate. For example, they revealed that they’ve been conducting test screenings of their live-action Beauty and the Beast, described as a “breathtaking reimagining,” and said the reception from audiences has been “nothing short of extraordinary.” The movie hits theaters next March. Unfortunately, no footage or stills were shared (though they did share a very brief clip at last year’s CinemaCon). Now that we’re less than a year away from the film’s opening, we’re hoping Disney starts releasing previews online soon.
The studio’s head of distribution Dave Hollis commented on why they’ve been creating so many live-action fairytales, or “modern fairytales” as he put them. “They work!” he said simply, noting their numerous box offices successes over the past few years including Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent.
The majority of the presentation was taken up by Dory and Cap previews. First, Finding Dory director Andrew Stanton took the stage to share footage from the Finding Nemo sequel and explained why he decided to make the movie. “Honestly, I thought Nemo was done. I had no plans for a sequel,” he said. “Then it was seven or eight years later and I watched the film again and I started to think about the movie again, and I started to worry about Dory. I started to worry that she might get lost again. I had seen her as this tragic character, always alone […] So that really bothered me, I couldn’t sleep.”
With that, Stanton and Disney shared a nice surprise: the first 27 minutes of Finding Dory. After an adorable opening scene (which Stanton asked us not to spoil because test audiences have been falling in love with it so he wants to keep it a surprise), the first half-hour of the film depicts Dory realizing she needs to find her parents, and her journey (with Marlin and Nemo at her side) to their supposed location. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the story moved into the search for mom and dad, and found that Pixar’s well-known sense of humor was scattered throughout the footage. I can only speak for the first third of the movie, but based on what I saw, Finding Dory is set to be a cute, funny, and beautiful story when it opens this June. I can’t wait to see how the heart of the film is wrapped up in the third act — where Pixar usually puts on their best work.
Disney then pivoted into a segment on their Marvel slate, ending with a full screening of Captain America: Civil War for the audience. In this writer’s opinion, the film is sure to please all Marvel fans thanks to several amazing moments between all of the heroes, including Ant-Man and Spider-Man, who are interacting with their fellow Avengers for the first time. The movie hits U.S. theaters May 6.