The unexpected highlight of this year’s CinemaCon was undoubtedly Ang Lee‘s “Life Of Pi.” The industry convention (which is gaining a larger press presence year by year) found 20th Century Fox unveiling the first footage from Ang Lee’s 3D project that the studio has had in development for years, with a variety of directors unable to crack it. Well, it seems Lee has not only found a way into the story based on the acclaimed novel by Yann Martel, but knocked it out of the park. Reactions were breathless, with many proclaiming after only seeing ten minutes of footage that is was going to be a major Oscar contender. And while that remains to be seen, Fox is clearly buoyed by the early word and want to start getting audiences excited too.
Buying a ticket for “Prometheus,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” or “Ice Age: Continental Drift” in 3D? Well, you’ll be seeing uncut scenes from the movie — instead of a traditional trailer — playing before the feature presenatation, in an effort to best show off the special effects which are said to be dazzling. Among the sequences planned on being shown is the sinking of a cargo ship filled with zoo animals, which is one of the scenes that got the most buzz out of CinemaCon.
“This film is special and different, and so we didn’t want to give people the same-old, same-old,” said Tom Rothman, co-chairman of Fox. It also continues the growing trend of lengthy previews being attached to feature films with 6 minutes of “The Amazing Spider-Man” playing in front of “Men In Black III,” “The Dark Knight Rises” prologue unspooling in front of “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” and of course, Fox’s own 15-minute “Avatar” preview a few years back.
And given the diversity of movies they’ve chosen to premiere this footage in front of, it’s pretty clear they are hoping that “Life Of Pi” will be massive, four-quadrant hit. Time will tell. “Life Of Pi” opens on November 21st. [THR]