Six years since starting, Neon has a prime spot at CinemaCon this year immediately following the State of the Industry speeches from the respective MPA and NATO chief officers, during which the distribution company unleashed first looks at several upcoming titles that are already garnering awards buzz.
Brett Morgen’s highly anticipated David Bowie documentary “Moonage Daydream” teased more details ahead of its Cannes premiere. The film utilizes over 500 assets to provide unfettered access to Bowie’s personal archives with the collaboration of his estate. Anchored by Bowie’s own insights, the documentary includes never-before-seen concert and other footage.
A clip of Bowie talking about the impression that society was creating the 21st century in 1971 grounds the theme of the simultaneously futuristic and nostalgic perspective the “Changes” singer mused on.
Bill Gerber, the executive producer of “Moonage Daydream” and former Warner Bros. president, called the film a “sonic visual extravaganza that needs to be experienced on the big screen with state-of-the-art audio,” cementing the documentary as a sure theatrical release after its 2022 Cannes premiere. Gerber added the release marks a commitment to documentarian Morgen’s “sublime, kaleidoscopic” film.
Neon is eyeing a fall release date.
Morgen explained that he first discovered Bowie when he was about 12 years old and questioned why he was different from everyone else. Through Bowie’s music, the “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” and “Jane” director learned that being himself is his greatest strength.
“In 1971, that idea was radical. In 2021, it is mainstream,” Morgen said onstage. “That is why I think David Bowie is the perfect star for this moment.”
He added, “Bowie cannot be defined. He can be experienced. We’ve crafted ‘Moonage Daydream’ to be an experience, to be a unique cinematic theatrical experience to offer audiences that which they cannot get from a book or an article.”
The film is remastered in 12.0, 7.1, and 5.1 stems so each theater can provide audiences with a truly unprecedented experience. Morgen spent two years selecting footage from the Bowie archive in 16mm and 35mm prints.
“My hope with this film is audiences find the same comfort and joy and hope that I experienced making this film,” Morgen summed up. “I think audiences will rock out, as you hopefully did to ‘Moonage,’ I think more so they will leave feeling exhilarated because through David’s music and his art, he has provided us a guide for how we can live our best lives. It is the greatest honor of my life to have worked on this material.”
The Neon panel at CinemaCon also gave more insights into David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future,” which will open only in theaters on June 3 after premiering at Cannes, as Neon’s SVP of marketing and Distributor Sumyi Antonson said to applause.
“[Casesars Palace] seems an appropriate place to launch our attack on the world with ‘Crimes of the Future,'” Cronenberg told the CinemaCon crowd.
The film stars Viggo Mortensen and Léa Seydoux as celebrity performance artists who publicly showcase the metamorphosis of human organs in avant-garde performances. However, the acts capture the attention of a National Organ Registry investigator, played by Kristen Stewart, and the true mission becomes clear: Organ transplants will lead to the next phase of human evolution.
Cronenberg penned the screenplay 20 years ago, and producer Robert Lantos urged him to revisit it amid the pandemic. The film was shot in Greece last summer, following writer/director Cronenberg’s appearances as an actor on “Star Trek: Discovery” Season 4.
Lantos explained that while “Crimes of the Future” was two decades in the making, the film is remarkably about our present, with the script being “more relevant than ever.” Lantos thanked Neon’s Tom Quinn for boarding the film from day one and crafting a “brilliant marketing job” to promote the festival contender.
Cronenberg introduced a sneak peek at “Crimes of the Future,” saying, “I could spend a lot of time describing the movie to you but Neon has made a fabulous trailer which no one has seen until now, and you are about to see the trailer for ‘Crimes of the Future’ for the first time ever. It is very much what the film is.”
From eyelids sewn shut amid hushed whispers discussing organ transferral to gory dissection scenes, “Crimes of the Future” certainly isn’t for the squeamish.
Neon additionally teased an exclusive trailer for the Sundance documentary “Fire of Love,” featuring a voiceover from Miranda July and boasting a current 100 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.
Tony Maglio and Chris Lindahl contributed reporting.