Disney bares new films as legal battle looms | Inquirer Entertainment

Disney bares new films as legal battle looms

/ 12:25 PM April 27, 2023

The Walt Disney Company executive vice president, head of theatrical distribution, Tony Chambers, speaks about an upcoming film from Marvel Studios during the Walt Disney Studios presentation during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on April 26, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada. ETHAN MILLER / Getty Images via AFP

LAS VEGAS, United States—Disney may be embroiled in legal battles and layoffs, but the Hollywood studio stuck strictly to the script Wednesday, April 26, as it unveiled footage from new films including “Indiana Jones” and “The Little Mermaid” at CinemaCon.

Addressing movie theater bosses at the annual Las Vegas trade summit, executives made no mention of Disney’s lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, filed earlier on Wednesday, nor of the thousands of jobs currently being axed.


Instead Tony Chambers, head of theatrical distribution, offered a “whip-cracking tour” of new titles, noting this will be the first year since pre-pandemic that every Disney division—from Lucasfilm to Marvel—has movies back in theaters.


Speaking via video to introduce footage of a thrilling car chase, Harrison Ford said “playing Indiana Jones all these years has meant the world to me.”

“These films are full of adventure, heart and—for some reason—snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?” he joked, referencing the swashbuckling archaeologist’s famous phobia.

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” the franchise’s fifth movie which premieres at the Cannes film festival next month before hitting theaters June 30, stars 80-year-old Ford and Phoebe Waller-Bridge as his goddaughter Helena.

Footage shown at CinemaCon saw the pair racing in an auto-rickshaw through the labyrinthine streets of Tangiers, Morocco in hot pursuit of a villainous Mads Mikkelsen and the mysterious dial.

The duo bicker throughout the high-speed chase, with Indy telling Helena her father would be disappointed that she is “engaged to a mobster,” and she hitting back that he is an “aging graverobber.”

The movie, billed as the franchise’s finale, is directed by James Mangold, who oversaw the Oscar-winning racing drama “Ford v Ferrari” (“Le Mans ’66”).


CinemaCon offers studios the chance to dazzle movie theater owners with their upcoming movies and stars, but Disney’s pared-back presentation only featured one actress in-person.

Melissa McCarthy introduced a teaser scene from “The Little Mermaid,” Disney’s latest live-action remake, out May 26, in which she plays Ursula.

Dubbing the sea witch “one of Disney’s most delicious and iconic villains,” McCarthy presented footage of musical number “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” in which Ursula manipulates Ariel into a risky deal to live as a human for three days.

“She’s dishy, she’s a conniving broad. Maybe that’s why I relate, I don’t know,” joked McCarthy.

‘Very timely’

Disney announced that a “very timely” sci-fi thriller in which humans battle artificial intelligence in the distant, post-apocalyptic future has been renamed “The Creator,” and will be released in September.

Other movies on show included Pixar’s “Elemental,” Kenneth Branagh’s latest Poirot adventure “A Haunting in Venice,” and new theme park ride adaptation “Haunted Mansion,” starring Owen Wilson.

In the Marvel superhero series, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” releases in May, and “The Marvels” in November.

Sports comedy “Next Goal Wins,” also set for November, follows the true story of American Samoa’s disastrously poor international soccer team.

And finally that month, “Wish” will mark Disney’s 100th year with “an original animated musical adventure that draws inspirations from the classics.”

It stars Ariana DeBose as a young woman in a magical kingdom “just off the Iberian Peninsula,” where “wishes actually do come true.”

The presentation comes as Disney has laid off thousands of workers this week, under previously announced plans to seek savings by axing 7,000 roles, as streaming subscribers decline.

The studio is suing DeSantis for his administration’s takeover of its theme park district, calling it “a targeted campaign of government retaliation.”

CinemaCon runs until Thursday.  /ra


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TAGS: CinemaCon, Disney, Entertainment, films, US

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