'Avatar: The Way of Water'

'Avatar: The Way of Water' opens in theaters on December 16th. Photo courtesy of the movie's Twitter account.

Though Disney didn’t come to CinemaCon with some giant sequel movie reveal the way Warner Bros. did, the company still had plenty of information (and footage) to share, including about one of the most anticipated sequels in quite some time.

Yes, James Cameron’s first follow-up to his sci-fi hit ‘Avatar’ has an official title and it is… ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’. Not the most inspiring title, but if the world of cinema has learned anything, it’s that you should never count out Cameron.

Though the director wasn’t at CinemaCon, he sent a video message from New Zealand thanking cinema owners for their support and pledging his own backing for the theatrical experience. “We set out to push the limits to what cinema can do,” he said, before adding, “Jon and I are here with you. We can do this.”

“Jon” in this case refers to producer (and longtime Cameron colleague) Jon Landau, who was in person at the event to hype up the movie. “We need to make sure audiences have an experience they can’t get anywhere else, and that needs to be exclusively in theaters,” Landau said, before cueing a teaser.

The impressive footage focuses on Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri and includes gorgeous shots of Pandora’s bright blue water — both above and below the surface; Toruk, the flying creatures introduced in the first film; and new whale-like creatures.

'Avatar: The Way of Water'

'Avatar: The Way of Water' opens in theaters on December 16th. Photo courtesy of the movie's Twitter account.

And the official synopsis for the movie also revealed a few more details: set more than a decade after the events of the first film, ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure.

Old friends and old foes will be back, including Joel David Moore’s friendly Norm Spellman and Giovanni Ribisi’s corporate stooge Parker Selfridge. Also returning? Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang, though we’ll have to wait and see exactly who they’re playing given that both their characters died in the original film. Which is not to say both Dr. Grace Augustine and Colonel Miles Quaritch can’t return, of course…

New this time are Cliff Curtis, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement, Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh, and Kate Winslet, who of course starred for the director in ‘Titanic’ and yet somehow agreed to come back and spend lots more hours in water.

And all this, of course, is just the first sequel – Cameron and co. are still hard at work on three sequels. ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ is finally due to hit theaters on December 16th, followed by the third movie on December 20th, 2024, the fourth on December 18th, 2026, and the fifth on December 22nd, 2028. And to keep the story in our minds, the original film will be re-released in theaters on September 23rd with restored picture and sound.

Finally, backing up his and Cameron’s support for theatrical, Landau announced that the teaser will debut exclusively in theaters, attached before ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’.

Avatar: The Way of Water

Not Yet RatedDec 16th, 2022

Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, “Avatar: The Way of Water” begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their... Read the Plot

Talking of the good Doctor, Disney had Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige on hand to let slip that he and his team are strategizing about the next 10 years of movies and TV shows from the MCU, though (to no-one’s real surprise) offering no details about what that might entail.

He also brought roughly 15 minutes of footage from ‘Multiverse of Madness’ with him, and the action/cameo-packed footage wowed the crowd, providing a helpful boost for the movie, which arrives in theaters on May 6th (including, as mentioned above, that new ‘Avatar’ teaser).

'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' Poster. Photo Courtesy of Disney+.

'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' Poster. Photo Courtesy of Disney+.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

"Enter a new dimension of Strange."
74
PG-132 hr 6 minMay 6th, 2022

Doctor Strange, with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious... Read the Plot

Team Pixar was present too, and had several minutes of ‘Lightyear’ to show. The movie, which features the “real” space hero Buzz whose cinematic adventures spawned the Buzz toy of the ‘Toy Story’ films, is a throwback to the sorts of sci-fi adventures that dominated the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Directed by longtime Pixar animator and filmmaker Angus MacLane, it stars Chris Evans as the voice of Buzz after he’s marooned on a hostile planet 4.2 million light-years from Earth alongside his commander and their crew.

As they try to find a way back home through space and time, he’s joined by a group of ambitious recruits and his charming robot companion cat, Sox. Complicating matters and threatening the mission is the arrival of Zurg, an imposing presence with an army of ruthless robots and a mysterious agenda.

The voice cast also includes Uzo Aduba as Buzz’s commander and best friend Alisha Hawthorne, Peter Sohn as Sox, plus Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Efren Ramirez, and Keira Hairston. The movie flies into theaters on June 17th.

Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans) and Alisha Hawthorne (voice of Uzo Aduba)

(L to R) Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans) and Alisha Hawthorne (voice of Uzo Aduba) in Disney and Pixar’s 'Lightyear,' which opens in U.S. theaters on June 17, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

On a very different animated front was six minutes’ worth of footage from ‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’. The popular TV ‘toon is making the seemingly traditional leap from small screens to big with this outsize adventure featuring the family-run restaurant.

For the movie’s story, Bob’s (H. Jon Benjamin) plans for a profitable summer are upended when a giant sinkhole opens up in front of his property, and while the kids are delighted to venture within, Bob and wife Linda must explore other revenue avenues. The footage was up to the show’s regular blend of offbeat family interactions, musical moments, and weirdness.

The cast for this one is a blend of the show’s regular voices and some additions, though most have shown up on the series at one point or another. Alongside Benjamin, that includes Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Larry Murphy, John Roberts, Kristen Schaal, Zach Galifianakis, and Kevin Kline.

‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ will head to theaters on May 27.

The Bob's Burgers Movie

"Get your buns in theaters."
PG-131 hr 42 minMay 27th, 2022

When a ruptured water main creates an enormous sinkhole right in front of Bob's Burgers, it blocks the entrance indefinitely and ruins the Belchers’ plans for... Read the Plot

Lastly, there was a first look at David O. Russell’s new movie, which finally has a confirmed name: ‘Amsterdam’. Described as a ‘romantic crime epic’, Russell’s first film since 2015’s ‘Joy’ is a blend of fact and fiction as three close friends find themselves at the center of one of the most shocking secret plots in American history.

‘Amsterdam’ reunites Russell with ‘American Hustle’ and ‘The Fighter’s Christian Bale, along with an even more veteran collaborator, Robert De Niro (who, including this one, has now appeared in four of the director’s movies). Other stars include Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Alessandro Nivola, Andrea Riseborough, Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Rock, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Shannon, Mike Myers, Taylor Swift, Timothy Olyphant, Zoe Saldana, and Rami Malek.

Following a sizzle reel from the movie, Disney announced that it’ll open in theaters on November 4th.

Perhaps not as big a presentation from the company that dominates pop culture at the moment as one might have thought, but certainly big enough.

Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington

(L to R) Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington in director David O. Russell's 'Amsterdam.' Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Not Yet RatedNov 4th, 2022

In the 1930s, three friends witness a murder, become suspects themselves, and uncover one of the most outrageous plots in American history. Read the Plot