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CinemaCon 2016: Fox To Balance Franchise Films With Early Awards Favorite

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CinemaCon 2016: Fox To Balance Franchise Films With Early Awards Favorite

Over the last few days, Hollywood took a trip to Las Vegas for the annual CinemaCon event. It was there that exhibitors from all around the country came to see what movies are going to be burning up their screens through the rest of the year and beyond. This is a studio-by-studio recap of the biggest news to come out of the week-long event.

Here are Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ: FOXA)'s top takeaways.

‘Avatar’ Expands

Fox has always been a franchise player but instead of focusing on its 2016 slate, the studio shined the spotlight on its future – specifically its future with James Cameron. The Oscar-winning visionary director was brought out to speak to the concerns over “Avatar’s” multiple delays.

The ambitious director did what he does best and doubled-down on his prized series by revealing the movie would now hit theaters in 2018, and instead of there being three sequels in total, he’s making four.

Investors and analysts were quick to register their opinions, which ran the gauntlet, as they will continue to right up until their street dates.

Related Link: National Association Of Theater Owners Breaks Silence On Proposed "Screening Room" Product

2016 Tentpoles

Despite the “Avatar” bonanza bombshell, Fox did promote its 2016 slate, which includes such big name franchises as “Ice Age,” “X-Men” and of course “Independence Day.” Exhibitors are well aware these are going to draw audiences and it was important these films not get lost in the shuffle of the overall convention.

The other area of Fox that has investors interested is its partnership with DreamWorks Animation. Up until last year the relationship had been a source of stress as the movies haven’t delivered. Last year’s “Home” changed that, and while this year’s “Kung Fu Panda 3” didn’t match those heights, it showed the ship was being righted.

Expect its next film “Trolls,” based on the popular toy, to keep that trend going – especially with Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake providing the voices.

‘Birth’ Of A Hit

Sundance is always a time where awards buzz is built, and no film had more of it than “The Birth of a Nation.” The heavily chased film was ultimately won by Fox’s Searchlight division and is the odds on favorite for next year’s Best Picture.

Yes, it’s insanely early to talk about next year’s Oscars, but this drama about slaves in 1831 could be the real deal and its breakout director/star Nate Parker is primed to be Hollywood’s next big thing.

CinemaCon audiences received an early look at an extended trailer, while Fox put out a shorter teaser trailer to the general public.

Both garnered the same stunned reaction.

Next: CinemaCon 2016: Lions Gate Looks For New Cash Cows Following "Hunger Games" Conclusion

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