CinemaCon highlights: The Rock becomes a superhero and 'Elvis' returns to Vegas

The major movie teasers and trailers released at the Warner Bros cinema event so far

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson speaks on stage during CinemaCon 2022 at Caesars Palace on April 26 in Las Vegas. AFP
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Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson topped a superhero-packed bill as Warner Bros presented its list of coming blockbusters at CinemaCon on Tuesday, while Baz Luhrmann's Elvis graced the Caesars Palace Las Vegas stage at the movie industry summit.

Johnson, Hollywood's top-grossing actor, appeared unannounced to promote his new DC film Black Adam at the annual gathering, where Warner bosses also confirmed a sequel to Robert Pattinson's The Batman is on the way.

Further superhero sequels Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, as well as new standalone film The Flash, were also presented to cinema executives and managers, who gather each year at the hotel and casino to be courted by Hollywood's top studios and A-listers.

Johnson described his character in Black Adam as "the Dirty Harry of the superhero world," with ambiguous morals.

"Heroes don't kill people," says one villain in never-before-seen footage, to which Black Adam replies: "Well I do."

Warner and Johnson are banking on Black Adam, out in October, becoming a major draw for the DC superhero film universe, which has grossed billions without reaching the heights of the rival and record-breaking Marvel films such as Avengers: Endgame.

Johnson surprised the CinemaCon audience by pretending to speak from Hawaii via video, before suddenly appearing in the Caesars Palace ballroom.

Beyond the superhero fare, which dominates modern megaplexes, Baz Luhrmann took to the stage to discuss Elvis.

Luhrmann called the film, which is out in June and stars Austin Butler as Elvis Presley and Tom Hanks as his domineering manager, as less a biopic and more the tale of "America in the 1950s, '60s and '70s".

"At the centre of culture, for the good, the bad and the ugly, is the figure Elvis Presley," said Luhrmann, describing the music icon as "the original superhero".

"What this movie is about is America in those three epochs: Elvis the rebel; Elvis the highest-paid actor in Hollywood; and Elvis the living legend, the icon, trapped in that hotel not 10 minutes from here," he told the Las Vegas crowd.

Early footage was shown from Wonka, starring Timothee Chalamet as Roald Dahl's chocolatier, telling his story before he opened his factory, and Olivia Wilde's Don't Worry Darling, a twisty thriller inspired by mind-bending movies such as The Truman Show and Inception, out in September.

Earlier on Tuesday, an experimental new David Bowie documentary featuring never-before-seen footage and the late music superstar's own narration was previewed by indie studio Neon.

Moonage Daydream will have its premiere at next month's glitzy Cannes film festival, before hitting cinemas in September. It is the first film to be approved by Bowie's estate, which gave director Brett Morgen access to thousands of hours of archives.

"Bowie cannot be defined. He can be experienced," said Morgen.

"We've crafted Moonage Daydream to be a unique cinematic theatrical experience and to offer audiences that which they can't get from a book or an article."

Neither biopic nor traditional documentary, the film blends Bowie's songs, concert clips, extensive fan footage and a series of surreal, trippy and abstract images.

Brett Morgen, director of the David Bowie documentary 'Moonage Daydream', discusses the film at CinemaCon at Caesars Palace Las Vegas on April 26. AP

Neon also previewed Crimes of the Future from David Cronenberg, the director of Crash and The Fly, who pioneered the "body horror" genre.

The film starring Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen and Lea Seydoux imagines a world in which humans are forced to speed up their evolution with grisly organ transplants and body modifications to survive their changing environment.

Cronenberg told AFP the film, which will also premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, was "a difficult film maybe, an extreme film, an unusual film."

CinemaCon runs until Thursday.

Updated: April 27, 2022, 8:15 AM