LAS VEGAS (Hollywood Reporter) - Warner Bros. unleashed candy-coloured, neon-bright footage from a supercharged “Speed Racer,” promised an epic crime story in its latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight,” and welcomed George Lucas back to the fold after a nearly 40-year absence Thursday.
The studio previewed its summer line-up at ShoWest, the annual conference organised by the nation’s cinema owners.
Producer Joel Silver introduced a fast-paced four minutes and 10 seconds from “Speed Racer,” a big-screen adaptation of the TV toon set for a May 9 release. It comes from writer/directors Larry and Andy Wachowski, the brothers behind the “Matrix” movies.
Silver explained that the Wachowskis took on the project, in part because they wanted to make a family-friendly movie their nephews and nieces could watch.
Christopher Nolan spoke on behalf of “The Dark Knight,” which, he said, would continue “the epic tale” begun in his 2005 release “Batman Begins” by telling “a really epic crime story” when it is released July 18.
He showed the movie’s opening bank heist sequence, which has already played in cinemas. The sequence introduces audiences to Heath Ledger as the Joker. And after calling the movie’s other leads, Christian Bale and Maggie Gyllenhaal to the stage, Nolan paid tribute to the late actor, saying, “It’s a great performance. ... I‘m very proud to have been able to work with him.”
Turning to lighter fare, Warners also previewed a sequence from its spy spoof “Get Smart,” a spy spoof based on the 1960s TV series. Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway star in the June 20 release.
“Almost 50 years later, our movie adaptation stands in the shadow of that great series, trying just not to completely suck,” director Peter Segal deadpanned.
The studio, which is in a recycling mode this summer, will launch the girls-night-out-movie “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2” on August 8.
Sanaa Hamri, who has taken over direction of the film, which re-teams America Ferrera, Alexis Bledel, Amber Tamblyn and Blake Lively, explained that the new instalment takes up three years after the first ended. “The girls are a little older, a little wilder,” she said.
Lucas, accompanied by a phalanx of “Star Wars” storm troopers -- “I never go anywhere without my army,” he quipped -- introduced the animated “The Clone Wars,” which fills in the events in that long-ago, far-away galaxy between Episodes Two and Three of the “Star Wars” saga.
Although the film, set for August 18, began as a TV series, Lucas said he decided it really belonged on the big screen since it contains “a little bit of anime, a lot of action and it’s exactly like the features, only more stylized.”
Lucas directed his first feature, 1971’s “THX 1138,” for Warner Bros.