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What is CinemaCon really like? Popverse takes you to this closed-door Hall H style event

Here's what it's been like to wander the floors of CinemaCon 2024

CinemaCon
Image credit: CinemaCon

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If you're a movie fan, you've probably noticed that a whole slew of news has been pouring out this week from CinemaCon 2024. But, you may be wondering, what exactly is CinemaCon? Is it like San Diego Comic Con?

Not really.

What is CinemaCon?

Though CinemaCon, like San Diego Comic Con, features plenty of official news announcements from studios and appearances from movie stars promoting their films, it is actually a professional trade show aimed specifically at movie theater owners.

The convention takes place each year in Las Vegas and features a Trade Show Floor with booths displaying movie theater goods that range from sodas to ice creams to popcorn seasoning as well as new theater chair technology, signage, and carpeting. While CinemaCon features presentations from the major movie studios like Warner Bros, Disney, Lionsgate, and Universal, the show also features seminars on "Working Together to Boost Mid-Budget Films" and "The Knowledge of Today's Consumer is the Currency of Tomorrow."

Photograph of props and costumes from Wicked on display
Image credit: Popverse

Related: CinemaCon 2024 coverage: All the news from one of the biggest weeks in film

CinemaCon 2024 was my first time visiting the conference, which takes place at Caesar's Palace Convention Center in Las Vegas. The studio presentations, which had a big focus (for obvious reasons) on the theatrical experiences, were not that different from what you would see at a SDCC, though maybe with a tad more studio executives talking box office numbers. Stars like Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Ariana Grande, Kevin Costner, Aziz Ansari, and Glen Powell took the stage to promote films like Furiosa, Wicked, and Twisters, but directors showed up too, with George Miller and M. Night Shamyalan, and Bong Joon Ho chatting their upcoming releases as well.

Photograph of a hand holding two DLP chips
Two DLP chips, which are used in contemporary movie projection technology | Image credit: Popverse

The real fun of the week though (beyond the studio news and seeing stars) was getting an inside peek at what is important to movie theater owners. Of course, there was a lot of lip service paid to the power of theatrical communities and the theatrical experience, but there were also serious conversations about the future of the movie theater business, as well as talks about the latest in theater technology. And, of course, just a ton of movie theater owners sitting down and talking to each other about what they're going through and their upcoming plans to keep their businesses successful.

Though things have been tough for movie theaters these past few years, as AMC CEO Adam Aron pointed out during a thinktank at the conference, there have been some bright spots too. Barbie, of course, was mentioned all weekend as a big savior of the movies, and a few independent movie owners shared with me that Godzilla Minus One and Boys in the Boat were strong performers for them as well.

Overall, the experience of attending CinemaCon was a really interesting and fun one for me. I loved getting a sneak peek into this part of the movie industry that I normally just don't get to see. Hopefully, we'll be back next year.


Catch up on our CinemaCon coverage here :All the news from one of the biggest weeks in film

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