The actor prepared plenty of material for tonight’s CinemaCon movie marketing event in Las Vegas after he paraded in costume and character through the amused audience of theater owners to promote his upcoming Paramount film The Dictator. Baron Cohen got in digs at Hollywood before a late-night surprise screening elsewhere. “I thought I was going to be the only dictator here tonight,” he said. “Imagine my surprise when I found out Jeffrey Katzenberg would be here.” He told exhibitors: “I hope you show my film on all of your screens… Trust me, there are bigger bombs than John Carter.” Staying with the riff, he urged Disney to “just shoot the executive” responsible for the film. “Wait a minute, you did” — referring to studio chief Rich Ross’s firing. By way of introduction, Baron Cohen claimed to have starred in movies such as “When Harry Kidnapped Sally, The 14 Year Old Virgin, and The Planet Of The Rapes“. As he told the industry audience, “My film will be released on May 16. As for your families, we’ll see.”
The shtick was part of Paramount’s and DreamWorks Animation’s effort to impress the exhibition community with the potential audience appeal of their 2012 slates. (Paramount distributes DWA.) Katzenberg presented extended clips from The Guardians and Madagascar 3 and intro’ed Chris Rock to talk up the threequel being released June 8th. Although Madagascar will be be up against “Spider-Man, Batman, and all this other crap,” he said, “I believe the biggest movie of the summer will be Madagascar 3” which he says reminded him of Pixar’s Toy Story 3. “It can’t get no better.” After Rock was through, Katzenberg got a bigger laugh by asking the audience: “Have I ever mentioned to you guys how much I like 3D?
As for Paramount’s other big bet this summer, Jon Chu, the director of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, called the film’s star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson “franchise Viagra. He brings everyone’s game up.” Johnson was presented an award as the CinemaCon Action Star of the Decade and gushed that the film would be “a massive hit”.