By Lindsey Bahr
AP Film Writer
LAS VEGAS — From the bodacious bodies of “Baywatch” to the literary credentials of August Wilson’s “Fences,” Paramount Pictures has a diverse slate of films on its schedule.
The studio teased some upcoming properties Monday at CinemaCon, kicking off the annual gathering of theater owners and exhibitors, with stars, footage, and some announcements.
Paramount confirmed that Denzel Washington and Viola Davis will reprise their Tony-winning roles in a big screen adaptation of “Fences,” which Washington will direct.
Audiences also saw some comedic, self-referential footage from the “Baywatch” movie starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron, scheduled for release next year. Johnson, Efron, and co-star Alexandra Daddario teased the film in a video message bedecked in the signature red bathing suits.
Stars present at the conference included Megan Fox and Will Arnett who took the stage to hype “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” which comes out on June 3, while Jack Huston was there to tout the Aug. 19, 3D release of the “Ben-Hur” remake.
Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams also showed footage from their coming sci-fi drama “Story of Your Life” from “Sicario” director Denis Villeneuve. The film follows a linguist (Adams) who is called upon to interpret the language of an alien species that have landed on earth.
“There’s not enough cinema in Hollywood where we have a strong, intelligent, badass female lead. That’s why I did it,” Renner said — a moment of life in an otherwise flat presentation.
Tom Cruise, who last year wowed the exhibitor audience with his tales of practical stunts in “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” addressed the conference this year in video message from London. Cruise said the next “Mission: Impossible” film will start shooting this fall, but first previewed “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” which Ed Zwick, who directed Cruise in “The Last Samurai,” is directing.
Later, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams accepted a showman of the year award. On stage, Abrams, a backer of the controversial Screening Room, made a plea for the exhibitors to be “thoughtful partners in the evolution of this medium.”
“We have to adapt. We have to meet that challenge with creative solutions and not fear,” Abrams said. “To me there is nothing better than going to the movies and there never will be.”
Despite having Abrams and “Star Trek Beyond” writer and star on hand, Paramount mysteriously did not preview any footage from the Justin Lin-directed film which hits theaters this summer.
Abrams, a producer, only said that it is “looking like the most thrilling ‘Star Trek’ yet.”
CinemaCon runs through Thursday.