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Dwayne Johnson rocks Caesars Palace on opening day of CinemaCon

Updated March 28, 2017 - 11:40 am

How do Hollywood studios distract theater owners from the fact that they’re once again exploring faster ways of getting films to consumers in their homes, thus endangering the very existence of movie theaters?

They hit ’em with The Rock.

A couple of times, if necessary.

Dwayne Johnson was among the stars trotted out in the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on Monday during the first day of CinemaCon. He’s expected to return to the stage Tuesday to promote his upcoming big-screen version of “Baywatch” during the annual convention of the National Association of Theater Owners.

It’s just another step in the uneasy dance between studios and theaters. For 51 weeks out of the year, studios bemoan the current agreement under which they won’t release a movie on home video until at least 90 days after it opens in theaters. This allows theater owners to maximize their profits, but it leaves studios to shoulder the cost of promoting a movie’s theatrical release and, months later, its home video release. A shorter 45-day or even 30-day window would save studios tens of millions of dollars a year in marketing, but it would financially cripple theaters.

CinemaCon, then, is a chance to rally theater owners with some good, old-fashioned razzle dazzle as a cavalcade of stars show up, smile and say some version of “movies were made to be seen in theaters.”

Johnson was on hand, along with cast members Jack Black, Nick Jonas and Karen Gillan, to introduce the world premiere of footage from “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” After making a joke about getting naked, which was greeted with numerous catcalls, Johnson didn’t miss a beat before responding with “Thank you, Mom.”

Elsewhere during Sony’s opening night presentation, Ryan Gosling, talking about his experiences filming “Blade Runner 2049,” revealed that “a big portion” of the sequel takes place in Las Vegas. “Prepare to start going steady with the edge of your seats,” the “La La Land” Oscar nominee said.

Writer-director Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”), along with stars Jon Hamm and Ansel Elgort, showed off the opening scene of the high-octane “Baby Driver,” sort of a flashier, rock ‘n’ roll version of “The Transporter,” which in no way should be confused with this weekend’s “Boss Baby.” It received such a tremendous response earlier this month at South by Southwest that Sony announced its release date was just moved up from Aug. 11 to June 28.

New Spidey Tom Holland and Marvel mastermind Kevin Feige debuted the second trailer for “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Attendees got an electrifying first look at Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba in Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower.” And they were granted a sneak peek at scenes from the animated “The Emoji Movie,” which somehow is still a thing.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com. On Twitter: @life_onthecouch.

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