Nobody does Las Vegas the way Mark Wahlberg does Las Vegas.
On Tuesday, the actor played 18 holes of golf at the Wynn before arriving onstage at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace by 11:30 a.m. He was there with his frequent collaborator, director Peter Berg, to tell CinemaCon attendees about their next project, “Mile 22,” which Wahlberg said he hopes will deliver the career-defining role he’s been seeking.
After a day of interviews, photo calls and time with his family, he was back onstage at 5:40 p.m. to promote “Transformers: The Last Knight,” alongside director Michael Bay and co-stars including Anthony Hopkins.
Then at 6:10 p.m., he was across the street at a red carpet event for his Wahlburgers restaurant at the Grand Bazaar Shops.
By midnight, he was probably trying out for the Las Vegas Raiders, “Invincible”-style.
The second day of the annual convention of the National Association of Theater Owners kicked off with a math-heavy presentation touting 2016’s record $11.37 billion in domestic box-office revenue, the nine titles that topped $300 million and the fact that the industry is on pace for its first ever billion-dollar March.
Thankfully, there were more than a few other big names on hand to help enliven the festivities.
Director George Clooney bantered with his “Suburbicon” star, Matt Damon, comparing the casinos they knocked over during their “Ocean’s” days in Las Vegas to the recent Bellagio robbery.
As promised, Dwayne Johnson returned, entering through the crowd accompanied by swimsuit-clad male and female models, to introduce his co-stars, whom he dubbed “The Avengers of the beach — Team Baywatch.”
Some of the day’s loudest cheers were reserved for former Vice President Al Gore, who unveiled the trailer for “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.”
Director Luc Besson (“La Femme Nikita,” “The Fifth Element”) and his leading lady, model-turned-actress Cara Delevingne, brought a trailer for “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” which looks like the sort of sci-fi epic that could either make a billion dollars or lose several hundred million.
Writer Aaron Sorkin, making his directorial debut, and Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain offered up a first look at “Molly’s Game,” based on the life of Molly Bloom, who ran the nation’s most celebrated — and celebrity-filled — underground poker game. “There’s nothin’ better than Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue,” Chastain said, in the understatement of the day.
And Mila Kunis turned up to promote the sequel “A Bad Moms Christmas,” which hasn’t even started production.
Some of the day’s most promising footage belonged to Damon. In “Suburbicon,” written by the Coen brothers, he portrays the widower of a woman at the center of a life-insurance fraud investigation. And in “Downsizing,” from director Alexander Payne (“Nebraska”), Damon stars alongside Kristen Wiig in an absurdist story about people who volunteer to be shrunken to miniature size in order to afford a more luxurious lifestyle — mansions the size of a dollhouse can be had on the cheap.
One of the day’s most intriguing titles was “Annihilation,” a creepy tale about a military mission gone very wrong, that’s written and directed by Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”) and stars Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac.
Among the day’s announcements: Elton John, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice are working on an animated version of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”; Eddie Murphy will voice a prize-winning bull whose son wants to be a rodeo clown in an untitled animated project; and Disney confirmed plans for a “Wreck-It Ralph” sequel.
Contact Christopher Lawrence at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @life_onthecouch.