Paramount strolled into New York City earlier tonight to show off a 2011 slate packed with potential blockbusters and possible record-setters, like 'Thor,' 'Captain America: The First Avenger,' 'Kung Fu Panda 2,' 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' 'Puss in Boots,' 'Paranormal Activity 3,' 'Tintin,' 'Footloose' and 'Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.' But the film that owned the night was J.J. Abrams' 'Super 8,' which brought with it approximately 22 minutes of footage broken up into two scenes shown out of sequence.
The first was an extended version of the train accident shown in the trailer, with the other being an extended version of the scene in the trailer where the store clerk is yanked back through the aisle by some ... thing. Paramount chief Brad Grey was on hand to open up the evening with a nice tribute to Elizabeth Taylor, followed by a fun glance through Paramount's 100-year history. The clip montage ended with a look at 2011, including a sneak peek at 'Footloose' (think 'Dirty Dancing' meets that epic high school party you weren't invited to) and 'Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol' (the scenes they shot on top of the world's largest building in Dubai will probably go down as some of the coolest stunts we see all year, hands down).
And then came 'Super 8'...
Don't worry, we're not spoiling anything here. Trust we want to go into this film clean, too, and you can tell Abrams wants the same thing. During the introduction of the footage, he half-jokingly said that he'd rather not screen anything if it were up to him. He really wants to talk about this film -- and you get a sense that's because it's such a personal project for him -- but he's not so hot on talking about it before he's done piecing it together, which is understandable.
The footage they did screen packed a strong punch, though, expertly blending heart, humor, thrills, chills and one holy-cow train-wreck sequence. The kids are instantly likable and make for a fun, familiar ensemble, and, yes, the expected lens flares are there too). Sure, there's plenty more that makes a feature-length movie, but if the other 70-or-so minutes play like that, we're sold big time.
After the screening, we cornered Abrams briefly and asked the one question that's been on our mind ever since that last trailer premiered: Mainly, will they decide to show the film's "monster" before it hits theaters? We saw the 'Cloverfield' monster prior to that film's release, and so ... is this thing coming out to play sooner rather than later?
"We probably won't show it," he told us. "It's more fun not seeing it beforehand." What that "it" is, we don't know -- and Abrams played coy while answering as to not give too much of its identity away. When asked whether there'd be a toyline, he said he wasn't crazy about toylines because you see the character in stores before the movie and it's confusing to people.
Hopefully he's right, and they won't show us anything too spoilery before the film's June 10th release. We know there's something menacing this town is after, and not seeing what that is before the film opens will make for one of the most exciting (and anticipated) moviegoing experiences of the year.