Jonathan Majors’ Magazine Dreams was a no-show at CinemaCon.
Searchlight and Disney steered clear of any mention of the film during Disney’s presentation at the annual gathering of theater owners in Las Vegas as Majors awaits a May 8 court date in New York on assault charges. Normally, the powerhouse specialty would have used CinemaCon to promote the movie, which is scheduled for a Dec. 8 release in theaters, during the heart of awards season.
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The movie’s premise — an aspiring bodybuilder who flies into bouts of rage and violence — is a complicating factor given the allegations of assault against the actor, who has denied wrongdoing. One scene features his character on a date with a woman who becomes so uncomfortable she flees the restaurant. Majors is already experiencing career blowback, with Entertainment 360 and PR firm The Lede Company dropping him.
Majors’ rise from Yale Drama School to Hollywood star has been meteoric. He most recently starred in Michael B. Jordan’s Creed III and Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Ahead of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Magazine Dreams was seen as one of the hottest acquisitions titles heading for Park City. Majors’ performance lived up to the hype, even if the overall reaction to the finished film was lukewarm. “It’s an all-in performance for the ages, layered with as much vulnerability as anger,” reads THR’s review of the film.
While it didn’t inspire a bidding war on the ground in Sundance, Magazine Dreams ultimately secured distribution in an incredibly fraught indie market and landed at Searchlight, home of numerous Oscar winners. The specialty distributor paid a modest $2 million, according to sources. (One rival who saw the film at Sundance believes Majors could easily be a contender for the Oscar for best actor.)
In 2016, Searchlight previously bought Sundance drama The Birth of a Nation, only to see its prospects evaporate months later amid controversy surrounding filmmaker and star Nate Parker (Searchlight released a first teaser trailer for Parker’s film at CinemaCon that year).
Searchlight and Disney used this year’s CinemaCon to reveal a well-received new trailer for Taika Waititi’s soccer comedy Next Goal Wins, starring Will Arnett, Michael Fassbender, Elisabeth Moss, David Fane, Beulah Koale, Oscar Kightley and Lehi Falepapalangi. The movie opens Nov. 22, over the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday corridor.
Majors is also heavily involved with Marvel Studios and is at the center of its Multiverse Saga, all leading to the Majors starrer Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, due out in May 2025. Because that film is so far out, it wasn’t mentioned at CinemaCon. He also stars in the Marvel’s series Loki and has already filmed season two of the show, due out later this year.
Majors‘ attorney Priya Chaudhry pushed back against the charges in a statement last month. Said the attorney: “Jonathan Majors is completely innocent and is provably the victim of an altercation with a woman he knows.”
Aaron Couch and Mia Galuppo contributed to this report.
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