By Gregg Kilday
LAS VEGAS (Hollywood Reporter) -
Warner Bros. unleashed
candy-colored, neon-bright footage from a supercharged "Speed
Racer," promised an epic crime story in its latest Batman
movie, "The Dark Knight," and welcomed George Lucas back to the
fold after a nearly 40-year absence Thursday.
The studio previewed its summer lineup at ShoWest, the
annual conference organized by the nation's movie theater
Producer Joel Silver introduced a fast-paced four minutes
and 10 seconds from "Speed Racer," a big-screen adaptation of
the TV toon set for a May 9 release. It comes from
writer/directors Larry and Andy Wachowski, the brothers behind
the "Matrix" movies.
Silver explained that the Wachowskis took on the project,
in part because they wanted to make a family-friendly movie
their nephews and nieces could watch.
Christopher Nolan spoke on behalf of "The Dark Knight,"
which, he said, would continue "the epic tale" begun in his
2005 release "Batman Begins" by telling "a really epic crime
story" when it is released July 18.
He showed the movie's opening bank heist sequence, which
has already played in theaters. The sequence introduces
audiences to Heath Ledger as the Joker. And after calling the
movie's other leads, Christian Bale and Maggie Gyllenhaal to
the stage, Nolan paid tribute to the late actor, saying, "It's
a great performance. ... I'm very proud to have been able to
work with him."
Turning to lighter fare, Warners also previewed a sequence
from its spy spoof "Get Smart," a spy spoof based on the 1960s
TV series. Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway star in the June 20
"Almost 50 years later, our movie adaptation stands in the
shadow of that great series, trying just not to completely
suck," director Peter Segal deadpanned.
The studio, which is in a recycling mode this summer, will
launch the girls-night-out-movie "The Sisterhood of the
Traveling Pants 2" on August 8.
Sanaa Hamri, who has taken over direction of the film,
which reteams America Ferrera, Alexis Bledel, Amber Tamblyn and
Blake Lively, explained that the new installment takes up three
years after the first ended. "The girls are a little older, a
little wilder," she said.
Although the film, set for August 18, began as a TV series,
Lucas said he decided it really belonged on the big screen
since it contains "a little bit of anime, a lot of action and
it's exactly like the features, only more stylized."
Lucas directed his first feature, 1971's "THX 1138," for