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At the opening of CinemaCon 2013, a tradeshow “celebrating the moviegoing experience,” attendees packed The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, also home to resident artists Celine Dion and Shania Twain.

cinemacon-logoThe revamped conference kicked off its third year with footage from two upcoming Paramount Pictures blockbusters. Exhibitors were treated to popcorn, 3D glasses and a surprise opening act.

A question and answer session with the cast of “Star Trek Into the Darkness,” including CinemaCon’s Male Star of the Year Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Alice Eve and John Cho, preceded an 18-minute showing of the movie in 3D. Pine, who would reprise his 2009 role as Captain Kirk, spoke of his character’s eye-opening emotional evolution in the sequel while Cho shared the crew’s funny off-screen antics. Although film director J.J. Abrams stayed behind in L.A. to finish the movie, he sent two letters to be read at the screening, making audiences laugh with his friendly jabs at “Star Trek” producer Damon Lindelof and co-creator of the hit TV show “Lost.”

The crowd gasped in surprise then cheered wildly when Brad Pitt graced the stage to announce the showing of clips from his latest movie, “World War Z.” The movie’s leading actor shared that his sons’ interest in Max Brooks’ novel about a zombie apocalypse made the film a personal project and one that they would enjoy watching.

To end the night, Director Michael Bay attended the full screening of his “little movie” starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson as bodybuilders in Miami who attempt to extort a wealthy client from their gym. Bay explained that the relatively smaller film budget for “Pain & Gain” at $25 million was meant to quiet critics who accused him of only being capable of producing multi- million-dollar movies. The true story, set to open in theaters on April 26, featured a comedic trio, several cringe-worthy, gory scenes and Bay’s signature film direction.

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