Sony Rides Herd on Exhibitors With ‘Zookeeper’

Studio showcases ‘Bad Teacher’ and the Kevin James comedy for exhibitors

Based on a screening of "Zookeeper" at CinemaCon on Thursday, critics probably shouldn't free up any room on their ten best lists. 

Read also: Sony Turns CinemaCon Into a Real Lion's Den

Armed with Kevin James' sizable box office muscle and cutesy animals, "Zookeeper" will probably make a mint when it hits theaters on July 18 regardless of the reviews. 

That said, the film didn't inspire the same rapturous response among exhibitors that "Karate Kid" did when it screened at the trade show last spring. 

The family film centers on a lovelorn zoo worker, and the cadre of elephants, gorillas and lions who help him win Rosario Dawson's heart. 

Sony choose not to string together an extended look at their upcoming slate, instead focusing on the preview of the family film. It did take a moment though to preview foul-mouthed comedy "Bad Teacher," which hits theaters on June 24. 

The "Teacher" in question, Cameron Diaz, picked up an award as "Female Star of the Year" (presented to her by friend and fellow "Charlie's Angel" Drew Barrymore).  The honor gave Sony an opportunity to plug an extremely red band trailer for the comedy. Diaz plays a pothead teacher trying to attract a rich substitute (Justin Timberlake). 

"I feel so honored to make movies. I think it's a true privilege to be able to do what we do," Diaz said. 

The award for best quip, however, goes to Sony President of Worldwide Distribution Rory Bruer. After a baby grizzly bear peed on him during the run-up to "Zookeeper" Bruer joked: "I hope Dick Cook understands."

The former Disney studio chairman is set to be honored at a dinner following Sony's presentation.