Going crazy over comic characters

Going crazy over comic characters

FANS WERE front and centre at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International as interaction between Hollywood and the Geek Nation reached new heights, especially at the event’s now-signature studio presentations.

By (Reuters)

Published: Tue 29 Jul 2008, 9:55 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:15 PM

“Without you guys I wouldn’t have a career,” said surprise guest Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine, during Fox’s X-Men panel. “Without you guys, there wouldn’t be this base of comic book movies.”

Teams from virtually every major TV and film studio were on hand to roll out stars, gift bags and glitzy presentations in a bid to connect with the more than 125,000 passionate fans in attendance during the four-day event,.

After a few years of massive growth, not all of it smooth, the Con seems to have found its groove— and an acceptance that long lines are a way of life now.

The event delivered some surprises and provided an opportunity for the studios to gauge and generate buzz on their projects. Warners’ Watchmen, Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Disney’s Tron 2.0 emerged as the most talked-about, while indie firm Summit created a sensation unlike anything the 39-year-old event had seen when the “fan girl” crowd went nuts over the vampire romance Twilight.

If decibel levels and enthusiasm count, studios as a whole were successful in their attempts to woo the fickle fanbase.

Warner Bros. threw the two A-list presentations during the 4-1/2-day event that concluded on Sunday.

It showcased the graphic novel adaptation Watchmen and Terminator Salvation.

During the Watchmen presentation, press and industryites stood six deep along the side to hear director Zack Snyder and his cast.

Terminator appeared to have built buzz and awareness thanks to the event.

The film’s director, McG, who has been judged harshly by the fan community in the past, won over the crowd with a fun presentation and strong footage.

Fox’s May Payne, Universal’s Wolfman, Disney’s Bolt and Pixar’s Up also were well received.

Surprises proved a way to win fans’ hearts. On the event’s first day, Fox trotted out Jackman to showcase some footage from X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The jetlagged actor waded into the audience to pay tribute to the film’s co-creator, Len Wien. Disney, meanwhile, brought test footage from the new Tron, which quickly became the talk of the Con.

The Force was strong with the studios for which filmmakers and stars made a point of interacting with the fanbase.

Lost showrunners Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindeloff charmed fans while handing out prizes during a question-and-answer session, while star Matthew Fox posed with a devotee onstage. McG laughed it up onstage with a fan who did a killer Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.

Among the most entertaining sessions was Columbia’s panel for Pineapple Express, which saw Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, James Franco and others take the Con hilariously deep into R-rated territory.

Certain questioners became fixtures, and some appeared in character, including one whose shtick even threw off Rogen.

There wasn’t much real news. Spider-Man director Sam Raimi is developing a new Evil Dead movie with his brother, Ivan; producer Michael Uslan announced plans for a Doc Savage adaptation; and a writer for The Simpsons said a sequel to the hit film was unlikely.

Comic-Con’s party scene, however, was abuzz.

Rather than the industry seeking beachheads in the heart of geek nation as in the past, this year it seemed that Tinseltown’s entire social scene was transplanted to San Diego, and there was even a Paris Hilton sighting.

Not all of the participants were thrilled with Hollywood’s high-profile presence, however.

“I’m going to try to find some comic readers,” one scribe said as he left a party filled with execs, agents and stars.

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