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Hollywood Goes to Comic-Con

19 Jul, 2010 By: John Latchem

It’s showtime for the Hollywood studios at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Eager to reach the mostly young-adult audience that attends the event, which this year is being held July 22-25 (with a preview night July 21) at the San Diego Convention Center, filmmakers and producers descend on the show to erect lavish exhibit booths to promote their titles and give attendees up-close encounters with directors, writers and stars.

The home-entertainment divisions of the studios also use Comic-Con as a proving ground for upcoming DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases, primarily of hit movies but also of TV shows and anything else that might appeal to the more than 120,000 science-fiction, fantasy, horror, anime and action-adventure fans who have turned Comic-Con from a comic-book show into the premier pop-culture event of the year.

This year the buzz for such titles again is huge, with panels devoted to movies and TV shows taking up the largest rooms the venue has to offer.

“We are re-energized, connecting with people who are passionate about cult films and pop culture entertainment and enjoy the personal interaction,” said Melissa Boag, VP of marketing for Shout! Factory, which in previous years has sold DVD sets at its booth. “It provides us the opportunity to hear feedback about our releases, create excitement about our brands and get a real sense about what is next. Many of our partners such as Hasbro and Marvel also have a prominent presence; and this event gives us an opportunity to work together on panels and promotions to touch many more people of varied interests.”

DVD titles promoted this year by Shout! Factory (booth 3749) include Tales of the Gold Monkey: The Complete Series, with actor Stephen Collins; the animated G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero — The Movie on DVD and Blu-ray, with voice actor Gregg Berger; and ‘B’ movies The Lost Skeleton Returns Again and Dark and Stormy Night. Plus, Shout! Factory presents the “Roger Corman: King of the Independents” panel Friday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Room 25ABC to promote the new “Roger Corman’s Cult Classics” DVD and Blu-ray line.

Fans who stop by the 20th Century Fox booth (4313) can buy Avatar discs, as well as advance copies of The Simpsons: Season 13 (which doesn’t hit retail until Aug. 24). Attendees also can preorder Dollhouse: Season Two, slated for October. Those who buy from the Fox booth also receive a collectible lithograph. In addition, fans can see previews of upcoming DVDs for the direct-to-video sequel Mirrors 2 (slated for October and promoted with giveaways and a billboard truck) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight, a motion comic based on the Dark Horse comic book series.

A preview of Fox’s Alien Anthology Blu-ray set (due Oct. 26) will be held at booth 3528, where fans can board the Nostromo and enter the hibernation chamber of the doomed crew. Those who pre-order the set at the Comic-Con price of $149.99 receive an exclusive “Guardian” collectible.

Over at the Marvel Entertainment Booth (2329), Iron Man 2 co-producer Jeremy Latcham will present highlights from Paramount Home Entertainment's Blu-ray Disc of the film, which streets Sept. 28. The sneak peek takes place Thursday at noon and Friday at 11 a.m.

Several studios also are using Comic-Con to preview direct-to-video fare for its intended demographic.

Sony Pictures will show off its direct-to-video horror sequel 30 Days of Night: Dark Days (due on disc Oct. 5) with a cast and crew Q&A Friday from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Room 7AB.

Warner Home Video and DC Entertainment will present a first look at the new documentary Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday in Room 7AB. Warner also will hold world premieres of a couple of direct-to-video movies, with a screening of Lost Boys: The Thirst (on DVD and Blu-ray Oct. 12) Thursday at 10 p.m. in the Indigo Ballroom of the San Diego Hilton Bayfront. Friday sees the premiere of Batman: Under the Red Hood (on disc July 27; see review, page 24) at 8 p.m. in Ballroom 20, with an encore at 10:15 p.m.

“I’ve been going to Comic-Con for more than a decade as a fan, and the past few years as a professional,” said Batman: Under the Red Hood writer Judd Winick, who will participate in a Q&A after the screening. “This will probably be the most fun, seeing the movie with 5,000 hardcore fans.”

Other Comic-Con Promotional Highlights:

• Filmmaker Kevin Smith returns with two presentations Saturday. First is his annual panel, from 7:15 to 8:45 p.m. in Hall H. Then he presents a screening of his film Cop Out (on disc July 20 from Warner) in its Blu-ray “Maximum Comedy Mode” at 10 p.m. in the Indigo Ballroom of the San Diego Hilton Bayfront.

•Once again, Bill Hunt will host some of the top makers of home video bonus content with the “Digital Bits: Blu-ray Producers 2010” panel from 1 to 2 p.m. Thursday in Room 32AB. Scheduled to appear are Cliff Stephenson (Rambo: Director’s Cut, The Expendables), Charles de Lauzirika (Robin Hood, Alien Anthology), Javier Soto (Predators, Mimic, The Devil’s Backbone) and Brian Ward (Shout! Factory’s “Transformers,” “G.I. Joe” and “Max Headroom” sets), plus TheDigitalBits.com’s Adam Jahnke and Todd Doogan.

• Friday is always “Star Wars” Day at Comic-Con, with six special programs based on George Lucas’ franchise, including a panel with the makers of Cartoon Network’s “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner) from 2 to 3 p.m. in Room 7AB.

• Starz and Anchor Bay have a huge agenda planned to promote their show “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” (season one arrives on DVD and Blu-ray Sept. 21), starting with a panel Friday from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. in Room 6BCF, and co-sponsorship of the “From Dusk ’Til Con” party Friday night. The Anchor Bay booth (3345) will be promoting DVDs of The Stranger (available now), Altitude (coming soon to disc) and Frozen (on DVD and Blu-ray Sept. 29) with poster signings.

• The panel for Comedy Central’s “Ugly Americans” (Friday, 10 to 11 a.m., Room 25ABC) will include a Q&A with cast and crew and a street date announcement for Paramount Home Entertainment’s upcoming Ugly Americans: Season 1 Vol. 1 DVD.

• On Saturday from 3 to 4 p.m. in Room 7AB, Warner will show off its “DC Showcase Original Shorts Collection” with the premiere of Jonah Hex (which appears on the Batman: Under the Red Hood Blu-ray and special-edition DVD), an advance look at Green Arrow, and details regarding the upcoming compilation Blu-ray/DVD release anchored by Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam.

• MVD’s Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated will be screened with a panel discussion Thursday from 9:30 to 11:45 in Room 5AB. The DVD streets July 27.

• “The Old School American Horror” panel will feature Adam Green and the cast of Hatchet II (Dark Sky Films) Friday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Room 32AB.

• The E1 Entertainment booth (216) will promote DVDs and Blu-ray Discs for the TV series “Sanctuary” and such movies as Suck, The Secret of Moonacre, Parasomnia, Don’t Look Up, How to Make Love to a Woman, Yesterday Was a Lie and Ray Bradbury’s Chrysalis. A “Sanctuary” panel will be held Saturday from 1 to 2 p.m. in the San Diego Hilton Bayfront Indigo Ballroom.

• Vivendi Entertainment’s Bitten will be promoted at the Fangoria booth (1736), and Vivendi’s upcoming The Phantom DVD and Blu-ray (on shelves Sept. 7) will be promoted on a mobile billboard and themed pedicabs around the event.

• Several online hits with DVD tie-ins from New Video will be on hand. Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Room 6A will be a screening of Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Saturday from 2 to 3 p.m. in the San Diego Hilton Bayfront Indigo Ballroom features a panel for “The Guild,” with creator Felicia Day and other cast and crew. The “Halo” series “Red vs Blue” has a panel Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon in Room 25ABC. New Video also will be pushing The Secret of Kells on the show floor with promo items.

• Disney will be pushing the Aug. 24 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of both the sixth season and complete collection of “Lost,” as well as the Sept. 21 DVD release of Castle: Season 2. A “Castle” panel is slated for 10:30-11:30 a.m. Sunday in Room 6BCF.

• Saturday from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in Room 24ABC will feature "Behind the Scenes with Sid & Marty Krofft, Joe Ruby and Ken Spears: A Look at the Past, Present and Future," in which the creators of such kiddie shows as "HR Pufnstuf" reflect on their careers and preview future endeavors. They will debut a brand new compilation DVD this fall, the first release in their exclusive new partnership with Vivendi Entertainment.

• “Attack of the Show” film expert Chris Gore will hold a Q&A to promote a new documentary and try to answer the question of what is the greatest DVD of all time, Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon in Room 5AB.

• Upcoming films previewed in the cavernous Hall H include DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind (Thursday, 10-11 a.m.); Sony Pictures’ Battle: Los Angeles and Salt (Thursday, 1-2 p.m.), and The Other Guys and The Green Hornet (Friday, 4-6 p.m.); Summit Entertainment’s RED (Thursday, 2:15-3:15 p.m.) and Drive Angry 3D (Friday, 10:30-11:30); Lionsgate’s The Expendables (Thursday, 4:45-5:45 p.m.); Universal’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Thursday, 6-7 p.m.), Skyline (Friday, 12-1 p.m.), and Paul and Cowboys & Aliens (Saturday, 4:45-5:45 p.m.); The Indie Super (Friday, 1-2 p.m.); Miramax’s Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (Friday, 2:15-3:45); Warner’s Green Lantern, Sucker Punch and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Saturday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.); Overture’s “Let Me In” (Saturday, 1:30-2:30 p.m.); Screen Gems’ Resident Evil: Afterlife (Saturday, 4-4:15 p.m.); and Marvel Studios’ Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger (Saturday, 6-7 p.m.).

• Disney will show off the upcoming film Tron Legacy with a huge panel Thursday, July 22, from 11:15 to 12:45 in Hall H, featuring stars Jeff Bridges and Olivia Wilde. Plans also are in place to bring back Flynn’s Arcade, featuring video games based on the franchise.

• “Battlestar Galactica” will be the subject of at least two panels. One will be moderated by actor Richard Hatch from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday in Room 6A. The other will be the “Caprica” panel with series cast and crew from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday in Ballroom 20.

• TV shows getting a big Comic-Con push through panels in Ballroom 20 include “Burn Notice” (Fox, Thursday, 1-2 p.m.); “White Collar” (Fox, Thursday, 2:15-3:15 p.m.); “Psych” (Universal, Thursday, 3:30-4:30 p.m.); “Dexter” (Paramount/CBS, Thursday, 6-7 p.m.); “Stargate Universe” (Fox/MGM, Friday, 10:30-11:30 a.m.); “The Big Bang Theory” (Warner, Friday, 12:45-1:45 p.m.); “Bones” (Fox, Friday, 2-2:45 p.m.); “True Blood” (HBO, Friday, 5:15-6:15p.m.); “Family Guy” (Fox, Saturday, 11-11:45 a.m., featuring a preview of the upcoming Return of the Jedi spoof); “The Cleveland Show” (Fox, 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.); “Futurama” (Fox, 12:45-1:30 p.m.); “The Simpsons” (Fox, 1:30-2:15 p.m.); “Chuck” (Warner, Saturday, 10-10:45 a.m.); “V” (Warner, Saturday, 2:30-3:15 p.m.); “Fringe” (Warner, Saturday, 3:15-4:15 p.m.); “The Vampire Diaries” (Warner, Saturday, 4:15-5 p.m.); “Smallville” (Warner, Sunday, 10-11 a.m., celebrating its upcoming 10th and final season); “Glee” (Fox, Sunday, 1:30-2:30 p.m.); “Supernatural” (Warner, Sunday, 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.); “Sons of Anarchy” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (Fox, Sunday, 2:45-3:45 p.m.); and “American Dad” (Fox, Sunday, 12:30-1:15 p.m.).

• In “State of the Geek Report: From Avatar to Zardoz” (Thursday, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Room 4), a panel of experts will examine the state of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror in film and TV.

• In the Masters of the Web panel, filmmakers Roberto Orci and Edgar Wright lead a discussion about how new media has influenced moviemaking and marketing (Thursday, 3-4 p.m., Room 32AB)

• BBC’s “Look Around You” celebrates the release of its first season on DVD with a panel from 5-6 p.m. Thursday in Room 6A.

• Comic book legends Stan Lee and Neal Adams and Holocaust historian Dr. Rafael Medoff will discuss their new series of educational “motion comics” they are creating with ABC News about Americans who spoke out for the rescue of Jews during World War II (Friday, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Room 9). Lee also will preview his latest Web comics and other projects at POW! Entertainment (Friday, 2-3 p.m., Room 6BCF) and is the subject of the documentary With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, which will be screened at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in Room 6BCF.

• Celebrate the 60th anniversary of “The Peanuts” with a panel Friday from 2-3 p.m. in Room 25ABC.

• DVD stalwarts “Robot Chicken,” “Venture Bros.” and “Metalocalypse” will be celebrated at the Adult Swim panel Friday from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Room 6BCF.

• The voice actors from “Dragon Ball Z Kai” (on DVD and Blu-ray from Funimation) will participate in a panel from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Room 5AB.

• Sunday is “Kids Day” at Comic-Con, with 27 special programs just for kids, including a Children's Film Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Room 9.

• Comic-Con concludes Sunday with the traditional screening of the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” musical episode “Once More With Feeling,” 4-5 p.m. in Ballroom 20.

For a complete schedule of events, visit comic-con.org. For more coverage visit AgentDVD.com.


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