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Studios in Full Force at Comic-Con

21 Jul, 2006 By: Thomas A., Jessica W.

SAN DIEGO — Hundreds of studio marketers headed south from Hollywood this week for the 37th annual San Diego Comic-Con International, which has grown from humble beginnings as a comic book flea market to a key marketing event for the entertainment industry.

The home entertainment divisions of the major studios are duly represented, and several have key announcements planned during the show, running July 20-23 at the San Diego Convention Center and drawing upwards of 100,000 fans.

“Comic-Con is huge for us,” said Steve Feldstein, SVP of marketing communications for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. “It's where you find a lot of the fan boys and others who really help with early word of mouth on projects.

“This has become ground zero for a lot of event films, whether in theatrical or DVD release.”

On the DVD front, Fox is promoting the Aug. 1 DVD release of the Internet serial “Broken Saints” with a panel discussion featuring creators and talent, and teasing the upcoming DVD release of X-Men: The Last Stand, expected in the fourth quarter.

Among the biggest DVD announcements: Word from Warner Home Video, expected today, that on the heels of the box office success of the new Superman Returns movie, the studio is polishing off the four original “Superman” movies, starring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel, and giving them the DVD special treatment.

The highlight of the Nov. 28 DVD rollout: Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut ($24.98), a revised version of the controversial 1980 sequel as it was originally conceived and intended to be filmed by director Richard Donner, who also helmed the 1978 original.

Other Comic-Con DVD highlights:

  • Taking a cue from New Line's “Lord of the Rings” strategy, Universal Studios Home Entertainment today is expected to announce that it will follow the March DVD release of King Kong with an extended edition arriving Nov. 14, at the peak of the fourth-quarter gift-buying season. The three-disc set will feature more than an hour of deleted scenes that can be viewed as part of the film using a branching feature, boosting the movie's already considerable length (the theatrical cut ran 187 minutes) to more than four hours. Extras include new interviews, visual effects featurettes and a commentary track. Universal also will prepare a gift set that comes with a collectible specially crafted by WETA, the special-effects company that worked on the film. A segment of the new cut will be shown at Comic-Con today.

  • Universal also is touting its new 75th anniversary DVD editions of classic monster movies Frankenstein and Dracula, both streeting Sept. 26.

  • Comic-Con is hosting two events centered around Universal's Battlestar Galactica Season 2.5 DVD release Sept. 19, including a Q&A with star Richard Hatch and a Sci Fi Channel sponsored panel featuring executive producer Ron Moore and leads Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell.

  • All of Universal's new TV DVD titles are on display at the studio's booth at the convention, including the DVD titles The Incredible Hulk: The Complete First Season, Jack of All Trades: The Complete Series, Amazing Stories: The Complete First Season, Surface: The Complete Series, Roar: The Complete Series and Frankenstein: The True Story Miniseries.

  • Buena Vista Home Entertainment is slated to announce a four-disc limited-edition “Chronicles of Narnia” release in time for the holidays. Buena Vista is also rolling out “Lost” stars Jorge Garcia and Daniel Day Kim, along with co-creator Damon Lindelof, to tout the complete second season DVD arriving Sept. 5 and tease the third season of the hit show.

  • New Line Home Entertainment is previewing features from its “Choose the Death” option on the Final Destination 3 DVD, in stores July 25, with help from film star Ryan Merriman and director James Wong.

  • New Line also is using the Con to get fans jazzed for another dip into the “Lord of the Rings” well, touting its Aug. 29 limited edition DVDs for each installment of the trilogy.

  • Lionsgate is using Comic-Con to stage the world premiere of Ultimate Avengers 2, the second in the studio's line of Marvel animated features created especially for DVD. The screening takes place at 7 p.m. tonight at the San Diego Convention Center and includes a panel discussion with some of the voice and off-screen talent. The DVD hits stores Aug. 8.

  • Sony BMG Music Entertainment is hitting up the show to build on last year's announcement of the coming live-action Transformers movie, and tout its November release of the 20th anniversary special edition DVD of Transformers: The Movie!.

  • BCI Eclipse is gathering a slate of talent to thrill fans of classic animated shows “She-Ra,” “Ultraman,” “Flash Gordon,” “Groovie Goolies” and more, which are all hitting DVD this the fall.

  • Warner is offering sneak peeks at its upcoming V for Vendetta, Poseidon and Forbidden Planet discs. Animation lovers got a look at the DVDs for Warner's “Pinky and the Brain” and the “Animaniacs” during a panel discussion with voice talent and writers for both shows July 20. Volume 1 DVD releases for each street July 25.

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