This Week: Comic-Con Winners and Losers, 'Black Swan' and Zombies
For the first time in five years I'm not in the Hall H waiting line, but that's no reason you should be deprived of Comic-Con goodness! Hollywood.com is all over the Con, but I thought I'd take a stab at predicting the winners and losers of the biggest marketing spectacle on Earth, using only my hard earned analytic power as a resource.
Thursday Winners: Tron Legacy and Megamind: The audience was treated to eight minutes of Tron Legacy, a product that has been building buzz for the past two years. At this point, they are locked in, at least with the comic book audience. Megamind, on the other hand, can use a little push. I mentioned the trailer a few weeks back, but Will Ferrell showing up in full Megamind regalia will definitely push awareness.
Thursday Losers: Salt and Scott Pilgrim: The biggest mistake studios make with San Diego Comic Con is not giving a chance for buzz to build. Yes Angelina Jolie might show up to push Salt, but the film is out tomorrow. And it's not great. Convincing 6,000 people in Hall H shouldn't be the goal, the goal is to get them to spread the word once they get home. Scot Pilgrim vs. The World has a different problem, though I'm definitely pulling for the movie. Pilgrim's problem is one of preaching to the converted. Comic books geeks already know about Scott Pilgrim; there simply aren't enough of them. Plus the film is facing off against The Expendables and Eat Pray Love for the weekend crown in two weeks. That won't end well.
Friday Winner: The Other Guys: Will Ferrell gets the two-fer here, double for his buzzy buck. The trailer is great and the film should do well against light competition.
Friday Loser: The Green Hornet: It's being released in January, industry code for "we give up."
Saturday Winners: Green Lantern, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Thor: I'm still a firm believer in Ryan Reynolds. In Reynolds I trust, he'll bring home a sneaky hit. Or as sneaky a hit as a film that has already made the cover of Entertainment Weekly can be. Predicting good things for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is like predicting death and taxes, but hey, at least they are going through the ruse of pretending they need to market it. I can respect that. Finally we come to Thor, a movie for which the photos look relatively weak. Guess what? The clips won't be as weak which will allow outlets to proclaim: Thor rocks the Con!
Saturday Losers: Captain America: The First Avenger and Sucker Punch: I just don't think the guy behind Wolfman, Hidalgo, and Jurassic Park III can bring home a solid Captain America film. I dearly hope he proves me wrong. As for Sucker Punch, I am placing my bets on Zack Snyder's other project, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. However, I fully admit the posters for Sucker Punch look solid.
As for Sunday at Comic Con 201, they've programmed extremely light, meaning the only losers will be the guys and gals who missed that monster Saturday action.
Undoubtedly, there have been some positive developments during the zombie revival. Zombieland comes to mind, and The Crazies was pretty fun. But late-breaking news indicates the delicate zombie film balance is about to tip in the wrong direction. First up, Brad Pitt in World War Z. To wit:World War Z author Max Brooks has told MTV that Brad Pitt is now officially attached to star in the adaption of his novel about a zombie apocalypse.
And then comes word that Pirates of the Caribbean 4 will have a zombie element. What the what? This has gone too far. Zombies were over, and then Shaun of the Dead knocked it out of the park with the zom-com. That was six years ago, and we've all had some good times and some laughs. But one of these new projects, either Pitt or Pirates is going to land on its head. It happened with the mechanical spiders, and it will happen with the zombies. We've got to ration them to keep the zombie film market substainable! Call your congressperson, on the flesh-eating double..
Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan is looking strong to quite strong on the awards potential front, set to open the Venice Film Festival in September. The last time Aronofsky went that route was with a little film called The Wrestler, a film which earned nominations for Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei. Will this be a second nomination for Natalie Portman? All signs point to yes. Bonus level: this one looks to be a return to the visual style of The Fountain, a woefully underrated film. Looking forward to buying a ticket to this one.
On that note, I hope you have a comic-filled weekend, full of whatever type of swan you're a fan of.
Laremy is the lead critic and senior producer for a website named Film.com. He's also available on Twitter.