New Moon, Iron Man 2 and Avatar are just a few of the major releases that will have a presence at this year’s event, which runs from July 23-26. And we’ll be there for it all, joining with our partners at Spill.com to provide live coverage of all things movie-related. In the meantime, prepare yourself for the madness with our handy Comic-Con 2009 Preview ...
Until now, Fox has been frustratingly stingy with the details on James Cameron’s massively-budgeted (rumored at upward of $240 million) return to sci-fi. We do know that it’s a deep-space epic about a disabled war veteran who is sent to establish a human settlement on a distant planet, only to instead find himself aligning with the planet's indigenous population. The Titanic director, in his characteristically humble style, has promised no less than a complete reinvention of the moviegoing experience.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: Look for Comic-Con to be Avatar’s coming-out party. Cameron’s attendance has been confirmed, and he’ll be bringing with him some as-yet-unseen footage to debut – in 3-D, no less.
German doomsday fetishist Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow) is out to destroy the world once again, this time with the help of the Mayan calendar. Dubbed an “epic adventure about global cataclysm,” 2012’s ensemble cast includes John Cusack, Woody Harrelson and Danny Glover.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: Emmerich will be on-hand, no doubt bearing some suitably catastrophic footage to debut. Harrelson, in town to promote his horror-comedy Zombieland, could stop by the 2012 panel as well.
Anyone who hasn’t been under a rock for the last year knows Twilight is a rather large deal to a rather large, and largely female, audience. New Moon tracks the progress of heroine Bella Swan and her look-but-don’t-touch vampire love Edward Cullen. Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass) has taken over the franchise from Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke for the saga’s much anticipated second installment.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: Weitz will definitely be there. The names of attending New Moon cast members have not yet been released, but it’s widely rumored that leads Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson will be present. Either way, expect big crowds, mass hysteria and new footage from the film.
Alice in Wonderland
Tim Burton at the helm of one of children’s literature’s most fantastically dark stories is a tantalizing proposal in and of itself. The beautiful, recently released stills of Alice cast members Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway and Johnny Depp dressed in their Wonderland finery has only whetted the appetites of audiences eager to see the gothic genius’s treatment of the tale.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: The Mad Hatter director himself will be in attendance, presenting an exclusive first peak at Wonderland footage.
Toy Story 3
It’s been 14 years and many technological advancements since Toy Story forever changed the animated film genre. Original cast members Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Wallace Shawn are back for the third installment of Disney/Pixar’s toys-come-to-life feel good franchise.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: Director Lee Unkrich and others from the Disney/ Pixar posse will lead a panel discussion and present footage from the film.
Peter Jackson protégé Neill Blomkamp (formerly attached to the mostly-dead Halo flick) directs this sci-fi thriller, which adds an interesting wrinkle to the alien-invasion schtick: Far from the hostile predators of cinematic lore, the ETs of District 9 are peaceful refugees held captive in a camp in South Africa as evil corporate goons vie for access to their superior technology.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: Jackson, Blomkamp and star Sharlto Copley will all be in attendance for the District 9 panel. Sony is also planning a super-exclusive fan event at which the film will be screened for the first time in the States.
We really want this to be badass. From the looks of the knife-throwing, slow-motion fighting, Downey/Law quipping trailer, Sherlock Holmes might be the Guy Ritchie return to form that will finally make us forget Swept Away.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: Warner Bros. is mum about exactly what Holmes’ Comic-Con presence will be, but our fingers are crossed that Rachel McAdams shows up, if only to see a roomful of Sherlock nerds get all red in the face. UPDATED: Downey’s wife, Susan, has confirmed with us that her husband will indeed be at Comic-Con, appearing both Friday and Saturday.
The Book of Eli
Denzel Washington goes post-apocalyptic to play a lone man who may hold the key to society’s redemption in this futuristic actioner from the Hughes brothers (From Hell, Menace II Society) . Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis and Ray Stevenson co-star.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: Thus far, Warner Bros. has only announced officially that they will be unveiling new footage from the film. Bank on a visit from the Hughes brothers as well. Kunis will be at the Con promoting other projects and could show up for the panel, but don’t hold your breath for Denzel.
Astro Boy is a manga-based futuristic superhero story that follows a young robot with incredible powers. The film is a computer-animated 3-D flick based off the hugely popular Japanese franchise. The solid B-list cast includes Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland, Bill Nighy and Nathan Lane.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: Director David Bowers, producer Maryanne Grager, and stars Freddie Highmore and Kristen Bell will attend to present new footage. If Summit Entertainment plays it right, they can piggyback this kid flick on the popularity of their monster New Moon.
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
Directed by Terry Gilliam, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus is the tale of a modern day carnival travelling show. So far, Parnassus’ claim to fame is that Heath Ledger died while making the film. Still, the movie’s other marquee stars, including Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell might be able to raise the flick to more than a sad asterisk on Ledger’s resume.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: Gilliam is scheduled to appear. No other details yet, but Parnassus is slotted in Comic-Con’s Hall H, one of the largest venues at the convention, which suggests big names will be there and big crowds will show up to see them.
Where the Wild Things Are
The trailer for Spike Jonze’s treatment of the much beloved children’s book suggests a whimsy-heavy adventure for both kids and adults with fond Wild Things memories. The film is soaked with Jonze’s trademark indie street cred too: Dave Eggers co-wrote the screenplay and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O is rumored to be doing the bulk of the soundtrack.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: Warner Bros. is bringing some fresh Wild Things footage to Comic-Con; could a visit from the ever-cool Jonze be on tap as well?
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
This CG-animated flick from Sony is based on the children’s book about a professor who infuses the weather with food. The voiceover cast includes generally funny folks Neil Patrick Harris, Anna Faris, Bill Hader and Andy Samberg.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: Faris, Hader, Samberg and directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord will be there to promote their kid flick.
Shunning the trend of post-apocalyptic flicks, Legion brings us the apocalypse itself, courtesy of a crew of angels dispatched by a fed-up God. But when the possible mother of the messiah is discovered at a truck stop in the southwest, mankind might get another chance to redeem itself.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: With a relatively unknown director and a B-list (albeit talented) cast, look for some heavy promotion to get the word out for this one. Legion director Scott Stewart and stars Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Adrianne Palicki and Tyrese Gibson are all set to attend, and they’ll be unveiling a bunch of new footage. No word on whether the messiah will be paying a visit.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Watchmen star Jackie Earle Haley dons the trademark sweater, hat and glove ensemble to play legendary horror villain Freddy Krueger in Warner Bros. reboot of the classic horror franchise.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: Warner Bros. so far has promised little more than a look at new footage, but we’d be shocked if Haley, a big hit at last year’s convention, didn’t stop by to say hi. (Photo courtesy of Fangoria.com.)
Iron Man 2
Robert Downey Jr. is once again clad in his high-tech suit of armor as Tony Stark/Iron Man, this time facing the Russian-born villain Whiplash, played by Mickey Rourke. Also returning from the first film are director Jon Favreau and castmembers Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson. In addition to Rourke, new faces include Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell and Don Cheadle (the latter replacing Terrence Howard as Iron Man sidekick Jim Rhodes).
What to Expect at Comic-Con: A lot. Nothing has been confirmed by Paramount, but we do know that they’re planning a major Iron Man II push at the convention. We’d be shocked if Favreau didn’t drop by, bringing with him a hastily edited clip or two from the film, which only recently finished shooting. We’re betting on visits from Downey and Rourke as well. UPDATED: Downey’s wife, Susan, has confirmed with us that her husband will indeed be at Comic-Con, appearing both Friday and Saturday.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Leaving the web-crawling antics to Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal landed an action franchise all his own, playing the titular hero of Disney’s big-budget adaptation of the popular videogame franchise.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: Prince of Persia was curiously absent from Disney’s recently-unveiled Comic-Con promotional slate, but we strongly suspect the Mouse House has a few surprises up its sleeve. Look for a sneak peak at the film and/or a visit from Jake G. himself.
Twenty-seven years after the computer-animated TRON broke new ground in the world of visual effects, Disney is finally coming through with a follow-up, about the digital adventures of rebel programmer Kevin Flynn’s equally tech-savvy son Sam, who attempts to uncover the true cause of his father’s mysterious disappearance.
What to Expect at Comic-Con: A brief snippet of new footage from the film proved to be an unexpected hit at last year’s Comic-Con; since then, little else has been heard from the TRON (as it’s still tentatively called) camp. Which is why fans are duly excited by Disney’s promise of “never-before-seen concept art, trailers, [and] actual 3-D film footage” from the film at this year’s event.