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Geek Glory At 2011 Comic-Con

  Any event that can bring together such high power heavyweights as Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and a host of stellar movie stars is the definition of clout. So, let’s be clear…..Comic-Con, the sprawling exhibition and promotion extravaganza that just wrapped in San Diego, has major clout. The confab, originally a geeky celebration of comic book culture, has become the go-to place for film and television series with comic book origins and fantasy/supernatural/phantasmagoric films in general. The event is a must for film directors, producers and stars of this sprawling genre (let’s face it, the most lucrative in Hollywood if the HARRY POTTER, TRANSFORMERS, THOR, IRON MAN, X-MEN, CAPTAIN AMERICA films are any indication). 

The confab has many elements: trade show, information conference, promotion gabfest and, most tantalizing, previews of new fantasy films that will surely be next summer’s biggest blockbuster attractions. Hollywood and even indies now look at the convention as the place to jumpstart interest in their projects among fans who are geek-ready and often dress up as their favorite comic book heroes. Of course, these fanatics already know about their favorite projects from the blogosphere and social networking websites that unite the worldwide community of geeks and comic freaks. And their devotion is no laughing matter…..it is estimated that their allegiance to the genre via comic books, graphic novels, video games, online websites, mobile apps and old fashioned television series and event movies amount to billions of dollars in revenue each year. These are geeks who cannot be ignored.

 

Aside from Spielberg, who was there to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and to promote his animated film THE ADVENTURES OF TIN TIN, and Peter Jackson, the LORD OF THE RINGS director whose THE HOBBIT will be hitting theaters next year, the fans were treated to the likes of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, the two stars of the new SPIDER-MAN; Nicolas Cage, the lead for the film GHOST RIDER; and Hugh Jackman, whose films WOLVERINE and REAL STEEL are set to be boxoffice bonanzas next year. The geek-fest was also a chance to rev up the engines on several late summer releases, including ATTACK THE BLOCK, a British comedy-horror film from writer/director Joe Cornish; CONAN THE BARBARIAN, a remake of Annuld’s breakthrough film, this time presented in 3-D with  Jason Momoa (GAME OF THRONES) as the hulking hunk; COWBOYS AND ALIENS, director Jon Favreau’s quirky mix of Western-meets-supernnatural actioner starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig; FRIGHT NIGHT, an update of the 1970s classic shocker with Colin Farrell starring as your local neighborhood vampire; and RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, the latest in the monkey saga with James Franco starring as a scientist whose experiments with intelligent apes wreaks havoc on humankind .

 

Comic-Con is also a golden opportunity to introduce the public to films that will coming out in the coming months into next year. Between now and Christmas, we can expect to be regaled with such films as WARRIOR, a martial arts actioner directed by Joel Edgerton (ANIMAL KINGDOM) and starring Tom Hardy, the breakout star of last year’s INCEPTION (September 9 release date); ABDUCTION, a teenage action thriller starring TWILIGHT heartthrob Taylor Lautner (September 23); IN TIME, a sci-fi thriller starring the white-hot Justin Timberlake (October 28); and IMMORTALS, a sword-and-sandal epic starring Mickey Rourke and Frieda Pinto (November 11). Sneak peeks of films to be released in 2012 included UNDERWORLD: AWAKENINGS, the third film in the series to star latex-suited vampire Kate Beckinsale (January 2012 release date); THE RAVEN, an adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe gothic novel, to star John Cusack and Luke Evans (March 2012); THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN with Andrew Garfield replacing Tobey McGuire in a prequel story directed by Marc Webb (500 DAYS OF SUMMER) with a July 2012 release date; and TOTAL RECALL, a remake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger action hit to star Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel (August 2012). Let the geekdom begin…. 

Sandy Mandelberger, Film New York Editor

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