Comic-Con International, the annual fan-geared promotional hype machine fueled towards showcasing the next big studio projects, kicked off yesterday in San Diego.
The biggest news to hit the convention was also the most unexpected. As Christopher Campbell reported on Spout, part of indieWIRE’s blog network, Guillermo del Toro made it known that he’s in the early stages of developing a film based on the Disney theme park attraction, “The Haunted Mansion.” The film marks a reboot of the critically reviled Eddie Murphy vehicle of the same name. This news comes not long after it was announced that Del Toro relinquished directorial duties on “The Lord of the Rings” prequel, “The Hobbit.” Though news of Del Toro’s involvement with the Disney remake was out of left-field, fanboys and press expressed excitement. Germain Lussier at Collider wrote: “Who better than the guy who directed “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Devil’s Backbone” to have full reign over a haunted mansion?” In Contention’s Kristopher Tapley added: “Obviously, for fans of Del Toro’s viscerally specific cinematic creations, this is a dream come true. And even though it’s a remake and a Disney property, one gets the feeling he will have carte blanche with the material.”
Though no announcements have rocked the convention quite the way Del Toro’s did, a slew of upcoming studio films unveiled preview footage and new trailers to satiate the fans and press in attendance. The most anticipated footage no doubt came from Disney’s upcoming “Tron: Legacy,” from director Joseph Kosinski. Thought the film isn’t slated to hit theaters until December 17, “Legacy” has been a Comic-Con mainstay for the past two years. Test footage of the Disney picture first screened at the convention back in 2008. The exclusive new trailer features more of Jeff Bridges, who appeared in the original “Tron,” back in 1982.
Anne Thomspon, who’s covering the scene in San Diego for her blog Thompson on Hollywood, was quick out of the gate to offer a glimpse of Ryan Reynolds in Martin Campbell’s “Green Lantern.” Footage of the superhero caper is expected to screen over the weekend. In other superhero news, Thompson confirmed that Warner Bros. is in the process of developing the 1950’s comic book “Dan Dare” into a film, with Sam Worthington as its star. In addition Thompson reported on Overture’s remake of the Swedish vampire fable “Let the Right One It,” now simply titled “Let Me In.” The Matt Reeve (“Cloverfield”) picture is touted as being “very good” according to Thompson, but there are rumors swirling around Overture is in the midst of trying to secure a distributing partner because they are short on promotion and advertising dollars.
Of the films to screen in full at Comic-Con, Edgar Wright’s anticipated follow up to “Hot Fuzz,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” has been generating positive word of mouth, and was named by The Wrap.com as “the buzziest thing at Comic-Con.” TheWrap critic Josh Dickey gushed of the film: “”Scott Pilgrim” is one of the most radical, fresh, what-the-heck-just-happened movies to come out of Hollywood in a long, long time. The best comparisons I can muster are the dream sequences in “The Big Lebowski,” or maybe the dialogue from “Pulp Fiction.” But these are ham-fisted parallels, and I apologize for them.” HitFix’s Drew McWeeny shared in the praise, heralding “Scott” as “a jaw-dropping visual experience, and a sonic assault of pure pleasure.”
Director Robert Rodriguez (“Desperado”) was also on hand in San Diego for a street party and taco fest to amp up the buzz on his upcoming grindhouse homage “Machete,” which makes its way to theaters September 3. “This is my audience and my crowd,” said Rodriguez to TheWrap’s Dominic Pattern, with regards to the fanboys (and girls) who attend Comic-Con in droves.