So are studios now backing away from showing off their goods very early at Comic-Con? That seems to be the way the tide is shifting. Just a couple of days ago it was revealed that Warner Bros, DreamWorks, The Weinstein Company and Disney were going to be no shows this year in San Diego. While Jon Favreau will give fans “Cowboys & Aliens” a week before it hits theaters by premiering it at the geek convention, it seems studios are cooling on the idea of sneaking their movies six months or more before they hit screens. “Sucker Punch” and “Tron: Legacy” are probably the two biggest recent examples of films that got big Comic-Con hype only to fizzle or underperform at the box office (and yes, we know a sequel is in the works but you can bet Disney was expecting bigger numbers for a movie they started hustling two years before it came out). And it’s not just studio honchos who are wary of questionable impact Comic-Con has on a movie.
Speaking with Hero Complex, director Andrew Stanton confirms that “John Carter” won’t be in San Diego this year (it’s a Disney film) and elaborates on his feelings about unveiling a film nine months before it’s scheduled to come out. “I think…the perception [is] that it’s getting harder and harder to stand out amid the din. We’re going to do our special event to get some focus and separation. I know some people will read that as a sign that we’re unsure of our property. It’s just the opposite. We want to control how and what is being seen and the way it is presented,” Stanton said. “So much stuff now is just spit out so fast and the churn of it all. You almost gain nothing by talking about things really early in this day and age. I think in the future we might see things arrive the way Prince announces a concert where a few days before the show he announces it and tickets just go up. You might see that with movies and other things. That seems like the only way to get people interested and then capitalize off that interest.”
We’ll let the geeks hash it out as to whether or not this is a smart move, but with J.J. Abrams proving with “Super 8” you can still build hype and deliver the goods without giving away the whole show, perhaps filmmakers are now getting a bit more confidence to believe in their films and let them get to the public in the right amount of time. So what can we expect from “John Carter”? Stanton says films like “Apocaplyto” and “Lawrence Of Arabia” and TV shows like “Rome” and “Shogun” helped inform his approach in his adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” series, about a Civil War soldier who is transported to Mars and embarks on alien adventures. We’re guessing some kind of teaser will precede “Cars 2” but that’s about it for now.
So one more to put on the list of films not showing up at Comic-Con. So what can attendees expect to see? In addition to the aforementioned “Cowboys & Aliens“, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes,” “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn,” “Shark Night 3D,” “Immortals” and “The Raven” are all expected to have a presence. And on yeah, the alien invasion flick “The Darkest Hour” and — most importantly — “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1” panel was recently confirmed. WOO!.