SAN DIEGO—Tens of thousands of comics and pop culture aficionados gathered outside the San Diego Convention Center Thursday for the start of Comic-Con International.
The doors open for the sold-out gathering at 9:30 a.m. About 125,000 people are expected to attend the four-day event, which features hundreds of exhibits, celebrity appearances, film screenings and industry panels over four days.
Comic-Con began in 1970 as a one-day convention at the U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego.
The event is touted as the world's largest comics and popular culture convention. In recent years, it has also been embraced by Hollywood as one of the premier events to introduce new action, fantasy, science fiction and animated movies and television shows.
Highlights of opening day include the debut of DreamWorks' animated "Megamind.'' Actors Will Ferrell, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill are scheduled to join director Tom McGrath to unveil footage from the film.
Actress Angelina Jolie will attend a showcasing of Sony Pictures Entertainment's new film "Salt.''
Composer Danny Elfman will discuss his 25-year collaboration with director Tim Burton on films such as "Beetle Juice,'' " Batman,'' "Edward Scissorhands,'' "Nightmare Before Christmas'' and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.''
There will be an inside look at Walt Disney Pictures' "TRON: Legacy.'' Actors Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen and Bruce Boxleitner are scheduled to discuss the film.
Summit Entertainment will give a sneak peek of footage from "Red'' and there will be an "insider scoop'' of "The Expendables.''
Legendary comics artist Tom Palmer, former DC Comics president Jenette Kahn and superhero artist Ivan Reis will be spotlighted during panel discussions.
At night, there will be a Spike & Mike animation festival, a screening of "Doctor Who'' and "Being Human,'' Japanese genre movies and the world premier of "Lost Boys: The Thirst.''
The Metropolitan Transit System will have expanded Trolley service for Comic-Con. There will be special event Red Line service between Qualcomm Stadium and the Convention Center, with service every 15 minutes beginning at 7:30 a.m. and running past midnight. There will also be late Green Line service.