By John Horn
11:26 AM PDT, July 22, 2013
Visitors to Comic-Con International in San Diego aren’t the most discriminating moviegoers.
As long as clips are in focus and a handful of stars show up for whatever new film is being promoted, convention guests typically leave the cavernous Hall H as if they’d witnessed the birth of the royal baby.
But a closer look at some Comic-Con presentations and the Internet chatter they sparked suggests that not every movie played as well as its makers might have hoped.
While no movie bombed as poorly as 2004’s “Catwoman” did at Comic-Con, some films — particularly “Ender’s Game” and “Kick-Ass 2” — labored to overcome the negative publicity surrounding their making. And there was a mixed reaction outside the room to the Warner Bros.-DC announcement of an upcoming Batman-Superman crossover, not least because it seemed like an attempt to mimic Marvel's "Avengers" model.
Here are some movies that didn’t quite blow the roof off Hall H:
Moderator Drew McWeeny failed to ask comic book creators Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. a single question about the biggest controversy attached to the sequel: Star Jim Carrey’s repudiation of the film’s violence. Equally problematic, Universal showed a family-friendly trailer that didn’t do the R-rated film justice.
“300: Rise of an Empire”
Not all of the Twitter sentiment was positive for the sequel, even though the filmmakers insisted the Warner Bros. sequel was more ambitious than the 2006 original. “If you took ‘300’ and you zoomed out, that’s what this movie is all about,” said director Noam Murro. “It takes place at about the same time as ‘300,’ it’s just bigger and it gives a whole bigger scale and scope as to what happened historically.”
No matter how much people like what they have seen from the sci-fi story, Lionsgate can’t steer the conversation away from novelist Orson Scott Card, his anti-gay views and whether Card will profit from the film’s release. Said producer Robert Orci in response to an audience question: “I would hate to see the efforts of all the people who made this movie thwarted for the less than 1% of the people behind the movie, particularly because the message of the book and the movie is tolerance, compassion and empathy.”
“The Lego Movie”
The world is hardly demanding such a film, but co-director Chris Miller tried to sell the idea for the Warner Bros. release: “The word creativity is actually not in the movie at all but it’s obviously all about creativity. The idea is there are two different ways that people play with Lego. There are people who buy the kit, follow the instructions, and build the thing exactly how it is, and that’s awesome, because then you have this really cool thing. It’s a Millenium Falcon or something. And then, there are people who just dump all the bricks together and build whatever they want to do. And that’s awesome as well to learn to have the whole thing be a dialectic about the different ways there are to make things.”
Writer-director David Twohy brought the franchise to Comic-Con 13 years ago with the sleeper “Pitch Black,” and the series went off the rails with 2004’s bloated “The Chronicles of Riddick.” Twohy said Universal’s latest installment, called “Riddick,” will be more modest. Twohy said he and star Vin Diesel held story meetings in Diesel’s kitchen, and fan boy fave Katee Sackhoff (“Battlestar Galactica”) has been added to the cast.
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