Like a power-hungry supervillain, Hollywood long ago conquered Comic-Con International, turning what was once a local meet-up for San Diego’s comic book cognoscenti into a full-on marketing blitz for big-budget sci-fi, fantasy and superhero movies.
While some big-name studios sat out this year’s convention, including Marvel, Paramount and Sony, others were happy to fill the void with capes, lightsabers and the Murricane himself. Here’s a recap of five notable movie moments.
Bill Murray rocks the Con
Bill Murray made his Comic-Con debut in memorable fashion Thursday, taking the stage to promote his upcoming music-themed comedy “Rock the Kasbah” in a character-appropriate outfit of aviator shades, floral-print bandanna and wide-collared shirt.
Murray, who plays a washed-up rock tour manager stranded in Afghanistan, had the convention crowd eating ouf of the palm of his hand as he discussed such diverse subjects as his breakfast (bagels and tequila), his experience shooting “Kasbah” in Morocco, the Confederate flag controversy, his famous role in “Ghostbusters” and Miley Cyrus.
Whether Murray’s charm offensive translates to box office success will be revealed when “Rock the Kasbah,” an Open Road Films release, hits theaters in October.
Ryan Reynolds does ‘Deadpool’ right
Six years ago, Ryan Reynolds’ portrayal of the comic book antihero Deadpool in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” left many fans with a bad taste in their mouths. Instead of the wisecracking, fourth-wall-breaking mercenary they expected, they got something else entirely.
Reynolds finally got some redemption at Comic-Con on Saturday when he unveiled a violent, profane teaser video for “Deadpool,” the spinoff movie that will return the character to his familiar roots.
The crowd went wild for the irreverent preview, breaking into a chant of “One more time! One more time!” (Their wish was granted.) Reynolds later tweeted that Fox will release the teaser in three weeks, once visual effects have been finished.
Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Hateful Eight’ gets love
Returning to the setting where he first announced that he’d be making his ensemble western “The Hateful Eight,” despite a script leak, Quentin Tarantino tantalized Comic-Con with a seven-minute preview of the Christmas Day release.
A notorious cinephile, Tarantino revealed that iconic composer Ennio Morricone (“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “Once Upon a Time in the West”) will score “The Hateful Eight.” The filmmaker also reaffirmed his commitment to the use of traditional film in an increasingly digital world.
“We’ve ceded too much to the barbarians,” Tarantino said, adding that digital projection is like “watching television in public.”
Warner Bros. throws down the DC gauntlet
With Marvel Studios nowhere to be found, this year’s Comic-Con didn’t feature a direct showdown between the Disney-owned blockbuster factory and crosstown rival Warner Bros., which is ramping up its own cinematic universe based on DC Comics characters.
But after giving obligatory shout-outs to non-superhero movies “Pan” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” Warners brought out some big guns — including Ben Affleck, Will Smith, Zack Snyder and David Ayer — to hype “Suicide Squad” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” on Saturday.
Trailers for the two DC-based movies (both of which are due next year) indicated a much darker, grittier tone than anything seen so far in Marvel’s own offerings (“Iron Man,” “Captain America,” “The Avengers”). The big questions are whether die-hard fans and casual moviegoers will embrace screen superheroes with a harder edge, and whether the glut of comic book-based movies will lead to diminishing returns.
‘Star Wars’ awakens the faithful
There may be no need for Lucasfilm (also owned by Disney) to even bother promoting “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” given how highly anticipated the seventh film in the space-opera franchise is.
Nonetheless, the studio obliged the “Star Wars” nation on Friday with a star-studded panel featuring faces both new (Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver) and familiar (Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford), as well as a behind-the-scenes video showcasing nostalgia-inducing sets and practical effects used in the December release.
All that earned thunderous applause, but there was one more treat: The 6,500 attendees were invited outside the convention center and down the street for an outdoor concert of John Williams’ music, where free lightsabers were handed out.
Today, San Diego. Tomorrow, the world?
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