The annual San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) kicks off today, and as ever, it's a massive promotional platform for brands.
Founded as the "Golden State Comic Book Convention" in 1970 by a group of San Diegan comic book fans, the annual fanfest has evolved to include video games, toys and other forms of genre entertainment. That's why Hollywood beats a path south to the show every year — to generate buzz among the estimated 250,000 comic book, sci-fi, fantasy, anime, and video game fans hitting town for the four day pop-culture fix.
One of the biggest movies being touted this year: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, which marks the cast's last appearance as Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner hyping the Nov. 16th final bow with a 1pm ET (above) panel. Also red-hot: Iron Man 3, with Robert Downey Jr. and co-stars on hand to promote the movie scheduled for May 3rd of next year.
Following Peter Jackson’s surprise appearance last year at Steven Spielberg's Tintin panel, he’s on the schedule this time with the whole gang of hobbits and dwarves to talk about The Hobbit, part one of a two-part movie franchise following up on his Lord of the Rings smash for Warner Bros.
While DC Comics is obviously one of the heavyweights at any Comic-Con, it's promoting its Superman franchise just as Henry Cavill, the new Man of Steel, will be on a Warner Bros. panel for the 2013 Superman reboot. Another comic book adaptation whetting fans' appetites — the Judge Dredd reboot, offering Comic-Con attendees a sneak peek ahead of the Sept. 21 release.
Warner Bros. Entertainment - a major presence at SDCC, including plastering its movies and TV shows on the official SDCC bag - is presenting the Extra festival, an outdoor event at Bayfront Park with a "The Batcave" for viewing all six TV/movie Batmobiles, from Adam West's 1955 Lincoln Futura to the Tumbler in The Dark Knight Rises. Warner TV studio-produced series hitting the dais include HBO's Game of Thrones, The Big Bang Theory, Fringe, The Vampire Diaries and more.
Sony is touting animated comedy, Hotel Transylvania, which arrives in cinemas on September 28 and features the voices of Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez. On the darker side, Quentin Tarantino is unveiling his violent antebellum revenge flick Django Unchained (Dec. 25), while Jake Gyllenhaal is plugging his cop drama, Thin Blue Line.
Jodie Foster makes a rare appearance along with Matt Damon for South African director Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, the follow-up to his 2009 hit, District 9 (SDCC viral marketing driving fans to check out itsbetterupthere.com). The original action hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is at SDCC promoting his Aug. 17th movie, The Expendables 2, with co-stars Sylvester Stallone, Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and Terry Crews.
TV shows vying for fans' attention include Twentieth Century Fox Television, bringing Glee to Comic-Con for the fourth straight year, while AMC is plugging zombie-tastic The Walking Dead and other shows. VH1 Classic is sponsoring the first-ever official Comic-Con Opening Night Attendee Welcome Party, "Dawn of the Con," with a Thursday night party featuring Rob Zombie. (For more on TV shoes at SDCC, check out eonline.com's rundown of panels hyping new or returing shows from USA, MTV, HBO and more.)
And on the online side of things, Vuguru and POW! Entertainment are there with Spider-Man creator Stan Lee to promote Stan Lee's World of Heroes, an original YouTube channel for all things related to, well, heroes, while YouTube is also wooing fans to check out Bryan Singer's new H+ web series.
Are you at Comic-Con? Let us know what Hollywood projects are whipping up interest in the comments below.