Comic-Con day 1: Del Toro directs 'Haunted House,' Joss Whedon directs 'The Avengers'

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The Independent Culture

Among the dazzling trailers for new films and all-star panels, including Will Ferrell for Megamind, Jeff Bridges for TRON: Legacy and Angelina Jolie for Salt, the first day of 2010's Comic-Con revealed announcements that sent fans Twittering.

Though not a surprise, Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, made it official that he will write and direct the film version of the Marvel comic book series The Avengers.

The movie will center on a super team of superheroes, including Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury and Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow. Also, Chris Hemsworth's Thor and Chris Evan's Captain America from upcoming films will appear, and an unnamed new Hulk, since Edward Norton will not return in the role. The film is due the summer of 2012.

Also, Guillermo del Toro ( Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy) surprised 6,500 Comic-Con fans when he announced he will bring Disney's Haunted Mansion ride attraction from the theme park  to film. Since bowing out of directing The Hobbit films, after delays in production, he's landed The Haunted Mansion project which he may also direct.

"It's going to be a thrill ride for the whole family but it's definitely going to be scary," he said about combining the fun and dark sides of the ride. It will draw on his fantastical imagery. There is no connection to Disney's previous attempt to turn the ride into a movie in 2003 with the Eddie Murphy comedy.

The signature "Mansion" ride, opened in Disneyland in 1969, is the dwelling of 999 happy ghosts haunting the hallways in California, Orlando, Florida, Tokyo and Paris. Disney's successful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, which encompasses three films already out and a fourth coming in 2011, also had its debut in a theme park attraction.

Comic-Con runs through July 25.

www.comic-con.org

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