Hollywood’s hot tickets at Comic-Con, the Cannes of fanboys

The courtship of fanboys with film adaptations of comics, video games, sci-fi and fantasy action-adventures goes into full swing this week as Hollywood heads to San Diego to present its upcoming slate at the 41st annual Comic-Con, July 22-25.

The 126,000 attendees will be offered sneak peeks of the studios' upcoming lineup, though only 6,000 will get a seat in the convention center's large Hall H for film panels.

Directors and actors will show footage to build anticipation, in hopes of spreading buzz on blogs like Monsters and Critics for the box office. "I feel like one Comic-Con fan is worth 100 moviegoers," Watchmen director Zack Snyder told Variety.

Here is a rundown of 2010's Comic-Con Hollywood highlights and anticipated hits:

Thursday, July 22:

TRON: Legacy - stars Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen, and Garrett Hedlund present the sequel of the sci-fi cult classic.

RED - based on a DC comic, these CIA agents on the run include Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovich.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - from the graphic novel, a stylish live-action film pits nerdy Michael Cera against his girlfriend's evil exes. Anna Kendrick will also be on hand.

Salt - spy thriller with Angelina Jolie present to for a Q&A session before it opens Friday.

Megamind in 3D - features Will Ferrell's voice, along with Tina Fey, and Jonah Hill who will also attend. Brad Pitt, who plays Metro Man, might too.

Friday, July 23:

Green Hornet - Seth Rogen and Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz join director Michel Gondry to show off this spoof of the superhero in faux 3D

The Other Guys - not quite Comic-Con material but stars Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, and Dwayne Johnson will please the crowd.

Saturday, July 24:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint make a debut appearance at Comic-Con with the finale presentation.

Green Lantern - the iconic DC character played by Ryan Reynolds in this much-anticipated live-action film, featuring his computer-generated costume.

Captain America: The First Avenger - Chris Evans as the Marvel superhero, Hugo Weaving, and director Joe Johnston appear. Plus possible The Avengers announcements.

Thor - Chris Hemsworth as the Norse god will present this epic with director Kenneth Branagh. Also stars Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Stellan Skarsgard.

Paul - comedy by director Greg Mottola ( Superbad) about two geeks, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, traveling to Comic-Con and encountering an alien.

Cowboys & Aliens - director Jon Favreau ( Iron Man) presents his adaptation of the comic book about gunslingers vs. spacemen starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford.

Also, either not based on games or comics, or with little anticipation or fanfare, the following films could break out as sleeper hits:

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark - horror film with Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes, written and produced by Guillermo del Toro.

Sucker Punch - director Zac Snyder ( Watchmen, 300) an original fantasy with Mad Men's Jon Hamm.

Super - comedic crimefighters with no superpowers on a caper starring Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page and Liv Tyler.

Priest in 3D - a western-infused post-apocalyptic thriller with vampires, starring Paul Bettany.

Other presentations include Let Me In with Chloe Moretz ( Kick-Ass) in a cult vampire story, Resident Evil: Afterlife featuring Milla Jovovich in the fourth installment of the video game adaptation, and Drive Angry 3D starring Nicolas Cage in a wild bloody ride.

Television series from Fringe to Dexter and new shows such as The Walking Dead and No Ordinary Family will make presentations, as well as super hit Glee.

The legendary writer Ray Bradbury, fanboy favorite director Kevin Smith ( Clerks), and ‘visionary' producer/directors J.J. Abrams ( Star Trek) and Joss Whedon ( Buffy the Vampire Slayer) will also present their own seminars.

In 1976, this tradition of promoting movies at Comic-Con started when Lucasfilm did a Star Wars slideshow of costumes and concept art, plus a comic book to create excitement for the release.

http://www.comic-con.org

RC

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