By all early estimates, the latest edition of Comic-Con was a huge success, both for the legions of fans attending the show and for the studios toy companies and TV and cable entities offering sci-fi and fantasy-related projects in the near future. Officials were expecting the attendee number to pass 100,000, much higher than last year’s 94,000. Over 1,000 vendors marketed their toys, comicbooks and related merchandise in the 460,000-square-feet arena.
The 36th edition of the San Diego fest offered sneaks and talent showcases related to features such as Bryan Singer’s much-anticipated Superman Returns, Warner Bros.’ V for Vendetta, Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, Walt Disney/Walden Media’s holiday release The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Columbia’s Zathura, Columbia/Marvel’s Ghost Rider, Joss Whedon’s Serenity, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, Paramount’s Aeon Flux, and Disney’s holiday CG-animated release, Chicken Little (directors Mark Dindal and Randy Fullmer offered an insider’s look at the making of the movie).
Bryan Singer got a standing ovation from eager fans at the Saturday morning Superman Returns event. The crowd responded quite well to the early footage of the film, emphasizing Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s romantic entanglements (Brandon Routh and Kate Bosworth). The feature finds Lois married to the son (James Marsden) of the editor of The Daily Planet, played by Perry White. Superman’s nemesis Lex Luther is portrayed by Kevin Spacey, who also starred in Singer’s The Usual Suspects.
Although King Kong director Peter Jackson was miles away, he did send a taped greeting from New Zealand which accompanied the exciting trailer for the holiday release. "I tried to make it as brutal as I could," he said. "I’ve been dying to make this movie my whole life, and I enjoyed every minute of it." Universal Studios Consumer Products and Playmates Toys also introduced a line of toys based on the movie King Kong.
This year’s list of celebs, creators and fantasy luminaries in attendance this year included Joss Whedon, Matt Groening, David Cronenberg, Bruce Campbell, Kevin Smith, Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury, Roger Corman, Charlize Theron, Kate Beckinsale, Jack Black, Naomi Watts and Adrien Brody.