Comic-Con 2015 Recap – The Hits and Misses

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Comic-Con Schedule for Thursday, July 9, 2015

Another Comic-Con is over and it was a crazy week as always, as here at ComingSoon.net we did our best to cover whatever we could to keep readers who weren’t attending updated about what was going on. We’re all pretty exhausted, but now seems like a good time to assess how things went this year compared to the past few years. 

Since a lot of what I personally do here at ComingSoon.net is write about the box office in my Weekend Warrior column, it’s impossible not to look at how some of the movies might fare after their panels and promotion during a convention that has expanded well beyond the Convention Center at this point.

Comic-Con’s Hall H is Still the Place to Be

Like I said above, Comic-Con is no longer limited to just the convention center with Universal/Blumhouse doing a panel for M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit all the way out at the Horton Grand Theater (where Scott Pilgrim vs. the World premiered five years ago). Maybe they remembered the reception to Shyamalan’s name when a trailer for Devil debuted in Hall H years earlier.

However much fun stuff was going on outside the Con at places like Petco Park, where visitors could cuddle and take pictures with puppies for Fox’s The Peanuts Movie or the nearby Scouts Guide to Zombie Apocalypse “Interactive Zone,” all the talk was still about what was going on in the ever-elusive Hall H.

People were lining up to get wristbands over 24 hours in advance for the panels on Friday and Saturday, so that you had to be really patient and determined to get in there. Once you did, you were treated to an experience that cannot be duplicated by any write-up, live blog or leaked footage. The screens had been getting bigger and bigger each year (even adding 3D one year for Avatar), but this year the screen ran all the way around the massive room and those side screens were used to enhance the experience.

This may be why most of the conversations being had online from those covering the con were about Hall H, whether it’s the Lucasfilm panel for Star Wars: The Force Awakens or the Warner Bros. one or some of the others we’ll discuss below. I’m sure there was great stuff in Ballroom 20 and others, but Hall H was definitely the place to be, and that’s where I spent most of my time.

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Deadpool Might Actually Work…

I’ve never been a huge fan of Marvel’s Merc with a Mouth, but Ryan Reynolds’ enthusiasm about playing the popular X-Force character has been infectious over the past few years, and the panel and first footage from Deadpool really killed it in Hall H in a way I haven’t seen since 300. The audience went absolutely bonkers for the first look at footage, enough so that they were chanting “Show It Again!” over and over. And then they pirated it. Waugh Waugh.

But seriously, as someone who wasn’t sure that a snarky R-rated superhero would work, I was thoroughly entertained by the footage, especially the bits between Reynolds and T.J. Miller which made it clear that this was going to be on par with their respective comedies but with violent R-rated action to boot. I probably should have had more confidence in Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the writers of the awesome Zombieland, but this panel killed and hopefully the other heroes and villains surrounding Deadpool in the movie will make sense.

You can watch my interviews with Reynolds and others from the cast here.

Suicide Squad and More from the Warner Bros. Comic-Con Panel

…As Might Suicide Squad

When I first heard that Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment were making the Suicide Squad movie, I thought, “Well that’s kind of cool and interesting.” But even though I liked the comics, I couldn’t really figure out how how these disparate characters (many who mainstream audiences won’t know) and actors might work together, but it’s clear from the footage that director David Ayer really knows what he’s doing in terms of creating a movie based an ensemble of villains (or anti-heroes, if you will) and expanding the DC Universe beyond Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. It was more impressive by the fact that they’re still shooting the movie but have enough footage to get us excited. I’m sure everyone will have their own opinion of the footage, which was released officially after a pirate leak, but there was nothing like seeing it for the first time with the amazing sound system and projection within Hall H.

Force Awakens Exhibit

Everyone at the Lucasfilm Panel Was Probably Already a Star Wars Fan

Granted, Comic-Con is meant for the fans, but there’s a certain point where you’re preaching to the converted and the Lucasfilm panel and concert basically was doing exactly that, because everyone who stayed up all night and waited all day in Hall H on Friday was probably already going to pay to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens when it was released in December.

I didn’t get into the panel but it seemed like everything was being tweeted so incessantly that I knew what was happening and everyone who attended were going for nuts for things that honestly mean little to me (like a reunion of the triumvirate of Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fischer, all well past their prime ten years ago).

It’s disappointing that they chose to show some behind-the-scenes footage and do a couple of character/creature reveals rather than showing more footage, clips, etc, but they’re probably saving some of that stuff for next month’s D23 Expo in Anaheim. Still, they finally did something to make the fans happy after bowing out of other events, so hopefully that will translate into something more than a night that happens and then is quickly forgotten. I still think The Force Awakens will set a December opening record but will also be affected by its proximity to Christmas.

If You Want News, Read a Paper!

This happens every year where all these rumors start swirling that they’re going to announce one thing or another and then some outlet or other claims the exclusive that they got this news early and then Comic-Con comes along and what is announced? Well, almost nothing. Other than DC Films sneaking out that the next Green Lantern movie will be called Green Lantern Corps. (as part of a sizzle reel, no less), there was no casting or director announced beyond what we already knew. Warner Bros. didn’t even mention Phil Lord and Christopher Miller being a part of the planned The Flash movie, so maybe they have indeed moved onto the Star Wars spin-off?

Walking Dead Season Finale

TV is Still King

This kind of goes without saying, but fans who come to Comic-Con are still more interested in seeing their favorite TV stars than having movie marketing crammed down their throats. I didn’t cover many of the TV panels until Sunday, but the panels for Ryan Murphy’s two new shows and even the one for NBC’s “Heroes Reborn” were a lot of fun and they got me more interested in seeing those shows than some of the movie stuff I saw. I can only imagine that “The Walking Dead,” “The Game of Thrones” and some of the WB and Marvel Television panels had a similar effect for their fans, because they all played to full houses.

Boring Panels are Boring

That may sound redundant, but there’s nothing worse than a panel that just falls flat and kills the mood and energy in Hall H and that’s exactly what happened when 20th Century Fox brought out the cast from Fantastic Four. I won’t even get into our criticism about how bland the newest trailer looked, but no one on the panel seemed to be interested in being there and they gave such flat canned answers to the boring questions given to Chris Hardwick by Fox. And that was following the entertaining bit of ribaldry conducted by James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe for Victor Frankenstein just minutes earlier.

Meanwhile, the panel for Ryan Murphy’s two upcoming horror shows “American Horror Story: Hotel” and “Scream Queens,” which didn’t show any new footage, was highly entertaining mainly due to the talent of the people on stage who played well off each other and were clearly having as much fun being in Hall H as they are making the show.

Fortunately, Fox had Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse (and the world’s biggest superhero selfie) to save their panel after the Fantastic Four almost caused everyone in the room to doze off.

Comic-Con Photos: New Photos from the 2015 Convention!

Batman vs. Superman is Gonna Be Huge

The Warner Bros. panel was generally great, but they definitely saved the best for last by bringing out the entire cast of Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and showing the first full trailer which is now online. I think there were a lot of questions about what Snyder was doing, because it seemed to be setting itself up as a prequel to Justice League, nothing more or less. That doesn’t seem to be the case and it sets up a rather logical reason for the two biggest DC superheroes to be at odds while finding a reason to have Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman involved. (And this is very much a sequel to Man of Steel as well since it continues the relationships established there.) I’m excited to see this one and see if it’s able to beat the current March opening record set by The Hunger Games.

The GD in GDT Should Stand for “Geek Deity”

There are few filmmaker who can command the respect at Comic-Con than Guillermo del Toro and that was the case once again as he presented more new footage from Legendary Pictures’ Crimson Peak and previewed Sunday night’s season premiere for “The Strain” on FX. There’s no one more entertaining or informative when it comes to selling his work than Del Toro and he proved that once again during his presentations in Hall H for his two projects. I may be biased, because for the third or fourth year in a row, I got to sit down with Guillermo to talk about these things and you can watch that interview here.

Show Your Footage Again!

It’s something that’s proven effective for years that if footage goes over well, then showing it again will make the fans even more excited. The only problem is that a few low-lifes decided that having a second chance to view the footage also meant they could take out their phones and record said footage and leak it online, which continues to be such a problem that studios might stop showing stuff. So cut it out!

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Where’s the Pixar Love?

Considering how many people love Pixar Animation and their most recent movie Inside Out, I was shocked by how few of my movie writer colleagues made an effort to see the company’s latest short film, Sanjay’s Super Team, which will play in front of The Good Dinosaur in November. Besides showing it twice, director Sanjay Patel and producer Nicole Grindle talked extensively about the origins of the project and how they made some of the production decisions that went into creating the gorgeous, emotional and very personal short film. (You can watch my interview with them here)

Is this the End of Kevin Smith in Hall H?

Every year, Kevin Smith does an extended panel in Hall H where he essentially pimps whatever his next movie is, answers questions and tells long-winded stories, but this year, his panel was after Friday’s Lucasfilm panel and J.J. Abrams was nice enough to take everyone from the panel out to a free concert behind the convention center. With everyone leaving, that left a very empty Hall H on Friday night, so did anyone even see the footage from Yoga Hosers, his follow-up to Tusk? I certainly didn’t see or hear much written about it, at least nothing good. I think Kevin Smith may have outlasted his welcome doing a big panel at Comic-Con and maybe they should move him to a smaller room or put him on Wednesday or Thursday night. 

While we still have a few more interviews to run from this year’s Comic-Con, that’s mostly it for this year and we have a full year to relax, recuperate and figure out how to do things differently next year.

Let us know what you think was the coolest stuff you heard about (or saw) out of Comic-Con and what you’re looking forward to see in the comments below. You can check out all our coverage from the convention in the Comic-Con Hub.