Pros of the Con

Studios pitch genre film, TV projects to influential fan auds

The link between comicbooks and Hollywood has never been stronger, and nowhere is that connection more palpable than at Comic-Con, where the studios’ presence grows each year.

Sander Schwartz, president of Warner Bros. Animation, sees great benefit in going to Comic-Con and presenting specific programs. “Even though it’s not reaching an audience of millions like we can on the WB or Cartoon Network, the group of people who attend are likely to be the early adapters — who are early to the Web site, and can create a lot of buzz and chatter on the Internet,” says Schwartz.

“Studios participate because they know that we have a great demographic for whatever materials are presented,” says David Glanzer, Comic-Con’s director of marketing and public relations.

Here’s a quick look at what the studios will be promoting and previewing at the Con:

  • Paramount powers into the Con with “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” complete with an appearance by star Jude Law. The studio also will plug “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” and offer an exclusive look at the “SpongeBob SquarePants” movie.

  • 20th Century Fox will preview Marvel Comics-based titles “Elektra,” starring Jennifer Garner, and “Fantastic Four.” It also will have extended looks at “I, Robot” and the Dark Horse Comics-inspired “AVP: Alien vs. Predator.”

  • New Line Cinema is bringing a look at Marvel’s vampire hunter “Blade: Trinity,” along with the comedy “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.” The studio’s homevid division will tubthump the release of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” extended edition DVD.

  • Disney will make its first official display at the Con, touting its comics and youth publishing slate, which ranges from classics such as “Uncle Scrooge” to popular newcomers “W.I.T.C.H.” and “Kylion.” Buena Vista will offer a peek at films “The Incredibles” and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

  • Warner Bros. will tout its DC/Vertigo Comics adaptation “Constantine,” with star Keanu Reeves to attend. Also on its slate are “The Exorcist: The Beginning,” “Sound of Thunder” and next year’s “Batman Begins.”

  • Universal is bringing in Sarah Michelle Gellar to preview “The Grudge” and Joss Whedon to talk about “Serenity.”

Other films on the docket include Dimension’s “Frank Miller’s Sin City;” and Jim Henson Co.’s “MirrorMask,” written by frequent comicbook scribe Neil Gaiman and directed by artist Dave McKean.

On the TV side, Sci Fi Channel is previewing “Battlestar Galactica,” “Stargate Atlantis” and “Farscape”; Cartoon Network will plug its Adult Swim toons; Comedy Central will present animated reality show “Drawn Together”; Fox will showcase “Tru Calling,” with Eliza Dushku; and ABC will screen the pilot to J.J. Abrams’ fall series “Lost.” Panels devoted to cult faves and current hits from “Smallville” and MGM-TV’s “Dead Like Me” to “Freaks and Geeks” and “Wonderfalls” also are set.

WB Animation will be busy with comicbook TV properties “Justice League Unlimited,” “Teen Titans” and two DC-inspired series: a new version of “The Batman” and a show starring Superman’s pet dog, “Krypto.” Nick will focus on “Avatar” and “Danny Phantom.”

Columbia TriStar Home Video also will be putting together a presentation with Dark Horse Comics for the “Hellboy” DVD release, complete with a signing featuring Guillermo Del Toro. WB’s home-video crew will tout the DVD releases of the second season of “Smallville” and the first season of 1970s classic “Wonder Woman,” starring Lynda Carter. The “Bionicle 2” DVD, based on the popular Lego toys, will get a preview, too.

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