San Diego Comic-Con International, known informally as just “Comic Con,” was started in 1970 by a group of friends as a one day event focused solely on comic books. From there it’s become a four-day festival that is unquestionably the biggest entertainment industry festival in the United States, encompassing novels, movies, television, internet shows and blogs, panels with their creators, merchandising, costumes, and oh yeah, comics. The fest is huge business, bringing in over $175 million and $2.4 million in tax revenue alone over five days.
From July 17 until July 21 over 130,000 people flocked to downtown San Diego. With that kind of captive audience and the potential to create immediate buzz, entertainment companies pay close attention to how their debuts and panels are received at the festival.
Here’s a recap of some of the biggest entertainment industry announcements to come out of “the Con” this year:
Warner Bros. to Tackle the Godzilla Franchise
The classic Japanese tale of an atomic lizard run amok is about to get the Hollywood treatment. And Warner Brothers, owned by Time Warner (TWX) did so in fittingly gargantuan manner. The company rented out an entire warehouse in San Diego’s Gaslamp district (right next to the convention center) that housed an interactive replication of the city of Tokyo. They also showed snippets of the big-budget monster flick.
The film will star Elizabeth Olson and Bryan Cranston and is slated for a May 16, 2014 release date.
Hunger Games Debuts Official Sequel Trailer
Along with Sundance, Comic Con is where movie studios go to drill up excitement for their coming products. One of the biggest was the debut of the trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the sequel to the $408 million dollar grossing Hunger Games.
The film opens November 22, and is produced by Lionsgate Entertainment ($LGF).
Surprise, Surprise, There’s Going to be an Avengers Sequel
The Avengers established Joss Whedon as possibly the most powerful creative force in Hollywood. While he’d been toiling away for years with moderately successful TV series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse, it was with Avengers that Whedon found real clout. And made some real money to boot. Avengers did 1.51 billion in total box office, making it the most financially successful movie of all time not made by a guy named James Cameron.
So it was a surprise to no one that there’s going to be another one. Tentatively called “Age of Ultron,” the new Avengers flick will reunite Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America and the rest of the Marvel pantheon in a story based on a popular, yet divisive, comic chapter of the Avengers comic bookie series.
The Avengers franchise is made by Walt Disney Co. (DIS) .
AMC Unveils Walking Dead Season 4 Trailer
Everyone’s favorite maddeningly inconsistent, internally turbulent zombie drama dropped their hotly anticipated trailer at the enormous Walking Dead panel discussion. Showrunner Scott Gimple – the third in the show’s run – unveiled the trailer while promising that the show is going to get “way crazier.”
The Walking Dead is on AMC (AMCX) and the new season will debut on October 18.
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