Hollywood Invades San Francisco with Wondercon

Friday, 01 April 2011 13:51 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Hollywood Invades San Francisco with Wondercon

San Diego Comic-Con may be geek mecca, drawing more than 100,000 fans from around the world to Southern California every July, but WonderCon, Comic-Con's neighbor, is growing more popular every year.  Last year, the convention saw a spike of nearly 10,000 additional attendees, and given the comic and fantasy gathering's prime position just before summer, WonderCon is attracting increased presence from the genre-friendly film properties that now dominate Comic-Con. This weekend's WonderCon will include panels with Ryan Reynolds on Green Lantern, Jon Favreau talking up Cowboys and Aliens, and newly minted Superman Henry Cavill on Tarsem Singh's upcoming fantasy epic Immortals.

By far the most sizable film panel of the weekend is Saturday's Immortals event, which features director Tarsem Singh, along with stars Henry Cavill, Luke Evans, Isabel Lucas, and Kellan Lutz.  This is the first big geek-oriented appearance from Henry Cavill since he was announced as the new Clark Kent in Zack Snyder's Superman: Man of Steel, so expect the actor to be bombarded with Kryptonian questions.  Nonetheless, Tarsem Singh's last film, The Fall, has a devoted following, and the buzz on Immortals is that the mythological adventure delivers a wallop where last year's Clash of the Titans failed to connect.

Having gained a reputation for showmanship at Comic-Con with two Iron Man-related panels in the last few years, Cowboys and Aliens director Jon Favreau knows exactly how to court the comic book crowd.  Favreau has a habit of unveiling surprise footage and special guests, so perhaps he'll have unexpected company from star Daniel Craig or Harrison Ford?

Director Paul WS Anderson won't be on hand to promote his update of The Three Musketeers, but star Logan Lerman, who plays D'Artagnan, will make an appearance.  The young actor will present new footage from the hopeful swashbuckling franchise, and in 3D no less.

After admitting that marketing so far has not met expectations and taking a break to ensure that every bit of promotional material is up to snuff, Warner Bros has a lot to prove with the Green Lantern panel.  Both star Ryan Reynolds and director Martin Campbell will be in attendance, and they'll be bringing some new superheroic footage with them.  Apparently, the film incorporates a lot of comic book characters and history, but that's all for naught if the adventure itself doesn't hold up.

The low budget superhero action-comedy Super will be represented by director James Gunn and star Rainn Wilson.  The film enters limited release today, April 1st, after winning many fans at Sundance in January.  The inimitable Drew McWeeny of Hitfix will host an hour long Q & A with Gunn and Wilson.  While the film's excessive violence and off-kilter humor could turn off mainstream audiences, the WonderCon crowd is likely to go bananas for it.

Priest, the post-apocalyptic 3D action film from Legion director Scott Charles Stewart has a Saturday panel with with stars Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet, and Lily Collins.  The Summit Entertainment release might alienate fans of the comic book by Min-Woo Hyung, since the film reportedly deviates substantially from the source material.  Still, with some knock-out footage, it could gain some acolytes as well.

You may have noticed that the upcoming Marvel Studios releases Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger are conspicuously absent.  As The Hollywood Reporter points out, after new trailers for both films and a barrage of material for Thor, the studio is seemingly out of fresh material to show at WonderCon. 

Despite any absent parties, the panels for Immortals, Cowboys and Aliens, Three Musketeers, Green Lantern, Super, and Priest are sure to provide enough movie-oriented goodness for attendees.  WonderCon may not boast the same international notoriety as Comic-Con, but given time, San Francisco in April will be just as packed as San Diego in July.

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