Disney had a marvelous Comic-Con.
With a front-and-center “Tron: Legacy” glowing brightly, the fourth “Pirates” hoisting sail and a potential diamond mine of Marvel Studios tie-in franchises in its pocket, Disney has to be feeling pretty good about the future after what just happened in San Diego.
As Hollywood packs up its tentpoles and heads back up the 5, we look back on dozens of star-studded panels and parties, a hulking scoop, Han Solo, the unplanned pen-stabbing, and tons of cool previews and ask: Who got the Comic-Con 2010 epic win? And who got the FAIL?
EPIC WIN: DISNEY
Disney's Marvel Studios, along with their distribution partner Paramount, pulled an astounding feat by coordinating all of its characters from “The Avengers” on one stage – including newcomers Mark Ruffalo (Hulk) and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) – providing the definitive climax of the five-day festival in San Diego.
“Thor” looked stronger than expected. “Captain America” teased only, but to great response. It’s beginning to look like in buying Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in late 2009, the Walt Disney Co. really bought a license to print money.
Sure, there are some big titles to share with Paramount for now, but as Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige made clear this year, there are a lot more properties still to be mined, including “The Punisher,” which is back under Marvel’s control.
Disney also is helping Guillermo Del Toro stay busy after he left "The Hobbit," handing him the reins to “The Haunted Mansion” for a do-over; and Miramax debuted his look-through-your-fingers scare-fest “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” which also features a haunted mansion, just one you would never, ever take your kids to see.
The presumptive centerpiece of the show, “TRON: Legacy,” had a vibe that rippled through the San Diego Convention Center and beyond. And there’s another “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie on the way, but do those things ever make money?
EPIC WIN: “SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD”
Sure it’s quirky, and if you’re over 30 you might not get any of the references besides the “Seinfeld” joke (or pick up on the fact that “epic win” is from the film). “Scott Pilgrim” was a mini-phenomenon at Comic-Con this year. Hitting its target market at full force, “Scott Pilgrim” had panels, a world premiere, an interactive experience and a concert by Metric at Comic-con. Called an “epic of epic epicness,” Universal’s zany little film won’t challenge “Avatar” at the box office, but don’t be surprised if star Michael Cera and “Scott Pilgrim” have an impact at awards time.
WIN: FANS OF HARRISON FORD
You’d think the Han Solo AND Indiana Jones guy would be an old hand in San Diego, but it took Jon Favreau, “Cowboys & Aliens” and a pair of handcuffs to get Harrison Ford onto the Hall H stage for the first time. Who got a bigger cheer between Ford and Robert Downey Jr.? Do you really want to know?
WIN: ROBERT DOWNEY JR.
Only one person could upstage Jon "King of Comic-Con" Favreau, and that’s Iron Man himself. When megastar Robert Downey Jr, who is almost as much of a carnival barker as his buddy and director, surprised everyone by bounding out on stage at Hall H Saturday night to introduce his “The Avengers” castmates along with Samuel L. "Nick Fury" Jackson, the torch was passed: Downey is the biggest star around here.
WIN: SYLVESTER STALLONE
You might have to trust us on this one, but Stallone’s panel for “The Expendables” was one of the most entertaining, gut-busting moments of Comic-Con, and Sly might quietly be sitting on “Sex and the City” for men. Dare you to bet against him.
FAIL: ALIEN INVASIONS
Haven't we seen these movie before? Everyone’s searching for the next E.T., though he’s a little crankier this time and he brought weapons. Invasion titles include “Battle: Los Angeles” and “Skyline,” which is also a battle in Los Angeles. Oh, and Steven Spielberg has nothing to do with either one; he’s just backing the TNT invasion series “Falling Skies," while Jon Favreau pits six-shooters against laser cannons in “Cowboys & Aliens.” It’s not that any of these movies showed poorly – most were well received. But this is beginning to feel like too close an encounter to the genre.
FAIL: HARRY POTTER
Comic-Con didn’t get to see no Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson or Ralph Fiennes this year. In fact, in a case of arrogance or ignorance, no one of importance from the cast of one of the biggest franchises of all time showed up. Longtime cast member Tom Felton did a good job introducing the non-3D trailer for the 3D series finale of "Deadly Hollows" on Saturday afternoon, but he couldn't open an envelope on his own … and he was all alone. Disappointingly dim … in terms of wattage and planning.
FAIL: WARNER BROS.
OK, so “Harry Potter” didn’t make a splash – what else they got?
Not much. Warner also previewed Ryan Reynolds’ “Green Lantern,” but wasn’t able to pull together a meaningful look at the main character. Potential sleeper win for the WB: Zack Snyder’s stylized “Sucker Punch” steamed up Hall H with what might be the sexiest World War I insane-asylum movie of all time.
FAIL: 'THE GREEN HORNET'
Something about “The Green Hornet” has felt off from the beginning, and the Comic-Con presentation wasn’t promising: The room was dead, the panel looked uneasy, with Seth Rogen blandly answering questions and Christoph Waltz – likely the best thing in the movie – giving awkward compliments through clenched teeth. "Green Hornet" looks like a verdant bomb.
FAIL: GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S TIME MANAGEMENT
He is beloved, and for very good reason – but the hyperactive Mexican filmmaker is overextending himself, even as he just pulled out of “The Hobbit.” With "The Haunted Mansion" and "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" in the works, Del Toro is all over the map with books, games, horror movies, “Frankenstein and “Pinocchio” movies coming up ... and he somehow has time to look at people’s drawings?
FAIL: STAR WARS
July 23 was Star Wars day at Comic-Con and, besides the usual array of Stormtroopers and slave Leias you see every year, almost no one cared. George Lucas had precious little new to stir up the marketplace this year in the “Star Wars” universe. “Clone Wars” is a win on the Cartoon Network, but shouldn’t this group have more to hold up at Comic-Con than a TV ‘toon?
EPIC FAIL: COMIC-CON MEDIA RELATIONS
Take it from us, folks: A team visiting the Raiders gets better accommodations than what the press gets at Comic-Con.
Josh Dickey was tweeting like crazy from Comic-Con at http://twitter.com/JoshDickey. And he asks you: Who is more foolish -- the fool, or the fool who follows him?