Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Comic-Con has officially vaulted from obscure niche fest to pop culture phenomenon (Read: It's not just for geeks anymore). As the convention kicks off tomorrow -- with expected guests like Pattinson and Megan Fox, and possibly even Johnny Depp -- here's our guide to the 10 biggest movie newsmakers to look for. For decades now, fanboys and girls -- long before they were lovingly called so -- have flocked to San Diego for Comic-Con, a four-day celebration of everything geek where Stormtrooper costumes and superhero capes outnumber sports logos ten-to-one.
It's been about a decade since Hollywood since caught on, and movie studios now use the convention as a prominent platform to set buzz machines in motion for their most high-profile movies. Remember '300'? Thanks to its debut at the Con, Fanboys were itching for that action a half a year before Zack Snyder's stylistic Spartan orgy battled its way to $210 million at the box office. Last year, 'Twilight' had its coming out party to the tune of 5,000 screaming girls serenading Robert Pattinson et al.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Comic-Con has officially vaulted from obscure niche fest to pop culture phenomenon (Read: It's not just for geeks anymore). As the convention kicks off tomorrow -- with expected guests like Pattinson and Megan Fox, and possibly even Johnny Depp -- here's our guide to the 10 biggest movie newsmakers to look for. – By Kevin Polowy
'Alice in Wonderland'
Will Tim Burton's take on the Lewis Carroll classic be as blissfully weird and fantastically trippy as it seems? Will Johnny Depp take his madcap tenor to new heights as the Carrot Top-meets-Priscilla, Queen of the Desert-looking Mad Hatter? Burton is also making his first appearance in front of the Con's rabid fans. We've seen the photos. Now can we get a little footage, Tim?
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Apparently far too excited to wait until July, James Cameron debuted 24 minutes of his epic sci-fi extravaganza -- forecasted to be one of the year's biggest hits when it opens this December, and finally, truly revolutionize 3D – last month at a coffee shop/expo in Amsterdam. (Summary of reviews: Coolest. Movie. Ever.) Now the "king of the world" will finally unleash some sceneage to domestic audiences, making fanboy fans' hearts, you know, go on and stuff.
Normally for a star-less, foreign-set flick to emerge out of nowhere would require a platform like the 'Con, but this aliens-in-captivity thriller has been heating up Google searches and genre blogs for the past month, thanks mostly to the increasing awareness of producer Peter Jackson's involvement. Jackson -- or as we like to call him, The Incredible Shrinking Man -- will make his first appearance at Comic-Con to further hype up 'District.'
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Otherwise known as 'Megan Fox and the Mysterious Case of the Missing Waist.' The insanely popular 'Transformers' bombshell will be on hand (uh-oh, how many fanboys will show up with roses?) to taut this upcoming comic book/Western hybrid starring Josh Brolin as the eponymous disfigured bounty hunter. Our fearless prediction: Fox says something outrageous.
'Iron Man 2'
Two years ago, Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr. and company rocked Comic-Con with a full-length trailer that gave the superhero actioner impeccable word-of-mouth a whole nine months before opening day. This year they return with high-profile newbies in tow (including Comeback Kid Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johansson) to prove they can do it again. Meanwhile, gossip hounds will probably be keeping an eye on just how close "dueling" female leads Gwyneth Paltrow and Johnasson get.
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Girl power finally had a major presence at the 2008 'Con, with hundreds even camping out in line for a first look at the movie adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's wildly popular 'Twilight' books. The ensuing decibel level within the San Diego Convention Center's massive Hall H tipped off anyone in attendance to just how OMG-iffic the coming movie franchise would be. Our advice for anyone present at this year's 'New Moon' panel: Bring earplugs.
'Toy Story 3'
Pixar has been a steady presence at Comic-Con for years, and while their presentations don't elicit the same shrieks as a panel with celebs in the flesh, they're never disappointing. This year, though, the animation gurus come boasting their most highly anticipated 'toon since, well, 'Toy Story 2.' And shoot, we'd scream at a Tom Hanks cameo. Maybe even Ratzenberger, too.
Disney stunned audiences in '08 with the announcement that a 'Tron' remake was in the works – then watched more jaws drop to the floor as they unveiled some candy-coated footage. This year the studio plans to show more of the "3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world that's unlike anything ever captured on the big screen." Wonder what James Cameron says about that.
'Where the Wild Things Are'
The fanciful, surreal preview for Spike Jonze's version of the classic kids book -- perfectly set to an Arcade Fire tune -- is easily one of the year's best trailers, alleviating fan worries that the long-delayed project was in turmoil. But a dialogue-less trailer is one thing, scenes from the movie far more telling. We're more than ready for a more intimate look at the wild things.
Surprise, Surprise! (?)
For as much as is advertised over the course of the four-day convention, some studios get the biggest bang out of surprise announcements and appearances (last year it was 'Tron,' 'Wolverine' and 'Wolf Man,' the year before 'Watchmen' and 'Star Trek' casting calls). Among the speculation: Will Peter Jackson announce the cast of 'The Hobbit'? Will 'Spider-Man 4' be in the building? Will 'Green Lantern' or 'Green Hornet' make an appearance? Will Megan Fox lock eyes with a fan and fall in love at first sight? It could happen. Stay tuned for our daily reports on Moviefone and Cinematical.
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