The target demo for big summer movies is typically under-25 males--or fanboys, as Hollywood marketers call them.
Fanboys drive the box office for mega-million dollar budgeted productions inspired mostly by sci-fi storylines and comic book superheros. They're also the core audience for ultra-visual filmmakers who've tapped into the fanboy Zeitgeist.
Last weekend showed fanboy power at work with the $38.3 million launch ofthe 3D PG-13 sea monster epic
franchise. The film tracked best and nearly the same with under-25 males and over-25 males, a potent combination for summer action adventures.
Not surprisingly, filmmakers and fanboys get together every summer to focus on the next round of must-see tentpole movies. This year's 44th annual Comic-Con International, which runs from July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center, will have the usual strong participation from movie studios eager to generate early awareness among fanboys, for whom Comic-Con is celluloid catnip.
Warner Bros., Sony Pictures and its Screen Gems arm, Summit Entertainment and Universal are among the distributors who will be rubbing shoulders with the fanboys this week.
Universal's promoting two upcoming releases Friday that are targeted to young males--the R-rated action comedy
, directed by Jeff Wadlow, opening Aug. 16; and the R-rated sci-fi thriller
, directed by David Twohy opening Sept. 6. Twohy and
stars Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff and Dave Bautista will be on hand for a panel discussion as will an as yet unannounced
Warner Bros. is holding a press session Saturday to promote five high profile 3D releases it's releasing from this fall through next spring. The sci-fi thriller Gravity
, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, doesn't open until Oct. 4, but it's kicking off the Venice Film Festival Aug. 28. Director Alfonso Cuaron and producer David Heyman will be on hand to start spreading the word.
The Lego Movie
from Warners and Village Roadshow opens next February, but Comic-Con's the perfect place to promote what the studio's calling the brand's first ever full-length theatrical Lego
adventure. Directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller and producer Dan Lin will be at Comic-Con to build an early buzz.
The reboot of the iconic monster adventure Godzilla
from Warners and Legendary Pictures opens next May. Director Gareth Edwards and stars Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen will be there to talk about it.
franchise's next episode is the stand-alone story 300: Rise of an Empire
, from Warners and Legendary Pictures, and hits theatres next March. Director Noam Murro and stars Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green and Rodrigo Santoro will be participating at Comic-Con.
Also in the Comic-Con spotlight will be the fantasy action adventure Seventh Son
from Warners and Legendary Pictures. Director Sergey Bodrov and stars Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Kit Harrington and Antje Traue will be there to kick start excitement over the film.
Friday will see Sony Pictures and its Screen Gems unit promoting four high profile releases, including:
Sony Pictures Animation's 3D comedy Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
, opening Sept. 27. Directors Cody Cameron & (first-time director) Kris Pearn and stars Anna Faris and Terry Crews will be on hand.
Screen Gems' PG-13 action adventure The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
, opening Aug. 21. Director Harald Zwart, best-selling novelist Cassandra Clare and stars Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan and Kevin Zegers will participate at Comic-Con.
Columbia and MGM's sci-fi action reimagination of RoboCop
, opening Feb. 7. Director Jose Padilha and stars Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish and Samuel L. Jackson will be there.
Columbia and Marvel Entertainment's The Amazing Spider-Man 2
, opening May 2. What awaits Peter Parker in this sequel will be the subject for what's likely to be one of Comic-Con's hottest ticket panels.
Summit Entertainment will have two of the biggest names in fanboy entertainment on the scene for Comic-Con--Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. They'll host a screening Thursday of their action thriller Escape Plan
, opening Oct. 18, directed by Mikael Hafstrom.
These are only a few of the highlights that Comic-Con attendees can look forward to seeing. From the really long list of overlapping daily panel sessions it's clear that the fanboys will be frustrated by not being able to be in two places at once. Among the many compelling choices are:
The Thursday panel Superman: The Julie Schwartz Era, celebrating the Man of Steel's 75th birthday. The focus is veteran editor Julie Schwarz who in 1970 took over the Superman
comic line, charting a new course for a new generation of readers.
Another way to spend time Thursday will be at the panel session called Superior Spider-Man, which promises to provide the inside on Spider-Man's new allies, new foes and new look.
The music that's so important to superhero movies will also be the subject of a Thursday panel called The Anatomy of Superhero Film Music: Bringing a Comic Book to Life. Among the panelists: composer Marco Beltrami with director James Mangold, composer Brian Tyler with director Shane Black, composer Matthew Margeson with director Jeff Wadlow, composer Christopher Lennertz and music supervisor Dave Jordan.
Sunday will see an X-Men panel billed as your definitive one-stop shop for all things X-Men! Among the participants: writers Brian Michael Bendis, Paul Cornell, Gerry Duggan, Sam Humphries and Brian Posehn.
Fanboys will probably think they've died and gone to Heaven! There's way too much happening at Comic-Con for anyone to see it all, but Spider-Man
fans are bound to gravitate there while the Superman crowd heads elsewhere. With everyone picking and choosing their own must-see events, the early buzz will drive Hollywood's tentpole movies in the coming year.