Comic-Con has firmly established itself as the testing ground for blockbuster films, with the response of fans and critics in attendance setting the tone for a film’s reception sometimes more than a year before it’s release. This year was no different. Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” — a prequel of sorts to “Alien” starring Charlize Theron and Idris Elba — and Tarsem Singh’s Greek epic “Immortals” got the geek stamp of approval. And while there was no presentation for Disney’s upcoming robot boxing movie, “Real Steel,” star Hugh Jackman did manage to make a surprise appearance at the convention.
The biggest comic-book film hitting Comic-Con this year, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” had some highs and lows during its Friday session. On the plus side, series star Andrew Garfield endeared himself to fans with an earnest speech about how Spider-Man saved his life. “In every comic I read, he was living out my — and every skinny boys’ — fantasy of being stronger, of being free of the body I was born into,” said Garfield, who entered the panel posing as an audience member dressed in a cheap Spider-Man costume. “This is my first Comic-Con,” Garfield added. “This is definitely the coolest moment of my life.” On the minus side, Garfield’s on-screen nemesis, Rhys Ifans, was arrested for battery after getting into an argument with a security guard outside the hall.
Some big names struck out with their Con appearances, too: Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson showed off more of their upcoming “The Adventures of Tin Tin,” but as dazzling as the computer animation looked, talk mostly centered on how the face of their hero just wasn’t right. Still, they fared much better than Francis Ford Coppola, whose unveiling of “Twixt” was marred by lackluster footage and technical problems with his iPad-conducted presentation, which made for an awkward session.
The TV series
The biggest winner in the TV world was clearly HBO’s epic “Game of Thrones,” making its inaugural appearance at Comic-Con. Much like with last year’s “The Walking Dead,” organizers didn’t anticipate exactly how popular the panel would be, with an estimated 7,000 people turning up for the 4,500-capacity space. The fans that did get in cheered on series author George R.R. Martin and cast members including Jason Momoa and Emmy nominee Peter Dinklage.
Sci-fi fans got a treat when a Thursday night screening of the latest episode of “Torchwood: Miracle Day” turned into an impromptu meet-and-greet with series stars John Barrowman, Eve Myles and Mekhi Phifer, who popped in the introduce the episode. Panels for “True Blood,” “the Walking Dead” and Sarah Michelle Gellar’s new series, “Ringer,” also drew big crowds.
‘Twilight’ at Comic-Con
Stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and director Bill Condon were in attendance to tease the fourth of the series’ five movies, “Breaking Dawn — Part I,” for fans who had been camped out for up to three days. “I was praying that nobody booed at the clip,” the Oscar-winning director said afterward. “We haven’t had any test screening. So to show scenes, six to seven minutes of the movie, my heart was beating definitely.”
Panel and a show
“Community” star Donald Glover offered Comic-Con attendees an extra treat with a surprise show at the House of Blues Friday night by his rap alter-ego, Childish Gambino. His co-stars could be seen dancing up a storm just off-stage. “I’m running on fumes,” Glover admitted during interviews the next morning.