Celebs visit Comic Con

The 40th annual San Diego International Comic Con attracted an estimated 125,000 fans

The 40th annual San Diego International Comic Con attracted an estimated 125,000 fans of film, TV, video games and comic books for four days of beautiful weather, celebrity sightings and previews of upcoming blockbusters.

While some worried the convention had strayed beyond its comic book roots to become a Hollywood marketing event, fans of all stripes celebrated their favourite pastimes with vigour — and more than a few interesting homemade costumes.

The biggest Hollywood-related draws of the festival were from veteran director James Cameron, who unveiled 25 minutes of footage from his long-awaited 3-D film, Avatar. Also on display for the first time were toys and concept art related to the film.

But perhaps even more anticipated — and the cause for more controversy — was the panel previewing New Moon, the latest in the Twilight series. Fans of the book and film franchise camped out the day and night before the panel, overtaking the 6,500-capacity Hall H, to the chagrin of fans hoping to attend other panels scheduled the same day.

Another piece of news was word that a sequel to the 1980s hit Tron is in fact on its way, as Jeff Bridges, star of the original, was happy to report. Principal filming has been completed, Bridges confirmed, but was intentionally cagey on plot details.

Tim Burton was on hand to preview his next big film, Alice in Wonderland, and even brought along star Johnny Depp as a surprise. “It’s been years since I’ve been to Comic Con,” Burton said. “It’s so great to be back.” He was also on hand to promote the animated film, 9, for which he served as producer. The film is due out next month.

First-time director Mike Dougherty was particularly thrilled to be bringing his horror film Trick or Treat to the convention, where is screened in front of a capacity crowd Thursday night. “These are my people. I’ve been coming here as a fan for 11 years,” Dougherty, who also co-wrote Superman Returns and X-Men 2, explained. “It’s like coming home.”

Batman sequel

• Gary Oldman had come to Comic-Con to support The Book of Eli, but is dishing about The Dark Knight instead. The 51-year-old actor says the sequel to the Batman mega-hit will start shooting next year and likely be released the following.

 
 
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