Put a ring on it — DC and Warner Bros. have circled WonderCon in San Francisco to showcase their new approach to Hollywood heroes.
On April 1, three stars from the upcoming film “Green Lantern” will sign autographs for an hour and then take the stage for a panel discussion about the June 17 film that Warner Bros. executives hope will mark a new chapter in the silver-screen life of the DC Comics library. The watchword of the new approach is synergy, and a Warner Bros. news release on Monday morning shows the all-hands-on-deck approach in San Francisco. Here’s an excerpt from the release:
Following the opening day panel, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps will have a deep and diverse presence throughout the weekend due to the combined efforts of DC Entertainment (DCE) and the various divisions of Warner Bros. Entertainment, including Warner Home Video (WHV), Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) and Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP). WHV will present the World Premiere of the Blu-ray and DVD feature “Green Lantern: Emerald Knights” on Friday evening in the Esplanade Ballroom, immediately followed by a panel discussion featuring filmmakers and voice cast members. Panelists will also take part in an autograph session on Saturday. The all new DC Universe Animated Original Movie weaves six interlocking stories of the Green Lantern Corps’ rich mythology around preparations for an attack by an ancient enemy.
Also on Friday, DC Comics will host a panel about the Green Lantern comic books and the 2011 War of the Green Lanterns crossover event. The DC booth will host Green Lantern-themed signings and giveaways throughout the weekend. WBIE and DCE will showcase “Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters,” an action-adventure videogame that will be available in conjunction with the theatrical release of “Green Lantern.” Throughout the Con, visitors to the DC Comics booth will be able to get hands-on time with the game that delivers an immersive experience for Green Lantern fans of all ages.
It’s nothing new to bundle promotions and set up tie-in efforts to feature films but the Bay Area plans by Warner Bros. and DC represent more than that. There was a corporate restructuring in September 2009 that put the future of DC in the hands of President Diane Nelson and chief creative officer Geoff Johns, and that shake-up (as well as a shifting of some DC leadership jobs to the West Coast) were an implicit acknowledgment of the long dysfunctional relationship between the studio and its New York comic book unit. “Lantern” is the first film made with the new DC team in place and they will be flying the flag in a big way at WonderCon to win over spectacle film fans who, so far, have shown more excitement about the three Marvel adaptations this summer, (“Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Thor” from Marvel Studios and “X-Men: First Class” from Fox)
Fans will be eager to hear more about the tone of “Green Lantern” — the early trailer, at least, had a surprising reliance on winking humor, which stirred some anxiety for devotees of the dark and cosmic epic in the pages of the source material (many of the most celebrated pages, it should be noted, having been written by Johns himself) – while industry observers and the media will watch for answers to the really big question: Can Warner actually create a tentpole franchise with a DC hero who doesn’t live in Gotham City or Metropolis?
– Geoff Boucher
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