Josh Rottenberg

July 28, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.

Comic-Con 2014: Hollywood stirs fan fervor to the very end

avengers-duo
If Hollywood seemed a tad quieter than normal this past weekend, there was a good reason: Like moths to a porch light — or Batman to the Bat Signal — film and television creators, executives and stars were drawn en masse to downtown San Diego in an effort to drum up excitement for their upcoming wares at the annual Comic-Con International pop-culture expo. The unveiling of the first footage from the highly anticipated superhero mash-up “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and an extended early glimpse at “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” may have sent the biggest reverberations through the four-day film, television, video-game and comic-book fest. But there was plenty of other news to stir the excitement of the 130,000 or so convention-goers who descended upon the San Diego Convention Center, many decked out in costume, to watch exclusive […]
July 27, 2014 | 10:14 a.m.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road': George Miller on car crashes, Tom Hardy’s animal magnetism

Tom Hardy as Max in a scene from "Mad Max: Fury Road." 
(Jason Boland / Warner Bros)
In the 35 years since Australian director George Miller made his debut with a gritty, high-octane post-apocalyptic action film called “Mad Max,” his road has taken many a twist and turn. The shoestring-budgeted “Mad Max” launched its star, Mel Gibson, to worldwide fame and spawned two hit sequels — 1981’s “The Road Warrior” and 1985’s “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” — and Miller went on to make such varied films as “The Witches of Eastwick,” “Lorenzo’s Oil,” “Babe: Pig in the City” and “Happy Feet.” Now, much to his surprise, Miller’s road has led him back to the “Mad Max” franchise, which he is rebooting with “Mad Max: Fury Road,” starring Tom Hardy — in the role Gibson originated — along with Charlize Theron. Hero Complex caught up with Miller just hours after footage from the film, which opens May 15, 2015, was greeted with raucous applause at Warner Bros.’ Comic-Con International panel. Hero […]
July 26, 2014 | 2:47 p.m.

Comic-Con: Peter Jackson takes a bow, George Miller shows off ‘Fury Road’

Benedict Cumberbatch, from left, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom attend the Warner Bros. Pictures panel for "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" on Day 3 of Comic-Con International on Saturday, July 26, 2014, in San Diego. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Zack Snyder’s early peek at “Batman v. Superman” kicked off the Warner Bros. Comic-Con International panel with some serious fanboy firepower, but the studio still had three other highly anticipated films in store for the 6,500-odd fans gathered in Hall H: Andy and Lana Wachowski’s sci-fi epic “Jupiter Ascending,” George Miller’s post-apocalyptic action reboot “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and the final installment in Peter Jackson’s blockbuster “Hobbit” trilogy, subtitled “The Battle of Five Armies.” Neither the Wachowskis nor “Jupiter Ascending” co-star Mila Kunis were on hand at the panel, so it fell to Channing Tatum to introduce footage from the space opera, in which he plays a genetically engineered warrior who comes to Earth to reveal to Kunis’ Jupiter Jones that she is interstellar royalty. “We really try to do something different, something you’ve never seen before,” Tatum told the crowd, calling the Wachowskis “absolutely out of their […]
July 26, 2014 | 1:36 p.m.

Comic-Con 2014: Wonder Woman costume, ‘Batman v. Superman’ teaser revealed

Wonder Woman
Usually when a studio has a surprise to unveil at their Comic-Con panel, they save it for the end to keep people guessing. But Warner Bros. tossed out that playbook for the packed crowd at its Hall H presentation and pulled out the big guns right off the bat, so to speak, offering fans an early, albeit brief, look at its much-anticipated superhero mash-up “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” From the moment the presentation began, it was clear that something major was afoot, as curtains pulled back to reveal jumbo-sized screens wrapping around the front of Hall H. As concept art from “Batman v. Superman” began flashing on the screens, fans, not surprisingly, erupted. Then moderator Chris Hardwick brought the film’s director, Zack Snyder, to the stage. With the film still early in its production, it’s anyone’s guess how much has actually been […]
July 25, 2014 | 8:09 p.m.

Comic-Con 2014: Fox panel features ‘Maze Runner’ spoiler, Biz Markie

James Dashner and from left, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario and Dylan O'Brien attend 20th Century Fox's panel for "The Maze Runner" on Day 2 of Comic-Con International on Friday, July 25, 2014, in San Diego. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Six thousand-odd Comic-Con International attendees came into 20th Century Fox’s Hall H panel wondering if there would be any big surprises of the sort Paramount offered yesterday with the appearance of Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaughey. A very early look at “X-Men: Apocalypse”? A tease of the new “Fantastic Four”? Well, the answers to those questions were no and no. But, as it happened, there were a couple of didn’t-see-that-coming moments, including at least one that may not have been entirely welcome. Toward the end of the presentation for the upcoming dystopian thriller “The Maze Runner,” which is adapted from a bestselling YA novel, the film’s star, Dylan O’Brien, was asked by an audience member about the most difficult scene he had to film. O’Brien thought for a moment and then answered that it was the death of a major character — who he named. Comic-Con 2014: Full coverage […]
July 25, 2014 | 8:04 p.m.

Comic-Con 2014: Daniel Radcliffe makes his Hall H debut with ‘Horns’

Director Alexandre Aja, actor Daniel Radcliffe and writer Joe Hill attend Comic-Con International 2014 at San Diego Convention Center on July 25, 2014 in San Diego, Calif. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Grab almost any Comic-Con International attendee and ask for his or her top pop-culture obsessions and the “Harry Potter” franchise is likely to rank near the top. Yet, surprisingly, the star of the “Potter” films, Daniel Radcliffe, never actually attended the convention until this year. Radcliffe’s inaugural Comic-Con appearance — which served to promote his upcoming horror dramedy “Horns,” which opens Oct. 31— kicked off with a mass Hall H rendition of “Happy Birthday” for the actor, who turned 25 on Wednesday. (How old does that make you feel?) “Horns,” which is adapted by director Alexandre Aja from a novel by Joe Hill (both of whom were also on hand), recounts the dark tale of a man named Ig (Radcliffe) who is falsely accused of killing his girlfriend and starts to grow a set of horns that seem to have a mysterious disinhibiting effect on those around him. Comic-Con 2014: Full […]
July 25, 2014 | 3:19 p.m.

Comic-Con 2014: mtvU’s first Fandom Awards salutes ‘GOT,’ ‘Mars’

"Game of Thrones" actors Natalie Dormer, left, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau accept the OMG Moment of the Year award for the "Purple Wedding" episode at the first-ever mtvU Fandom Awards at Petco Park during Comic-Con International on Thursday in San Diego. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
SAN DIEGO — There are plenty of Hollywood awards shows where people get gussied up in tuxedos, designer gowns and jewels on loan from Harry Winston. There are not so many, however, where attendees can be found dressed as superheroes, zombies and scary clowns. Just such an event was held Thursday night in San Diego’s Petco Park, where about 4,500 Comic-Con-goers gathered for mtvU’s first Fandom Awards. The ceremony, which will air on the college-demographic-targeted channel on Sunday night, was designed to celebrate exactly the sort of fervent, obsessive pop-culture ardor that draws droves of people to Comic-Con International every year. Other awards shows may be voted on by fans (think the People’s Choice Awards), but in this one the fans themselves were the winners. FULL COVERAGE: Comic-Con 2014 The inspiration for the Fandom Awards came out of internal research […]
July 24, 2014 | 6:27 p.m.

Comic-Con: ‘Interstellar’s’ Nolan, McConaughey make surprise showing

Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaughey
With this year’s Comic-Con feeling relatively light on huge tent pole movies compared with recent years, Hollywood observers wondered in the run-up to the convention whether the studios had any surprises up their collective sleeves. In its Hall H presentation, Paramount offered two fairly big ones in the forms of actor Matthew McConaughey and director Christopher Nolan, who took the stage to offer an early look at Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi epic “Interstellar.” FULL COVERAGE: Comic-Con 2014 Despite his fanboy-fave pedigree thanks to films like “Inception” and the “Dark Knight” trilogy, Nolan had never actually attended Comic-Con before. “I’ve heard a lot about this really being a place where people are most passionate about movies and popular culture in general, so I thought I’d come see what all the fuss is about,” he said. “I’m not disappointed and I’m extremely honored to be here.” Making his own first Comic-Con appearance, McConaughey […]
July 24, 2014 | 2:59 p.m.

Comic-Con 2014: Benedict Cumberbatch charms the fanboy faithful

Benedict Cumberbatch attends the DreamWorks Animation panel on Day 1 of Comic-Con International 2014 on Thursday, July 24, in San Diego. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
In the first major studio presentation at this year’s Comic-Con International, DreamWorks Animation was eager to show off its upcoming alien buddy-comedy “Home” and its big-screen spinoff “Penguins of Madagascar.” But for the fans who packed Hall H for Thursday’s panel, some of whom had lined up overnight, the main attraction wasn’t cuddly extraterrestrials or adorable penguins: it was actor Benedict Cumberbatch. The star of the BBC hit “Sherlock” and last year’s “Star Trek Into Darkness,” Cumberbatch had never actually attended the convention before this year and, to no one’s surprise, he was met with a rock star’s greeting of screams, squeals and popping flashes. FULL COVERAGE: Comic-Con 2014 To ensure the focus remained squarely on “Penguins of Madagascar,” in which the actor voices a secretive and heroic wolf named Classified, panel moderator Craig Ferguson half-jokingly admonished the crowd, “I’m warning you, if anyone asks a […]
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