If you’re not familiar with WonderCon and are thinking it’s a knockoff of Comic-Con, you’ll probably be happy to find out you’re wrong.

Normally held in San Francisco, the event is in Anaheim this year thanks to renovation at the Moscone Center.  WonderCon is the brother of Comic-Con, presented by the same organization.  And since Anaheim’s closer to Hollywood than San Diego is, the question is how many studios and networks will show up given that the Cons are just 4 months apart.

 

Definition of abilicious, if you were wondering: Channing Tatum appearance WonderCon? (courtesy of fanpop)

Actually this is the best time to launch hype about midseason and summer TV shows, as well as to promote films coming out in the gap between Cons.  Yes, it would be great to have a Con every weekend — Cons presented by Comic-Con organization — but that’s just not feasible.

I would gather that if we’re looking at Hollywood properties seeking a publicity boost, 21 Jump Street would have the most to gain this year from an appearance at WonderCon, as its debut coincides with WonderCon’s opening.  The movie’s going to want to sell itself as if it’s got more attributes than merely a slimmed down Jonah Hill and an abilicious Channing Tatum.

It’d be great to see action hero icons Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver at the Con promoting Summit’s The Cold Light of Day, opening April 6.  I’d like to see a bigger Summit booth as well.

 

Warner Brothers should be promoting its Sam Worthington-led Wrath of the Titans.  It was shot in 3D and has a trio of action movie veterans in the supporting cast: Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, and Ralph Fiennes.  Wow!  I just started seeing bus stop posters pop up around town.  Beating Charlize Theron’s fairy tale vehicle (Snow White and the Huntsman) to the punch, Julia Roberts has her Mirror, Mirror film coming out the same March 30 date as Titans. Relativity Media, if personnel can get out of the lawyer’s offices they’re probably stuck in these days, should trot out Roberts.  That would be so cool.

And why not do another Dorothy of Oz panel with Patrick Stewart?  There was one at Comic-Con, but I’m guessing the film could use more heat.

 

Has Paramount had a booth at Comic-Con?  Can’t remember.  With Titanic 3D coming out, it ought to.  There’s definitely buzz about the 3D version of the movie that people are ashamed of loving.  Why not fan the flames?

Seann William Scott (courtesy of allstarpics.net)

With two films out in the span of two weeks, Seann William Scott would be remiss not to show up to shill.  Goon comes out March 30 followed by American Reunion April 6.

I expect 20th Century Fox’s The Three Stooges needs some help.  Big help.

None too shy about promotion, Sylvester Stallone should be in attendance promoting Bullet to the Head.  It’s distributed by Warner Brothers.

When’s the last time Brett Ratner was at a Con? Movie 43 is a compilation of shorts directed by famous people including Ratner, Elizabeth Banks, Griffin Dunn, and Peter Farrely.  Fans are notably political — don’t be fooled by their costumes and wild-spirit attitude — and the LGBT community has been overwhelmingly welcomed and supported at the Cons.  Ratner has some repair work to do.

 

I’d line up to see Jason Statham.  I’d camp out to see Jason Statham.  I’d sleep in a sleeping bag to sl– I mean, to see him on a panel.  Haven’t heard too much about his Safe but I do know he rescues an abducted Chinese girl.  As in Crank, Statham battles several competing entities simultaneously.  It comes out April 27.

Yes, Avengers did make up for not being at Comic-Con with a panel at D23.  But it was a five-minute trotting out of the stars, after which Downey Jr. called for a replay of the trailer.  Then they left. Something more please. With a plethora of licensed products coming out, Disney is launching the summer season with the movie so WonderCon would be the last chance to get to the fanboys and fangirls.

Not much is competing with The Avengers in that first week of May, but Johnny Depp returns to summer action with his Dark Shadows.  I’d die if Warner Brothers brought Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, director Tim Burton, and Michelle Pfeiffer out.  That would be awesome.  Line up!

 

Uh, Battleship…?  Hmm.  Does Alexander Skarsgard show his abs and utter homoerotic dialogue?  True Blood fans would freak if he were there.  Take the note, Universal.

Alexander and True Blood at WonderCon? (courtesy of HBO) Hey, why are these pics all of shirtless men...??

Sony’s Men in Black sequel needs help too, what with all the hubub about rewriting and shutting down of production to do said rewriting.  I wasn’t excited about the teaser shown at CES during Sony’s presentation, but it was exciting to see Will Smith.  Bring him to WonderCon!

Charlize Theron has back-to-back movies in June, Snow White and the Huntsman and Prometheus.  Universal and Fox should get her to Anaheim.  Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, and Patrick Wilson as well, please.

 

I was impressed by the clip I saw of Tom Cruise in Rock of Ages.  Bringing him to a Con, though his isn’t technically a Con movie, would be helpful in maintaining his healthy comeback, New Line/Warner Brothers.  Are you listening?

Clips of Brave were shown at D23, but that was the first I heard about it.  More please.

Jon M. Chu’s GI Joe sequel is getting a lot of buzz because of the addition of Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis to their cast.  MGM take note: Channing Tatum has three summer movies coming out: two being released the same day, June 29, and two of which are yours (the one that isn’t is Magic Mike, in which he’s a stripper).  If Tatum doesn’t do WonderCon, that’d be like he’s dissing the fans.  Send that memo to Warner Brothers (Magic Mike).

 

And hello, Spiderman opens July 3.  Comic-Con isn’t until July 12.  Sony?  Anything?

Warner Brothers, please give us something from The Dark Knight Rises.  Yes, the movie comes out after Comic-Con has ended, but just the week after.

With The Hobbit expected at the end of the year, I say bring it, Weta.

The Olympics are well after Comic-Con, and Course of the Force, a light saber relay in the spirit of the Olympic torch relay, seems to capture its energy.  Any stunts for WonderCon?

 

From what I understand, also needing a boost are ABC’s The River, NBC’s Smash, and Fox’s Alcatraz.  Missing with Ashley Judd and Cliff Curtis debuts the week of WonderCon, as does Kiefer Sutherland’s Touch, which had a special preview late January.

Kevin Smith showed a Comic Book Men clip at his Live From Behind Fathom event; it looks funny.  I expect it to be at WonderCon.

A shirtless Meloni headed to WonderCon? (courtesy of Socialite Life)

HBO’s Game of Thrones returns in April, following WonderCon. Undoubtedly, it will have a WonderCon presence.  HBO could not ignore the opportunity.  The same goes for True Blood, set for a June premiere date.  Here’s hoping new cast member Christopher Meloni will be there.  I’ve had a thing for him since Oz.

For the comic book fan, there’s underlying resentment at the Hollywoodization of Cons.  But that’s the way it goes.  Hollywood has already infiltrated comic books themselves with the novelization and serialization of their TV shows and movies in comic book form.  In comic books, these properties have a separate life of their own, often creating an entirely new canon, or universe, even.

 

I think this year’s WonderCon will show that it actually is worthwhile to hand out trinkets and showcase stars.  Fans eat that stuff up.  To my mind, the hype generated is worth the studios’ effort.

 

—Ken Choy

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