“Aeon Flux” is a hit. “X-Men 3” is not.
Or at least that’s the early buzz from Comic-Con, alternatively known as nerd prom, or “Cannes for fans.” The comics convention, which wrapped up this weekend in San Diego, has become a bellwether for summer blockbusters, with film studios actively wooing the nearly 100,000 attendees with star visits and sneak peeks.
“People will talk about a movie preview, go online and blog about it, and tell their friends. It’s the best way to get a grassroots promotion going,” says DreamWorks spokesman Olivier Moroux.
The buzz this year included:
* Charlize Theron generated the most excitement when she appeared to promote her upcoming film “Aeon Flux.” Adapted from a short-lived animated series on MTV, it features Theron (in a skin-tight black catsuit) as an assassin after the head of a corrupt future government. It’s due sometime in the fall.
* There’s a lot of skepticism about “X-Men 3,” which is slated for a spring release. Fans aren’t sure the film can be turned around that fast and look as good as the beloved first two chapters. They also worry about the casting of a mutant hooker and Kelsey Grammer as a giant blue furry character, Beast. But mostly, there’s grumbling over the director √≥ Brett Ratner, director of “Rush Hour.”
* But geeks are ga-ga over the film director Bryan Singer (who helmed the first two “X-Men” movies) left for: “Superman Returns.” Singer has been releasing little teases of the film online, including a shot of newcomer Brandon Routh (as Clark Kent) throwing a baseball over an entire cornfield. There’s also a rumor (unconfirmed) that the movie, out next summer, will include footage of the late Marlon Brando that was left out of Richard Donner’s “Superman” film.
* Could “The Chronicles of Narnia” be the next “Lord of the Rings”? Disney certainly hopes so, and was teasing fans with posters and a trailer from the film. Initial verdict √≥ could be very cool, especially because of the top-notch special effects. It’s out this fall.
* Less effect-ing is “King Kong,” the new film from “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson. Though fanboys love Jackson’s work, the initial peeks show a monkey that has many geeks snickering. They’re hoping things turn around by the holiday release.
* Also hot: A bald Natalie Portman in the comic adaptation “V for Vendetta,” “Ghost Rider” with Nicolas Cage, Tim Burton’s latest stop-animation film, “Corpse Bride” and a movie that won’t be out until 2007, but already has split the ranks of geeks. Will “Transformers,” about giant transforming robots, be brilliant, or the worst idea ever?