Comic-Con is more massive than ever, and the studios are playing it like the masters they are. While it's fun to see the digital marketers in their element, manipulating the hordes in order to send the fans out into the world to plant their seeds of viral knowledge, the hype machine is on full-blast. Disney came into what has been called Comic-Tron weighted with huge expectations after teasing the Con with early footage of their Tron sequel two years ago.
Of course Comic-Con is also known for resistance to the studio Borg, spurning the likes of City of Ember, Jonah Hex, Max Payne and Zathura in sessions past. Studios can get the crowds excited about a movie, but word gets out just as fast when it doesn't deliver. Passionate genre fans can help to launch a tricky movie. They pushed Lionsgate to pick up Kick-Ass, but it didn't cross over, much like Joss Whedon's Serenity and Zack Snyder's Watchmen, which played strictly to the faithful.
This year Universal is using Comic-Con to boost its youthful comics/videogame-inspired actioner Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which they screened in full for a select group of lucky winners and press after writer-director Edgar Wright moderated his own panel of 13. (A review comes later.) If Patton Oswalt, who handles moderating chores for Disney, can't host every panel, then let the filmmakers do it. Judd Apatow and Edgar Wright know their own cast members better than anyone and understand how to play the room.
As Slashfilm's Peter Sciretta said to me Thursday night, "I'm running behind." I was so tired after Scott Pilgrim that I blew off Machete and Expendables parties and went to bed. Such is Comic-Con.