2010 San Diego Comic-Con Offers Look at Upcoming Disney Projects

by Tony Phoenix, staff writer

This year's San Diego Comic-Con International celebrated its 41st anniversary, with what started as a simple gathering of 500 comic book fans has grown into an annual fan convention that, with nearly 130,000 attendees, now boasts influence over the science fiction, fantasy, and horror segments of the entertainment industry. With good buzz from Comic-Con translating into success for a featured movie or show, and poorly received titles experiencing major flops, movie studios have taken the importance of Comic-Con, incorporating the convention as a major part of their marketing plans, especially for the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres.

Disney had a heavy presence this year at the convention with a number of major announcements and presentations, and MousePlanet staff member Tony Phoenix and staff photographer Frank Anzalone were there to check them out.


The biggest buzz at Comic-Con was undoubtedly around Disney's Tron: Legacy. Appearing for an unprecedented third year, Disney pulled out all of the marketing stops. Full-sized set walk-throughs and models of the light cycles attracted crowds. The city itself was filled with banners touting the film. Not much new was announced, though a new trailer was screened for the crowds.

Comic-Con is the biggest annual convention that San Diego hosts. Many of the roadside banners surrounding Downtown San Diego and the San Diego Convention Center highlighted "Tron" by Disney. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

At Comic-Con, Disney put on display a full-sized model of the new Tron: Legacy light cycle. Only two light cycles exist, and have been made for the upcoming science fiction movie. The cycles were very detailed, and was a big hit with attendees. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

A close-up look at a light cycle from the new Tron: Legacy movie. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Haunted Mansion by Guillermo del Toro

A big surprise to come out of Comic-Con was the announcement that Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy) would lead the helm to write, produce, and possibly direct a new Haunted Mansion-themed movie . A well-known fan of Disney's Haunted Mansion attraction, del Toro joked at the announcement that he wasn't returning Eddie Murphy's calls for this project; a reference to the 2003 Haunted Mansion movie, which did not do well at the box office.

In his telling of the story, del Toro said plans to make the infamous Hatbox Ghost from Disneyland's Haunted Mansion the central ghost. In an interview with MTV, del Toro said, "It's such a great character that there's literally—amongst Haunted Mansion fanatics, the hardcore ones—a cult for the Hatbox Ghost. You can Google it, it's pretty intense, and I am one of them," he said. The legend around the ride's Hatbox Ghost was that it was 'a beautiful creature' that was discarded on the first day of ride operation because they thought it was too scary. "The reality is that Imagineers could not make the illusion work, so they took it out," he said.

According to the MTV article, del Toro plans on taking the core mythology of the attraction, and expanding it so there are many haunted mansions around the world.

No information about release dates was announced.

Buzz Lightyear and Woody, larger-than-life and made of Lego pieces, were on display at the Lego booth at Comic-Con. Of the many toy manufacturers at Comic-Con, Lego had one of the most active and visited booths. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Crowds were expected to top 130,000 for the 2010 Comic-Con. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

There has been a lot of on-again, off-again discussion surrounding a remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. With the departure of Dick Cook from Walt Disney Studios, the movie quickly ended up in the off-again category. However, Disney Studios President of Production Sean Bailey has confirmed to entertainment Web site /Film that David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club) has taken over the movie and wants to make it his Empire Strikes Back (that is, a movie that some consider to be a crowning achievement in a genre or the best picture George Lucas produced). According to the interview, Fincher has described his vision of this classic movie as steampunk science fiction (link).

Walt Disney Animation Studios: Character Creation

Disney animation supervisor Glen Keane was one of the presenters at the 2010 Comic-Con. Photo by Frank Anzalone.

Throughout the years, Walt Disney Animation Studios has brought us some of the most memorable, unique, and appealing onscreen characters. Disney Animation's upcoming release Tangled introduces a fresh and irresistible new group. Nathan Greno and Byron Howard (directors), Glen Keane (animation supervisor), and other artists from "Tangled" discussed the creation of their unforgettable characters.

Before the panel discussion, MousePlanet staff photographer Frank Anzalone had a chance to meet with Glen Keane. "The first time I met Glen, he had just finished Ariel from The Little Mermaid and was working on Beauty and the Beast. Today, he was looking forward to the group discussion and sharing his wonderful history, stories and talent with the audience."