Welcome to Demographic-Con.
Where once Comic-Con was a place for devotees to buy and swap, the nation's largest comic-book convention, which begins today, has become Hollywood's favorite hunting ground.
Here, studio execs, TV producers and video game manufacturers hawk their wares as if they were pushing carnival rides. And some say it's robbed the spirit of the convention.
"A lot of old-school comic fans won't come here anymore," says Borys Kit, columnist for The Hollywood Reporter
. "It's hard to get actual business done when you're wading through that many people. It's like an annual Woodstock for pop culture."
More than 125,000 people — most of them square in Hollywood's tantalizing 18- to 34-year-old target demographic — are expected at the four-day event.
Which may explain why Comic-Con had a wait list of about 300 films hoping to get even a sneak peek before fans.
"It's a way to reach the hard-core fans," says Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo. "It may not be the original intent (of the convention), but Hollywood sees it's working, especially for science fiction and fantasy."
Among the expected heavyweights:
. Little is known about the latest Harrison Ford installment, but Paramount plans to bring something — and that's all the fanboys need.
. The classic tale gets a fanboy twist with a nude Angelina Jolie.
•J.J. Abrams. The Lost
creator is a nerd king, and he'll be here to hawk Star Trek
and his untitled Cloverfield project, which looks to be a mixture of Blair Witch
and Independence Day
•The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
. The next episode in the Narnia franchise, which was a hit here in 2004.
•Marvel Studios. The royalty of Comic-Con, the studio will unveil peeks of Iron Man
and The Incredible Hulk
. Zack Snyder cemented his reputation when he brought 300
here last year and now offers a comic-book film about a slain superhero.
. What better audience for a film about misfit nerds than, well, a Comic-Con audience?
will draw packed crowds. Bionic Woman
comes with high expectations as well.
While filmmakers and executives concede that Comic-Con's fare has changed over the years, they say the convention's spirit has not.
"It's still for the fans," says Snyder. "And it's the best place to show them that you're making something for them that they'll enjoy."