Even people who never collected a single comic book are tempted to get wrapped up in the hype surrounding the annual Comic-Con event.
This year, the most talked about films included Catching Fire, the upcoming Veronica Mars movie and a blockbuster featuring both Superman and Batman.
Comic-Con hype can be a very misleading measurement. Consider the following five films which drew plenty of attention at the annual event but went on to draw a relatively small audience in wide release.
- Snakes on a Plane – The ultimate disconnect between geek culture and the masses. The title was a hoot, star Samuel L. Jackson’s profanity-laced catch phrase caught the media’s attention, but in the end few movie goers wanted to see a film where the title served as a spoiler.
- Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow – The 2004 film was set to change the way Hollywood worked by asking actors to move around a preponderance of green screen sets. Too bad no one cared enough to see it. Oddly enough, the production did predate the way some FX heavy movies are made today, but the film itself disappeared without a pop culture trace. Young director Kerry Conran has yet to film a follow-up feature.
- Jonah Hex – Josh Brolin’s star was on the rise, and so was the lovely Megan Fox’s box office fortunes. Then came Hex, an obscure comic book adaptation that had bomb written over every film cel. The western adventure drew withering reviews–but not a crowd–upon its brief release.
- Pacific Rim – Fanboys drooled over this FX-heavy affair, a film directed by geek fave Guillermo del Tor. The film hit theaters two weeks ago, and while its $68 million haul is respectable for many movies, the project’s price tag makes it a flop all the same.
- Cowboys & Aliens – Han Solo. James Bond. The guy who directed Iron Man. This genre mashup, featuring Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and director Jon Favreau, looked like a can’t miss blockbuster. Too bad it missed by miles. The movie became a reference point for high-concept duds, but the bottom line remains. It simply didn’t deliver the escapist goods no matter how much chatter it inspired at Comic-Con.