Comic-Con International Programming: Wed/Thurs

The wait is over! Comic-Con International has announced the programming for Preview Night, Wednesday, July 22nd, and Thursday, July 23rd.

Where else can you see Dave Gibbons, Robert Zemeckis, Tim Burton, Stan Lee, James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver, Terry Gilliam, and Nicholas Cage in the same day?

Everyone will be picking it apart and naming their favorites in the days to come, but here are a few things that caught my eye already:

10:15-11:15 Summit Entertainment: Astro Boy A superhero origin story set in a futuristic world, Astro Boy is an all-new CG-animated feature film based on the classic manga about a young robot with incredible powers and his adventure-filled journey in search of his identity and destiny. Director David Bowers, producer Maryanne Grager, and stars Freddie Highmore (Astro) and Kristen Bell (Cora) debut footage exclusive to Comic-Con 2009 and answer your questions about bringing this beloved hero to the big screen. Room 6BCF

10:30-11:30 Motion Comics: Graphic Novels in The Digital Age— Warner Premiere is one of the pioneers in the production of Motion Comics, which include Watchmen, Peanuts, Batman: Black and White, and many others. Motion Comics are short-form videos that use subtle movements, voice-overs, sweeping music scores, and stunning comic book artwork to bring an engaging visual experience to life. Moderated by Gregory Noveck (DC Comics), with panelists Paul Levitz, (DC Comics, Batman: Black and White), Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, Batman: Black and White), Paul Dini (Batman: Black and White, Mad Love), Lydia Antonini (Warner Premiere), Dylan Coburn (Karactaz, Superman: Red Son), and Stephen Fedasz (Perpetual Notions), who discuss graphic novel storytelling and production in the digital age. Attendees will also see the debut of two DC Motion Comic series during this panel. Room 6DE

11:00-12:30 Disney: 3D Panel— Walt Disney Pictures presents key filmmakers, select cast members and previously unseen footage from its upcoming slate, including Disney’s A Christmas Carol, Alice In Wonderland and Tron. Special guests include Robert Zemeckis, Tim Burton, Sean Bailey, Steve Lisberger, and moderator Patton Oswalt. Hall H

11:15-12:15 The Middleman Cast Reunion and Lost Episode Table Read— Creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost) and the complete cast—including Matt Keeslar, Natalie Morales, Brit Morgan, Mary Pat Gleason, Jake Smollett, Mark Sheppard, Brendan Hines, Sarah Watson, Jordan Rosenberg, Margaret Dunlap, and Andy Reaser—reunite to celebrate the DVD release of The Middleman: The Complete Series from Shout! Factory, with an exclusive table read of the lost 13th episode, The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse, which was never produced for television but is now available as a graphic novel from Viper Comics. Room 6A

11:45-12:45 DC: Superman: Two Worlds— Torn between New Krypton and Earth, the Man of Steel has only just begun his latest adventure. You’ve seen the stories: a new planet of Kryptonians; scores of super-powered beings. The people behind Superman’s future are here to face the most trying times in his life. Meet the talented folks behind Superman as they give you a glimpse of what is in store for our favorite Super-family. Featuring Superman group editor Matt Idelson, writers Geoff Johns (Adventure Comics, Superman: Secret Origins), Greg Rucka (Action Comics), James Robinson (Superman), Sterling Gates (Supergirl), Renato Guedes (Superman), and more! Room 6DE

12:45-1:45 Disney: Stan Lee’s Time Jumper Don’t miss Stan Lee and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment as they present a special sneak peek of their new digital motion comic series Time Jumper. Comic book legend Stan Lee is joined by Natasha Henstridge (one of the character voices in Time Jumper), Omar Ponce (writer), and Anthony Diecidue (artist) for a Q&A session. Room 6BCF

12:45-2:00 20th Century Fox and James Cameron present Avatar In this first public screening of footage in 3D from his much-anticipated action/adventure/fantasy, James Cameron, producer Jon Landau, and cast members take you to a spectacular new world beyond imagination. Conceived 14 years ago and over four years in the making, Avatar breaks new ground in delivering a fully immersive, emotional story and reinvents the movie-going experience. Hall H

2:00-3:00 Sony Pictures Animation: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs In 2009, Columbia Pictures’ and Sony Pictures Animation’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will be the most delicious event since macaroni met cheese. Inspired by the classic children’s book, the film focuses on a town where food begins to fall from the sky like rain. Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian) is the voice of Flint Lockwood, a young inventor who dreams of creating something that will improve everyone’s life. Anna Faris (The House Bunny) takes on the role of Sam Sparks, a weathergirl covering the phenomenon who hides her intelligence behind a perky exterior. James Caan plays Tim Lockwood, Flint’s technophobic father. SNL‘s Andy Samberg plays Brent, the town bully who has plagued Flint since childhood. Bruce Campbell plays Mayor Shelbourne, who figures out that Flint’s invention can put the town, and more importantly himself, on the map, and Mr. T plays the by-the-rules town cop, Earl Devereaux. Bobb’e J. Thompson (Role Models) is Carl Devereaux, Earl’s son. Appearing in person: Anna Faris, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Bobb’e J. Thompson, and directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord. Room 6BCF

2:15-3:15 Summit Entertainment— Summit Entertainment presents a sneak peek of exclusive footage of some of its upcoming major film releases!

Astro boyA classic superhero origin story set in a futuristic world, Astro Boy is an all-new CG-animated feature film about a young robot with incredible powers and his adventure-filled journey in search of his identity and destiny. Join Freddie Highmore and Kristen Bell as they premiere the final trailer for Astro Boy before it’s in theaters.

Sorority Row—When five sorority girls inadvertently cause the murder of one of their sisters in a prank gone wrong, they agree to keep the matter to themselves and never speak of it again, so they can get on with their lives. This proves easier said than done, when after graduation a mysterious killer goes after the five of them and anyone who knows their secret. Join the cast of Sorority Row as they debut footage from the film exclusive to Comic-Con 2009.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon—Summit Entertainment is proud to present the panel for The Twilight Saga: New Moon, the highly anticipated sequel to last year’s box office smash Twilight. Surprise members of the cast will answer your questions about the second film in the series and debut never-before-seen footage from the new film.

Hall H

3:00-4:00 Robot Chicken with Titan Maximum Seth Green (co-creator, Robot Chicken and Titan Maximum), Matthew Senreich (co-creator, Robot Chicken and Titan Maximum), Tom Root (head writer, Robot Chicken/co-creator, Titan Maximum) and Doug Goldstein (head writer, Robot Chicken) with Chris McKay, Breckin Meyer, Kevin Shinick, Mike Fasolo, and Dan Milano discuss the popular Adult Swim series Robot Chicken. They will also discuss the upcoming new stop-motion animated series Titan Maximum, slated to premiere on Adult Swim this fall. Join this meet-up of show creators, writers and voice actors for a Q&A, moderated by Keith Crofford, vice president of Adult Swim production. Room 6A

3:00-4:00 Masters of the Web— For the third year in a row the most popular genre and movie websites are coming together to discuss how new media have affected moviemaking, what it takes to run a popular site, and much more in a panel discussion and Q&A session. Participants include Robert Sanchez (IESB.net), Ryan Rotten (Shocktilyoudrop.com), Mike Sampson (Joblo.com), Jeremy Smith (Aintitcoolnews.com), Brad Miska (Bloody-Disgusting.com), Drew McWeeny (Hitfix.com), Devin Faraci (CHUD.com), Paul Christensen (Movieweb.com), Wilson Morales (Blackfilm.com/AOL Black Voices), Vic Holtreman (Screenrant.com), and George Roush (Latinoreview.com). Director Kevin Munroe (TMNT, Dead of Night) moderates, with Brandon Routh and Sam Huntington on hand to preview an exclusive sneak peek of their new film Dead of Night, based on the Dylan Dog comic books. Room 32AB

3:30-5:00 Golden and Silver Age of Comics— A Comic-Con tradition: the yearly gathering and discussion of the clan of some of the finest comic book creators ever to put pen or typewriter to paper! This year’s panel—moderated by Mark Evanier—includes Comic-Con special guests Murphy Anderson (Hawkman), Gene Colan (Tomb of Dracula), Ramona Fradon (Aquaman), Russ Heath (The Haunted Tank), Jack Katz (The First Kingdom), Jerry Robinson (Batman), and Leonard Starr (Mary Perkins On Stage). Both Katz and Starr, known best for their underground comix and comic strip work, respectively, also worked in comics in the Golden and Silver Ages. The stories these people can tell are the stuff of legend…be a part of the yearly magic of this panel. Room 8

3:45-4:45 Entertainment Weekly: Wonder Women: Female Power Icons in Pop Culture— EW will moderate a conversation with Sigourney Weaver (Avatar), Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost), Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), and other stars about the actresses who have redefined the rules and the female characters that have shattered the glass ceiling for all women. Basically: a discussion with women who kick ass. Ballroom 20

4:45-5:15 Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of both Comic-Con and Monty Python, we welcome the sole American Python, the great animator and director Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits, Brazil, 12 Monkeys) to introduce you to his new film starring Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Colin Farrell, Jude Law, Verne Troyer, Tom Waits, and Lily Cole. Dr. Parnassus is a fabulous anachronism, touring the streets of modern-day London in a horse-drawn carnival wagon accompanied by his beautiful daughter, devoted dwarf, and neophyte barker. On stage Parnassus plays a holy man whose Imaginarium can realize the innermost fantasies of all who dare to enter. Backstage, he is a drunkard, a gambler who centuries ago lost a wager with the Devil and must now pony up with his daughter once she turns sixteen. Tomorrow. Yet, there may still be hope for the Doctor and Valentina in the person of Tony, a well-dressed amnesic they rescue from a perilous fate and invite into their world of unrelenting magic and possibility. Hall H

5:00-6:00 Showtime: Dexter Calling all Dexter fans! If you’re a Dexter fanatic and can’t wait for the new season, you don’t want to miss this killer panel! Moderator Ralph Garman (KROQ Entertainment Reporter) presides over a revealing interview and Q&A session with the stars and executive producers of Dexter. Plus, get an exclusive first look at clips from the new season! Featured panelists include series star/executive producer Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Julie Benz (Rita), Jennifer Carpenter (Deb), and executive producers John Goldwyn, Sara Colleton, Clyde Phillips, and Melissa Rosenberg. The new season premieres September 27 at 9:00 PM EST/PST only on Showtime! Ballroom 20

5:45-6:45 Kick-Ass World premiere footage from Kick-Ass, based on Mark Millar’s bestselling comic, is presented by director Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Layercake). Joining him on the panel are Nicolas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad), and comic co-creator John Romita Jr., among others, including a surprise guest. You don’t want to miss the chance to be the first to experience this gritty, brash, and funny actioner. Hall H

9:30-12:00 Halloween Comes Early: Trick ‘r Treat Screening— Be among the first to see writer/director Michael Dougherty’s (Superman Returns, X2) creepy, darkly comic celebration of the scariest night of the year. Trick ‘r Treat takes the Creepshow/Tales from the Crypt approach to nefarious new depths with four interwoven tales set on Halloween night: a high school principal who moonlights as a vicious serial killer; a young virgin whose quest for that special someone takes a gruesome turn; a group of teens who carry out a cruel prank with disastrous consequences; and a cantankerous old man who battles a mischievous trick-or-treating demon. Prior to the screening, Ain’t It Cool News mogul Harry Knowles will moderate a panel featuring Michael Dougherty and members of the cast, including Anna Paquin (True Blood, X-Men), Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse), and Brian Cox (The Bourne Identity, X2). A collection of creepy stories that mixes fun with fear, candy with poison, and laughter with screams, the critically acclaimed Trick ‘r Treat will be released on Blu-ray Hi-Def and DVD and On Demand by Warner Home Video in October. Ballroom 20

Disney Brings Zemeckis, Burton, Miyazaki, and Lasseter to SDCC

Press Release:

Animation greats Hayao Miyazaki and John Lasseter and directors Robert Zemeckis and Tim Burton will take part in their first ever Comic-Con at the San Diego Convention Center July 23-24. The filmmakers will be on hand to help Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures showcase a wide-ranging roster of upcoming films, including 3D juggernauts ALICE IN WONDERLAND, TRON and DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and animated gems THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, PONYO and the TOY STORY trilogy.

Zemeckis, Burton, Miyazaki and Lasseter will take part in industry panels.

  • COMIC-CON’S FIRST EVER 3D PANEL — Veteran directors Robert Zemeckis and Tim Burton join TRON producers Sean Bailey and Steve Lisberger on Thurs., July 23 at 11 a.m. for an unprecedented presentation featuring behind-the-scenes filmmaker insights about the highly anticipated 3D adventures DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, ALICE IN WONDERLAND and TRON. In addition to Q&A opportunities with each of the filmmakers, the 90-minute panel will feature never-before-seen concept art, trailers, actual 3D film footage and other Comic-Con-only footage debuts. In a groundbreaking technical feat, this is the first time ever that 3D footage will be shown at Comic-Con. Patton Oswalt will moderate.
  • ANIMATION PANEL — Animation legends Hayao Miyazaki and John Lasseter join veteran animation directors Lee Unkrich, Kirk Wise, Ron Clements and John Musker on Fri., July 24 at 12:45 p.m. for an animation panel which will highlight upcoming animated films, including Disney•Pixar’s TOY STORY/TOY STORY 2 double feature, Disney•Pixar’s TOY STORY 3, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ half-hour holiday TV special PREP & LANDING, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and Miyazaki’s PONYO. John Lasseter will host the panel and Patton Oswalt will moderate a group Q&A following the presentation, which will include filmmaker insights, trailers and select film sequences.

ABOUT THE MOVIES

PONYO

From the Academy Award®-winning director and world-renowned Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki comes PONYO, a story inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Little Mermaid.” Already a box-office success in Japan, the story of a young and overeager goldfish named Ponyo (voiced by NOAH CYRUS) and her quest to become human features an outstanding roster of voice talent, including CATE BLANCHETT, MATT DAMON, TINA FEY, FRANKIE JONAS, CLORIS LEACHMAN, LIAM NEESON, LILY TOMLIN and BETTY WHITE. PONYO opens in U.S. theaters on Aug. 14, 2009.

TOY STORY & TOY STORY 2 – DOUBLE FEATURE (In Disney Digital 3Dâ„¢)

Disney●Pixar’s TOY STORY and TOY STORY 2 return to the big screen in an exciting double feature Oct. 2, 2009—this time in Disney Digital 3Dâ„¢.

TOY STORY

They’re toys, they talk—at least when people aren’t around—and they’re back… celebrating the return of the “Toy Story” franchise—this time in Disney Digital 3Dâ„¢! TOY STORY, the film that started it all, takes moviegoers back to that fantastic fun-filled journey, viewed mostly through the eyes of two rival toys— Woody (voice of TOM HANKS), the lanky, likable cowboy, and Buzz Lightyear (voice of TIM ALLEN), the fearless space ranger. The comically-mismatched duo eventually learn to put aside their differences when circumstances separate them from their owner Andy and they find themselves on a hilarious adventure-filled mission where the only way they can survive is to form an uneasy alliance.

TOY STORY 2

Disney•Pixar’s TOY STORY 2 picks up as Andy heads off to Cowboy Camp, leaving his toys to their own devices. Things shift into high gear when an obsessive toy collector named Al McWhiggin (voice of WAYNE KNIGHT), owner of Al’s Toy Barn, kidnaps Woody (voice of TOM HANKS). At Al’s apartment, Woody discovers that he is a highly valued collectible from a 1950s TV show called “Woody’s Roundup,” and he meets the other prized toys from that show – Jessie the cowgirl (voice of JOAN CUSACK), Bullseye the horse and Stinky Pete the Prospector (voice of KELSEY GRAMMER). Back at the scene of the crime, Buzz Lightyear (voice of TIM ALLEN) and the gang from Andy’s room – Mr. Potato Head (voice of DON RICKLES), Slinky Dog (voice of JIM VARNEY), Rex (voice of WALLACE SHAWN) and Hamm (voice of JOHN RATZENBERGER) – spring into action to rescue their pal from winding up as a museum piece. The toys get into one predicament after another in their daring race to get Woody home before Andy returns.

DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL (In Disney Digital 3Dâ„¢ and IMAX® 3D)

DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, a multi-sensory thrill ride re-envisioned by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, captures the fantastical essence of the classic Dickens tale in a groundbreaking 3D motion picture event. Ebenezer Scrooge (JIM CARREY) begins the Christmas holiday with his usual miserly contempt, barking at his faithful clerk (GARY OLDMAN) and his cheery nephew (COLIN FIRTH). But when the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come take him on an eye-opening journey revealing truths Old Scrooge is reluctant to face, he must open his heart to undo years of ill will before it’s too late. Opens in theaters nationwide on Nov. 6, 2009.

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG

Walt Disney Animation Studios presents the musical THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, an animated comedy set in the great city of New Orleans. From the creators of “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin” comes a modern twist on a classic tale, featuring a beautiful girl named Tiana (ANIKA NONI ROSE), a frog prince who desperately wants to be human again, and a fateful kiss that leads them both on a hilarious adventure through the mystical bayous of Louisiana. THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG marks the return to hand-drawn animation from the revered team of John Musker and Ron Clements, with music by Oscar®-winning composer Randy Newman. Opens on November 25, 2009 in NY and LA, and on December 11, 2009 nationwide.

PREP & LANDING

PREP & LANDING is ABC’s first television special produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. The half-hour holiday special reveals the never-before-told tale of an elite unit of Elves known as Prep & Landing. Every Christmas Eve, this high-tech organization ensures that homes around the world are properly prepared for a visit from the Big Guy (aka Santa Claus). After working tirelessly on Prep & Landing for 227 years, an elf named Wayne (voice of Dave Foley) is upset when he doesn’t receive an expected promotion to be the Director of Naughty List Intelligence. Instead, Magee (voice of Sarah Chalke), the North Pole Christmas Eve Command Center Coordinator (NPCECCC for short), partners Wayne with Lanny (voice of Derek Richardson), an idealistic rookie who has an undying enthusiasm for Christmas. During their Christmas Eve mission, Wayne and Lanny encounter unexpected challenges that push them to their limits.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (In Disney Digital 3Dâ„¢)

Walt Disney Pictures’ magical animated classic BEAUTY AND THE BEAST returns to the big screen in Disney Digital 3Dâ„¢, introducing a whole new generation to the Disney classic with stunning new 3D imagery. Opening Feb. 12, 2010, the film captures the fantastic journey of Belle (voice of PAIGE O’HARA), a bright and beautiful young woman who’s taken prisoner by a hideous beast (voice of ROBBY BENSON) in his castle. Despite her precarious situation, Belle befriends the castle’s enchanted staff—a teapot, a candelabra and a mantel clock, among others—and ultimately learns to see beneath the Beast’s exterior to discover the heart and soul of a prince. Featuring unforgettable music by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, and an enormously talented vocal ensemble, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was the first—and only—animated feature to receive a Best Picture nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND (In Disney Digital 3Dâ„¢)

From Walt Disney Pictures and visionary director Tim Burton comes an epic 3D fantasy adventure ALICE IN WONDERLAND, a magical and imaginative twist on some of the most beloved stories of all time. JOHNNY DEPP stars as the Mad Hatter and MIA WASIKOWSKA as 19-year-old Alice, who returns to the whimsical world she first encountered as a young girl, reuniting with her childhood friends: the White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Dormouse, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, and of course, the Mad Hatter. Alice embarks on a fantastical journey to find her true destiny and end the Red Queen’s reign of terror. The all-star cast also includes ANNE HATHAWAY, HELENA BONHAM CARTER and CRISPIN GLOVER; Linda Woolverton wrote the screenplay. Capturing the wonder of Lewis Carroll’s beloved “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1865) and “Through the Looking-Glass” (1871) with stunning, avant-garde visuals and the most charismatic characters in literary history, ALICE IN WONDERLAND comes to the big screen in Disney Digital 3Dâ„¢ on March 5, 2010.

TOY STORY 3 (In Disney Digital 3Dâ„¢)

The creators of the beloved “Toy Story” films re-open the toy box and bring moviegoers back to the delightful world of Woody, Buzz and our favorite gang of toy characters in TOY STORY 3. Lee Unkrich (co-director of “Toy Story 2″ and “Finding Nemo”) directs this highly anticipated film, and Michael Arndt, the Academy Award®-winning screenwriter of “Little Miss Sunshine,” brings his unique talents and comedic sensibilities to the proceedings. TOY STORY 3 comes to theaters nationwide in Disney Digital 3Dâ„¢ on June 18, 2010.

TRON (title not final) (In Disney Digital 3Dâ„¢)

TRON is a 3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world that’s unlike anything ever captured on the big screen. Sam Flynn (GARRETT HEDLUND), the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn (JEFF BRIDGES), looks into his father’s disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 25 years. Along with Kevin’s loyal confidant (OLIVIA WILDE), father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.