What happened when sci-fi geeks met Hollywood chic | EW.com

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What happened when sci-fi geeks met Hollywood chic

What happened when sci-fi geeks met Hollywood chic. The stars came out to promote their upcoming movies at America's biggest comics convention

Halle Berry

(Halle Berry Photograph by Seth Joel)

There are laws against yelling ”fire” in a crowded theater. So far, there are no laws against releasing Halle Berry into a 4,500-seat ballroom packed with comic-book and science-fiction/fantasy fans. But San Diego might consider implementing some for next year’s annual international comics convention, known as Comic-Con. Held July 17-20, 2003’s Con was bigger – 70,000-plus attendees – and more Hollywood than ever. Berry was on hand to promote ”Gothika,” her upcoming thriller set in a women’s prison, but, this being Comic-Con, she fielded questions like ”Have you ever kissed a girl?” and endured shouts of ”You’re hot!”

Much like Hugh Jackman, who showed up to plug ”Van Helsing,” Berry was peppered with ”X-Men” inquiries. (Sorry fans, neither star has signed on for ”X3.”) Other celebrity guests stayed on topic: Alfred Molina brought along a buzz-inducing clip of his nefarious Dr. Octopus from ”Spider-Man 2,” Quentin Tarantino showed a bizarre, partly animated new trailer for his two-part assassin flick ”Kill Bill,” and ”Lord of the Rings” stars Andy Serkis and Dominic Monaghan appeared with 3 minutes of a 14-minute ”Return of the King” trailer from the upcoming ”Two Towers” DVD. Warner Bros. had the biggest single studio presentation, with behind-the-scenes videos from ”Troy” and ”Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” but the studio stretched the definition of ”comic-book convention” by pushing Tom Cruise’s Asia-set epic ”The Last Samurai” and the Ice Cube motorcycle flick ”Torque.”

Historically, the star pandering and advance trailering have paid off: Interest in movies like ”X2” and ”T3” was ignited by snippets shown at last year’s Con. But what does this mean for the 34-year-old extravaganza’s inky roots? ”I feel like comic books are being farmed, broken down for parts,” says Michael Chabon, 40, a repeat attendee and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic-biz opus ”The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.” He notes that the movie and toy trades seem to have supplanted comics, sales of which remain unspectacular despite the media’s interest in comic-book characters. ”The guys going through the comic bins are getting older and balder. Like me.”

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