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4-day Comic Con festival kicks off in San Diego


SAN DIEGO (AP) — Like Batman responding to a beaming Bat signal in the sky, fans are streaming to San Diego for the 45th annual Comic-Con pop culture extravaganza.

The four-day festival celebrating film, TV, video games, comic books, costumes and other popular arts kicks off with a preview Wednesday night and goes full force Thursday at the San Diego Convention Center.

More than 150,000 fans are expected to attend the sold-out event, where studios will offer exclusive previews of their latest properties.

Television is making a bigger splash than in previous years, with several shows diving into the 6,500-seat exhibition hall that’s traditionally been movies’ main home at the convention center.

“This is the year that we’ll see as much TV (as film), especially in Hall H,” said Matt Atchity, editor-in-chief of RottenTomatoes.com, which aggregates film and television reviews.

Here’s a peek at some of the most anticipated presentations:

FILM: Marvel Studios hasn’t revealed any specifics about its panel, but a look at “Ant-Man” and the next “Avengers” installment seem likely. Paramount is bringing its live-action take on “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” starring Megan Fox and Will Arnett. Warner Bros. will feature “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” and its reboot of “Mad Max.” Fox is introducing a spate of films, including the animated “Book of Life” starring Channing Tatum. A few others: Focus Features’ animated “The Boxtrolls”; the sequel to Frank Miller’s “Sin City”; Daniel Radcliffe’s first Comic-Con appearance for the upcoming “Horns”; and the annual appearance by festival stalwart Kevin Smith.

TV: “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead” will each take over Comic-Con’s largest hall for panels with cast members and creators. Joel McHale and other stars of “Community” will discuss the future of the comedy after its move to Yahoo. Guillermo del Toro plans to present his creepy new FX series, “The Strain.” SyFy’s “Sharknado” roars in with stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid for a peek at the sequel. The creators of BBC America’s “Orphan Black” will be on hand with star Tatiana Maslany. Other TV panels tempting fans: Emmy favorites “The Big Bang Theory” and “American Horror Story”; FX’s “Sons of Anarchy”; and the CW’s “Arrow” and “The Vampire Diaries.”

GAMES: Ubisoft is promoting the free-running adventure “Assassin’s Creed: Unity” with a French Revolution-themed parkour course that will be open to wannabe assassins. The cast and crew of the cops-and-robbers shooter “Battlefield Hardline” will be on hand for a panel, as will the creative forces behind the latest edition of the toys-meets-game franchise “Skylanders: Trap Team.” Meanwhile, Nintendo will showcase “Super Smash Bros.” and other titles at its gaming lounge, while Sega will hype the cartoony “Sonic Boom” and the sci-fi horror “Alien: Isolation.” Other games on display: multiplayer racer “The Crew” and blocky Dark Knight romp “Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.”

OTHER FUN STUFF: MAC Cosmetics is unveiling its new collection inspired by Marge Simpson and offering “Marge Makeovers” at its downtown San Diego store. Crave Online is throwing a party aboard the USS Midway aircraft carrier featuring live performances by MGMT and Grimes. Adult Swim is bringing its Fun House back to Petco Park, and introducing a “Meatwad Full Dome Experience” that includes a free T-shirt at the end. Hello Kitty will also be at Petco Park, celebrating her 40th anniversary with free temporary tattoos.

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AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang contributed to this report.

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AP Entertainment Writers Sandy Cohen and Derrik J. Lang will be tweeting from Comic-Con: www.twitter.com/APSandy; www.twitter.com/DerrikJLang.



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