Last weekend, over 125,000 nerds flocked to the San Diego Convention Center, dressed up Wolverines and Darth Vaders and Lara Crofts, and they waited for hours to catch glimpses of upcoming genre films like Watchmen, Terminator: Salvation, and Twilight. Hollywood's figured out how to market to the geeks, and Comic-Con International—the biggest comic book/pop culture convention in the world—is the place to do it.
But the striking thing about Comic-Con wasn't the hours-long wait to catch a few seconds of Watchmen footage, nor the fact that it's pretty amazing to see a guy in a seven-foot-tall Optimus Prime costume stumble through a gaggle of drunken sorority girls in San Diego's Gas Lamp district. The interesting thing was that of all the stuff being marketed to Comic-Con's attendees, most of it won't be released for months, or even until next summer. Hollywood's hype machine has declared the 2008 summer movie season over, and 2009 is coming up soon. Just in case you have any doubts blockbuster season is drawing to a close, here's the death blow: With this week's release of a third Mummy movie following Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D, we've been cursed with an unholy attack no other generation has had to endure: Two Brendan Fraser movies in a single month.
Sure, there are a few high-profile summer movies to come—like the latest Judd Apatow comedy, Pineapple Express, or yet another retread of Star Wars. But those are hardly big-event films like The Dark Knight or Wall-E. Robert Downey Jr. and Will Smith have gone home, and now here comes Brendan Fraser, late to the party and bringing a case of cheap crappy beer that no one wants to drink.
Across the street from Comic-Con, Universal Studios rented out a lot where they arranged a bunch of fake terra cotta warriors from The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. (The supposedly impressive fake archeological artifacts were encircled with an adorable white picket fence, taking away a bit of the tableau's grandeur.) As I watched Comic-Con's attendees walk by the half-assed display without so much as a second glance, I couldn't help but feel where they were coming from: After three frantic months of blockbusters, they were ready to go home and crash. Let Brendan Fraser close out the party—these pop culture addicts had already moved on to 2009.