Earlier this year, I went to Disney's Star Wars weekends and had a blast. (A trip report is in the stack of things I will write it up eventually). While there, I wondered why other theme parks didn't do this type of tie in event. I received a press release while I was in San Diego and it appears that universal has finally decided to try to get in the game with a Harry Potter Themed weekend. I can only guess that this would have been announced at San Diego Comic Con if Warner Brothers had done a panel. It looks like they are only offering packages, but I can't imagine that they won't sell individual tickets eventually. (Especially since the release says "There will be additional ways for a limited number of people to participate in celebration events." I hope this is a huge success and that it will eventually become as popular as Star Wars weekends. Geeks like options.
If you are interested, tickets go on sale Sunday.
Somehow I doubt we will see these three.
HERE ARE THE DETAILS FROM THE PRESS RELEASE
"A Celebration of the Harry Potter Films” Event to Take Place November 11 – 13 VACATION PACKAGES ON SALE SUNDAY, JULY 31st FOR “A CELEBRATION OF THE HARRY POTTER FILMS” AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT Special Event Hosted by Warner Bros. to Feature Three Days of
Cast Member and Filmmaker Appearances, Autograph Signings, Q&A Sessions and Film Screenings ORLANDO, Fla. (July 25, 2011)
– Universal Orlando Resort announced today that special vacation packages will go on sale Sunday, July 31st that will give guests the opportunity to attend “A Celebration of the Harry Potter Films.” This special event will be hosted by Warner Bros. and will celebrate a decade of movie history by allowing fans to share their love for the Harry Potter films. The event will take place from Friday, November 11, to Sunday, November 13, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
During this special event, guests can celebrate their favorite memories and stories of Harry Potter with filmmakers, cast members and fellow fans. While all theme park guests will be able to enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter during their visit, only a limited number of guests and those who buy special event packages will have access to exclusive benefits such as:
- A spectacular evening gala in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Autograph signings with stars from the Harry Potter films
- Q&A sessions with Harry Potter filmmakers and cast members, along with the creators of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Screenings of all eight Harry Potter films – including “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2” – at the AMC Universal Cineplex 20 in Universal CityWalk. Access to the screenings can be added to the vacation packages for an additional fee.
Throughout the three-day celebration, guests will also be able to explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where the wonder, excitement and adventure of the Harry Potter films come to life. They will enjoy experiences such as soaring above Hogwarts on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, sipping Butterbeer in Hogsmeade and being inside Ollivanders and seeing a wand choose its wizard.
The primary way to participate in celebration events is by purchasing one of Universal Orlando’s special vacation packages. Packages are extremely limited and go on sale at noon EDT on Sunday, July 31. Guests can choose from two vacation package options: the Celebration Vacation Package and the Premier Vacation Package. There will be additional ways for a limited number of people to participate in celebration events. Stay tuned for more details.Vacation Packages for A Celebration of the Harry Potter Films
Celebration Vacation Package – Starts at $369 per person
Premier Vacation Package – Starts at $699 per person
- 4-night accommodations at a Universal Partner Hotel
- 3-day ticket to both of Universal Orlando’s theme parks
- More time to enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with Early Park Admission starting at 6 a.m.
- Reservation to one in-park Harry Potter talent Q&A session (one per person)
- Commemorative pin (one per person)
- Harry Potter Blu-Ray set (one per package)
All of the above, PLUS:
- Reservation to one in-park Harry Potter cast member autograph session
- Admission to the exclusive nighttime gala event on Sunday, November 13
- Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks
For more information about the event and vacation packages, visit www.universalorlando.com/celebration.
I should also add that Universal also posted some frequently asked questions on their site:Celebrities Who will be there from the Harry Potter films and will I be able to meet them?
During the event, there will be scheduled appearances by some of the cast members from the Harry Potter film series. Your opportunity to participate in events featuring various cast members depends on the scheduled activities included in your vacation package. Please check your vacation package entitlements for full details of what’s included in your specific package. When will I know the celebrities that will be attending?
Please continue to check www.universalorlando.com/celebration
for updates about the event. Celebrities may not be announced until closer to the event. Will J.K. Rowling be there?
No, J.K. Rowling will not be in attendance. Autograph and Q&A Sessions
How can I participate in the Autograph and Q&A sessions? Guests can purchase a Premier Package to participate in one Cast Member Autograph session. Guests can purchase either a Premier package or a Celebration package to participate in one Cast Member Q&A session. There will be additional ways for a limited number of people to participate in celebration events. Stay tuned for more details. What type of celebrities will be at the Autograph and Q&A sessions?
The Autograph and Q&A sessions will feature select cast members and filmmakers from the Harry Potter films. Where will the Autograph and Q&A Sessions take place?
Autograph and Q&A sessions will take place in various areas within Universal’s Islands of Adventure – home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Specific locations and times will be provided in your welcome packet. Where will I pick up my welcome packet?
You will receive e-mail communication at a later date on how and when you will receive your welcome packet. Can I purchase extra Autograph and Q&A sessions?
No. The number of Autograph and Q&A sessions is predetermined based on the vacation package you purchase and cannot be changed. Please check your vacation package entitlements for full details of what’s included in your specific package.There will be additional ways for a limited number of people to participate in celebration events. Stay tuned for more details. What should I bring to the autograph session?
Universal Orlando will provide markers and celebrity photos at the Autograph session. You may also bring a personal item – like a Harry Potter DVD or movie poster– to be signed; however we ask that only one item be signed per cast member. Can I bring a camera and or/video camera to the event?
Yes, you can bring a camera/video camera to the event. However, please keep in mind we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate requests for personal photos with cast members. Vacation Package Questions I am an Annual Pass Holder; do I have to purchase a vacation package?
Yes, this is a separately packaged event. There will be additional ways for a limited number of people to participate in celebration events. Stay tuned for more details. How will I get my admission for the event festivities?
You will receive an email with instructions at a later date on how to fulfill your vacation package and gain access to the events. Film Screening Questions Are the film screenings included in the vacation package?
No. Harry Potter film screening tickets are not included in the vacation package. When will film screening tickets be available for purchase?
Film screening tickets will be available for separate purchase at a later date. Please continue to check for updates. Are film screening tickets exclusive to vacation package guests only?
No. They will be available for purchase by the general public. What will be the price of the film screening tickets?
Pricing is not available at this time. Please continue to check for updates. Nighttime Gala Event on November 13 How can I attend the Nighttime Gala Event on November 13?
Guests who purchase the Premier package attend the Nighttime Gala Event on November 13. Upon your arrival, event details will be provided in your welcome packet. What is the attire for the Nighttime Gala Event on November 13?
There is no set attire for the November 13 event. However, since you will be experiencing all of the adventures of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, comfortable theme-park attire is recommended. Will food and drinks be included at the evening event?
Yes, you will enjoy an assortment of food and drinks from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as part of the event. Is there any minimum age restriction to attend?
We understand that there are Harry Potter fans of all ages. Therefore, we leave it up to the discretion of the child’s parent or guardian as to whether the festivities of "A Celebration of the Harry Potter Films" will be suitable for their children. Can I bring a camera to the event?
Yes. This is a special event so we recommend bringing a camera to capture your memories.
I spent the second full day (third for me) in Ballroom 20. I got in line at 6am and got a nice spot up front.
Up first was Torchwood Miracle day. The panel was hilarious and you can tell this cast really gets along. A new trailer was shown, but there were no spoilers. The most interesting thing I heard mentioned was the possibility that Jack would be written into the Doctor Who anniversary episode. The panel ended with John xx leading Ballroom 20 in a sing along of the Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow. Surprisingly, there was no swag given out.
As I watched the trailer, I realized that the plot of the show is very similar (if not identical) to my friend and co-creator, George O'connor's book Healed. Healed is amazing by the way and you can get it at www.homelesscomics.com
The next panel was for Walking Dead, a preview of the next season was shown. (Season 2 will premiere on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 9/8c on AMC instead of Halloween). It looked awesome. (See it at http://www.tvguide.com/News/Walking-Dead-Comic-Con-1035581.aspx) Again, nothing really to report. There was a couple of awkward moments. First, was when Frank Darabont commented that this season they have writers that actually understand the Walking Dead. Darabont mentioned that it was a change from last year. I'm going to tread lightly because of spoilers, but the other moment occurred when the moderator asked one of the cast members how long he has been in Atlanta and the actor got uncomfortable and said "you know I am not allowed to say anything." I wonder if this was a revelation that a major character would be dying. Once again no swag.
The next panel was for the Big Bang Theory. Nothing major was revealed, but I laughed so hard that I cried. Again, no swag.
The afternoon was filled with the two Syfy channel shows, Eureka and Warehouse 13. I should also mention that, on Preview Night, I had dinner with Rob, "Animal Control" Anderson
and Fred "Screenplay writer extraordinaire' Kim
. Why is that cool, because we ate Cafe Diem. (If you don't know, what it is already you won't care). I’m not sure if it was swag, but I got a coupon for $5.00 some syfy dvds. Here are some highlights:
- Wil Wheaton hosted the Eureka panel and Evil Wil Wheaton was in rare form and hilarious.
- The Eureka podcast commentaries will return
- Eureka will never go back to the original timeline
- Eureka announces this year's Christmas episode will be animated and will feature all styles of animation.
- Ballroom 20 sings Happy Birthday to Eureka's Colin Ferguson.
- The Warehouse 13 panel began with Eddie McClintock running a lap around BR 20
- Jack Kenny is in early stage of planning a Warehouse 13 spinoff with HG Wells called Warehouse 12.
- Warehouse 13 gets Kate Mulgrew for 4 episodes. Jeri Ryan and Steve Yunn is coming on as well.
- Eureka's Fargo to return to Warehouse 13 in video game episode (called “don't hate the player) where Alison Scagliotti sings and plays guitar.
- Kinds of acting on Warehouse13: acting, schmacting (greenscreen), and facting (exposition). Eureka adds backting (when you have your back to the camera so that lines can be added in post production)
There was supposed to be a Bones panel, but it was cancelled for "personal reasons." Interestingly, however, this panel had swag. Of course they gave it out to the people in line and not in the Ballroom.
The True Blood panel was the last panel of the day. In that chess game known as
San Diego ComicCon, most people in the room all day were there for this panel. As always, there was a lot of great moments and teases for the current season as well as Seasons 5 6. Here is the trailer http://itsh.bo/o0UEiE
I hope you are following my twitter feed for live updates. Here are some of the tidbits.
- There will be a Sookie and Eric shower scene, but not like the book. Ball says it will be dirtier
- We will see how Eric made Pam in season 5.
- Later seasons won't necessarily be based on the corresponding book in the series.
- "even if we diverge from the books we keep true to the spirit of the books." --Alan Ball.
- Hooligans (the strip club in the book) may not have the same name but there will be a version in season 5
- Ball says we may see ghosts and voodoo demons and still more other creatures in S5.
I finished the night watching the sneak preview of Batman Year One. As an added bonus, several cast members and creators came and talked about making the film..
So that was my day in a nutshell. Here are some pictures.
The first panel of the day in Hall H was for the new Twilight movie and the whole cast was going to be present. Since people started lining up on Tuesday, I concluded I would never get in. Instead, I started Friday by walking down to see the line for Hall H. It wrapped through the grass, (which is normally where the Hall H line goes) but then continued around the convention center building through the marina around the Marriott back through the marina and down the street. I saw a tween at the end of the line and asked if she was there for Twilight. She said she was hopeful that she might get in and was staying until they sent her away. That is dedication!
I then went through the exhibit hall visiting with creators and killed time until my blood drive appointment. I also was able to get a signed copy of Neil Gaiman's The Grave Yard Book (to which Sky Girl was favorably compared by a reviewer), which is kind of awesome.
I admit that I did not have purely altruistic motivations for giving blood. My wife is a huge True Blood fan (she is firmly in the Eric camp) and the drive was sponsored by HBO and True Blood. As a result, they were giving away some exclusive swag to donors. The process was pretty painless and only took about an hour and was for a great cause.
Then something I have never seen at ComicCon. There was no line at Hall H. I walked right into the animation panel. (the Ballroom 20 line was the longest I have ever seen, so I assume the combination of nearly back to back Sarah Michelle Gellar and Kirsten Stuart panels was the cause.). I caught the end of the panel about the upcoming Arthur movie, which features Santa's son.
The next panel was a surprise not on the schedule. Paul Reubin (in full costume) announced a new Pee Wee Herman movie with John Apatow. I have to admit, I was laughing to the point of tears at points. He mentioned about how great it is that Disney is still honoring his lifetime even though his voice is not in the park. (He is the voice of the Captain Rex in the version of Star Tours that has been retired). He did say, "R2 lightspeed to Endor" for us.
The next panel was a mash up of "Drive" and " Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" with Guillernmo Del Toro and Nicholas Winding Refn. They were joined by Ron Perlman, Carey Mulligan, Guy Pearce and Troy Nixey. The one thing that did come up was that Winding Refn is doing Logan's Run with Ryan Gossling.
Next up was In Time, created by Andrew Niccol, writer of the Truman Show and Gattaca. In Time stars Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfreid (who came out on stage), Olivia Wilde, Matt Bomer, Cillian Murpy and Vincent Kartheiser and tells the story of a future where science makes it so that people live to the age of 25 will die at the age of 26 unless they can buy or steal time credits. Timberlake find himself possession of hundreds of years and gets framed for murder
Then the Fox panel started. The program did not describe this secret panel, so know one knew what to expect. Damon Lindleoff hosted and here is what happened. First up was Promethius, Ridley Scott's new movie. Charlize Theron, who is really that beautiful in person, came out and they showed the preview. There are a lot of questions about whether this is an Alien sequel or prequel. It was clearly stated that the movie is original, but it is based on the original "Alien DNA." It was also revealed that there would be one (maybe two) replicant robots in the film. In a unique move Ridley Scott was conferenced in from Iceland. (He was eventually joined by Noomi Rapace, star of the Girl with Dragon Tattoo, who is also in the movie.)
As the last part of the Fox panel, we saw several scenes from Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Director Rupert Sanders and Andy Serkis (Golem, King Kong) came out and talked about the motion-capture performance necessary to create Caesar, the protagonist of the story. We saw several clips leading up to the monkey revolution. Serkis also said that his filming for Golem is done, and he has been given the role of director for some of the film.
Robert Rodriguez hosted the next panel for his new studio. Initially, he cleared up some rumors. First, Robert Rodigez announces Machete 2 Machete Kills. The second film will have a preview for Machete 3, Machete Kills again . . .in space. Spy Kids 4 is coming out in in 4d with Smellovision (Aromotizer. Sin City 2, A Dame to Kill For could be shot as early as this year with three original stories by Frank Miller. Rodriguez then stated that he wanted to get back to the art that inspires him. He then showed images, and the audience immediately knew it was Heavy Metal. Then Rodriguez brought out Kevin Eastman (Teenage Mutant . I did find it amusing that Eastman was inspired to create the Teenage Mtant Ninja Turtles because of Heavy Metal Magazine, but then could afford to buy out the company because of the money paid. Rodriguez asks the fans to submit story ideas, worlds, etc. for The Heavy Metal movie Go to Www.amd.com/heavymetal
Rodriguez next described the work of Frank Franzett. He then announce Rodriguez announces Frank Frazetta transmedia project dedicated to bringing worldwide attention back on the Franzetta properties. They are also Rodriguez to reopen Frazzeta gallery as a museum in Texas. Finally, Rodriguez to remake Frank Frazetta Fire and Ice with Death Dealer to follow.
In the final panel of the day, Del Tora and Favreau teamed up to talk about the movie making process. Very wity. In addition to an extended viewing of Cowboys and Aliens, here are some highlights:
Del Toro has a house that is full of Disney and movie memorabilia which will be featured in a book called Bleak House
Del Toro wants to make the Haunted Mansion an E ticket movie. He is working with imagineers and clearly said, "there are no comedians in my movie." (Mocking the earlier Eddie Murohy version of the film.) Del Toro's version has the hat box ghost, a legend to fans of the haunted mansion. The Hat Box ghost only appeared in the mansion for a single month when the attraction opened in Disneryland despite appearing in (and taking center stage in some) the publicity material.
Michael Chabon (Cavalier and Clay) is writing Favaue's Magic Kingdom movie.
Tomorrow is a big day with Torchwood, True Blood, Walking Dead, Batman Year One, Eureka, and Warehouse 13. I can't wait.
I apologize for not updating my sitre as often as I should, but life has been hectic with a whole bunch of projects (with hopefully some big news coming up).
Still, today was the start of San Diego ComicCon, the annual nerdvana that takes place each July in southern California. Once again, I have made the trek out here for the 5 day event. I don’t have a table or panels this year, so I can attend all the “fun” stuff in the two main rooms: Hall H (Movies) and Ballroom 20 (TV). I hope to update this site daily with the day’s events. (You should also check my twitter feed for breaking news and gossip).
Prior to the show, I attended the ICv2 Comics, Media, and Digital Conference, held in conjunction with SDCC. Each year, the ICv2 brings together thought leaders from the comics, media, and digital worlds to discuss how the two most powerful trends in comics are shaping the future. This year the focus was on transmarketing and the availability of digital comics.There is certainly a downward trend in the purchasing figures. I also met a few agents at the seminar. Here is a description of the panels:
The ICv2 White Paper
This ICv2 White Paper will present a comprehensive look at the comics market and the trends in comics, their media uses, and digital distribution.
Presented by Milton Griepp, ICv2.
Selling Comics in Hollywood—State of the Market
Panelists including Hollywood agents and managers discuss the market for comic properties in film, TV, and videogames—what types of projects are getting made, and why.
-- Scott Agostoni, Agent
-- Rick Jacobs, Producer and Manager, Circle of Confusion
-- Nick Harris, Co-head of Media Rights, International Creative Management
Digital Comics and Transmedia Properties
Panelists from the comic and digital worlds discuss how awareness from other media is creating unique opportunities to sell digital comics to new customers, and how digital comics are being used to enhance interest and revenues in other media.
-- Ted Adams, CEO, IDW Publishing
-- Alvin Lu, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Viz Media
-- Michael Murphey, CEO, iVerse
-- Mike Richardson, CEO, Dark Horse Productions
Comics, Paper and Digital, at Comic-Con 2013
Our panelists look ahead two years to answer key questions about the future of comics. At Comic-Con 2013, what is a comic? How do consumers buy them? How are comics tied to other media? And who were the winners and losers in the previous 24 months?
-- Joe Field, President, ComicsPro; and CEO, Flying Colors
-- Bill Schanes, Vice President, Diamond Comic Distributors
-- David Steinberger, CEO, comiXology
-- Mark Waid, Writer and Editor
Although not the official start, tonight was Preview Night. Preview Night allows for a limited number of professionals and guests to explore the convention floor the night before the official Con. Although, when I was on the floor tonight, I found it hard to believe that the crowds were limited. I also attended the premieres of a couple of television shows (including Supernatural: and Alcatraz)
I have to admit I wasn’t crazy about Supernatural, the animated series. The show is done in an anime style and relied on far too many common anime gimmicks to succeed. I also should add that I don't watch the regular Supernatural show, so that could also have something to do with my enjoyment of it. I hate to say that a lot of people walked out of the showings. On the plus side, the cartoon had Jared Padalecki reprising his Supernatural role as the voice of Sam m (Jensen Ackles has been replaced by Andrew Farrar).
Here if the official description:
Supernatural: The Anime Series -- Warner Bros. Television's hit series Supernatural (Fridays 9/8c, The CW) makes history this summer as Supernatural: The Anime Series is released in the United States, the first-ever live-action series to be reimagined in Japanese anime style. Inspired by the U.S. series' sensational following oversees, Warner Home Video Japan and renowned animation studio Madhouse -- working with the full approval of series creator Eric Kripke -- produced the anime series, which mirrors the story arc of Supernatural's first two seasons, providing supplemental stories ranging from prequels and spinoffs to untold tales that fit within the Supernatural mythology. The all-new, 22-episode animated series will be distributed July 26 by Warner Home Video on Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and for Download.
The other show, Alcatraz, was much more interesting to me. Alcatraz is scheduled as a midseason replacement for next season. The show, produced by JJ Abrams, and written by fellow Lost collaborator Elizabeth Sarnoff, tells an alternate history of America’s most famous prison.
According to history, in 1863, Alcatraz closed its doors and the prisoners were transferred off the island. According to the pilot, this never happened. Instead, the inmates simply vanished—the rest was a coverup. But, when one of the inmates shows up in the present looking exactly the same way as when he vanished and starts killing people, it is up to San Francisco Detective Rebecca Madsen (played by the beautiful Sarah Jones from Son’s of America to solve the crime. Her quest leads her to Diego Soto, an Alcatraz expert (played by Lost’s Jorge Garcias.) and a secret government organization. This pilot was better than Supernatural, but still not a rock solid success. The show depends on far too many coincidences and family relationships. But, at the end of the day, the show has promise. Remember, Fringe didn’t pick up until the fourth or fifth episode, and that has turned out to be a great show.
Here is the official description:
Alcatraz --From executive producer J. J. Abrams (Super 8, Fringe) and showrunner Elizabeth Sarnoff (Lost) comes Alcatraz, a chilling new drama revolving around America's most infamous prison and onetime home to the nation's worst criminals. The series stars Sarah Jones (Sons of Anarchy), Jorge Garcia (Lost), Jonny Coyne (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life), Parminder Nagra (ER), Santiago Cabrera (Heroes), and Jason Butler Harner (Fringe), with Robert Forster (Jackie Brown) and Sam Neill (Jurassic Park). Abrams, Bryan Burk (Super 8, Fringe), and Sarnoff are executive producers; Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt (both Kyle XY) are co-executive producers. Alcatraz will premiere in midseason and air Mondays 9/8c on FOX.
I did not watch the other two pilots, as I wanted to see the floor. But, for those of you playing at home, they were:
Person of Interest --Jim Caviezel (The Thin Red Line), Michael Emerson (Lost), and Taraji P. Henson (Hustle & Flow) team up in Person of Interest, a thought-provoking crime action-drama from The Dark Knight's Jonathan Nolan and J. J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions (Super 8, Fringe). Set in New York City, with all of its multifaceted elements of justice (cops, criminals, corruption), this procedural centers on an ex-CIA agent, presumed dead, who partners with a mysterious billionaire to prevent violent crimes. Kevin Chapman (Rescue Me) also stars in the series, which is executive produced by Nolan, Abrams, Greg Plageman (Cold Case), and Bryan Burk (Super 8, Fringe). Person of Interest is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television. The series will air Thursdays at 9/8c on CBS this fall.
The Secret Circle -- The ordinary becomes the extraordinary in The Secret Circle, a romantic drama full of mystery, intrigue, and danger from executive producer Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries) and based on the book series by L. J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries). The series chronicles the story of a young girl who discovers not only that she is a witch and part of a secret coven but that she is the key that will unlock a centuries-old battle of good versus evil. Britt Robertson (Scream 4), Thomas Dekker (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Gale Harold (Queer as Folk), Shelley Hennig (Days of Our Lives), Phoebe Tonkin (H20: Just Add Water), Louis Hunter (Out of the Blue), Jessica Parker Kennedy (Valemont), Ashley Crow (Heroes), and Natasha Henstridge (Species) star in the series, from executive producers Williamson, Leslie Morgenstein (The Vampire Diaries), Gina Girolamo (Alloy Entertainment), Andrew Miller (Nothing), and Richard Hatem (Supernatural). The series will air Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW this fall.
Watch this space and my twitter for more information.