Next to the all-star fireworks Warner Bros unleashed at CinemaCon last month with Adam Sandler, Johnny Depp and Clint Eastwood, the studio kicked off WonderCon’s Saturday movie schedule on a sleepy note with a low wattage of stars. Comparisons to Disney’s previous D23s are inevitable, especially due to the fact that the Mouse House has trotted out such megastars at this same venue — the Anaheim Convention Center Arena — in its previous confabs, i.e. Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, and Robert Downey Jr. First up for Warner Bros today was a fresh Edge of Tomorrow trailer, spotlighting co-star Bill Paxton as a Kentucky sergeant. Paxton later took the stage, but Edge of Tomorrow star Tom Cruise didn’t show; the crowd didn’t seem to mind, though, rolling their cheers in appreciation for the Aliens thespian, but still — Cruise isn’t here. Nor was Godzilla castmember Bryan Cranston, a fave for his panel appearances for Breaking Bad at ComicCon.
Thank God for the Godzilla clip toward the end of the panel. Introduced by director Gareth Edwards, it showed a mesmerizing in-your-face tsunami scene that floods a tropical city, in addition to Godzilla battling a three-legged moth monster at an airport. The crowd stamped their feet. “I thought it was going to be the easiest thing in the world — designing Godzilla, but everyone has an opinion,” said Edwards. “But designing Godzilla was the hardest thing in the world, because everyone has an opinion.”
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If anything, Warner Bros will win over summer crowds with its first-person disaster films. Similar to Legendary’s Godzilla, the clip for New Line’s Into The Storm puts the audience smack-dab in the middle of a town being slammed by three tornadoes, and it also drew decent applause here. Said director Steve Quale, “We learned what natural disasters actually look like from a first-person point of view by watching YouTube, hence we used a first-person narrative approach with handheld cameras.” Quale, who oversaw VFX on Avatar, mentioned that Into The Storm already received a thumbs-up from his mentor James Cameron. “When he first showed me Titanic, I made a suggestion about Rose dropping the necklace in the ocean toward the end, which he implemented. Likewise, James made a suggestion about the ending for Into The Storm, which I incorporated.” The VFX looks amazing, truly rivaling Warner Bros’ 1996 predecessor Twister. One haunting scene has the tornado blowing through a high school hallway complete with debris going wild. And the stars of Into The Storm were the only cast to show up en masse including Richard Armitage, Jeremy Sumpter, Arien Escarpeta and Max Deacon.
During the Edge Of Tomorrow portion of the panel, Paxton discussed how his platoon sergeant is similar to his ”Game Over” movie guy in Aliens. ”He’s a guy who warns future soldier Tom Cruise, ‘You’re going to be reborn in combat or have your nuts cut off,’” said Paxton. “I don’t worry about being the lead nowadays,” Paxton proudly told the crowd. “I’m going back to the supporting roles that first got me attention, such as playing opposite Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns. I think I’ve become the guy who supports ‘the Guy.’” Paxton promised that the film will equally play to guys as well as gals thanks to Emily Blunt’s gritty turn as a soldier in the film. The Normandy-like battle scenes are focal points in the Edge Of Tomorrow trailers, and Paxton pointed out the coincidence that the film is opening June 6, the 70th anniversary of D-Day.