We all know San Diego Comic-Con is more than just comics. Yet despite all the great panels and events that happen throughout the convention, nothing gets quite the attention of a big Hollywood reveal on the stage of the Convention Center’s Hall H. Tom Hiddleston as Loki? The cast of Batman vs. Superman appearing together? Those moments and more might not be your personal favorites, but they’re the moments everyone remembers and talks about for years.
Every year, we take a gander at the theatrical release schedule and put down our best guesses as to which films might be filling up Hall H in July. Next week, we’ll be turning our attention to TV – both broadcast and cable.
With that said, let’s look at this year’s possibilities:
1. Fantastic Four
Release Date: August 7, 2015
After hearing rumblings that 20th Century Fox was going to bring Fantastic Four out to WonderCon for months, we were obviously disappointed that didn’t happen – but we’ve got every reason to believe that the film will be at San Diego Comic-Con. It’s just a month before the film bows, it’s got a relatively unknown cast (we love Miles Teller, Kate Mara, and Michael B. Jordan, but they’re definitely not household names) that could probably use the promotional push in front of the Comic-Con crowd to help win them over in this reboot, and Fox seems to try to pull out all the stops for SDCC. We’ve got high hopes for an action-packed panel, likely with the entire cast. Plus, with Marvel supposedly skipping Hall H this year, it’s the perfect time to fill that void… with more Marvel.
2. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Release Date: March 25, 2016
Let’s be honest: If Warner Bros./DC don’t bring Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, especially in a year where it looks like Marvel Studios won’t be at the convention, they’re wasting the perfect opportunity to be the talk of the convention. Last year, when stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, and Gal Gadot made an all-too-brief appearance on the Hall H stage, and the shortest of all teasers premiered, it made huge waves. But this is a chance to show off even more footage, and be the #1 thing to come out of San Diego Comic-Con. We really don’t think (or hope) that they’re going to waste that opportunity.
3. Crimson Peak
Release Date: October 16, 2015
Director Guillermo del Toro told attendees in Hall H last year that he’d be back in 2015 with a panel for Crimson Peak and that he’d hopefully be bringing star Tom Hiddleston with him, and then Jessica Chastain also told reporters that she would be at Comic-Con this year to promote the film, so this seems like a relatively sure thing. Del Toro doesn’t make the panel schedule though, but we can’t imagine Legendary leaving this one out of a presentation – especially when it stars Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, and Jim Beaver, in a story about a crumbling mansion and the mysterious inhabitants. That basically screams “Comic-Con”.
4. The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials
Release Date: September 18, 2015
20th Century Fox brought the first The Maze Runner film out for some serious promotion last year, which included a Hall H appearance, a Nerd HQ panel, and a film screening several months early – and that appears to have paid off, as the film grossed over $340.6 million worldwide, enough to warrant a sequel. So Fox could be looking to repeat that strategy this year with another panel and promotional push for The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials. Plus, star Dylan O’Brien typically also appears in town for the MTV series Teen Wolf, making it even easier to put together a Hall H panel with cast included. And author James Dashner has already stated that he’ll be attending the convention. Seems like a no-brainer to us.
Release Date: February 12, 2015
20th Century Fox and star Ryan Reynolds have been pulling out all the stops for early promotion of Deadpool (including a nifty April Fools announcement), and considering that it’s essentially fan love that finally brought this film to life, Fox has to know that this would pack the room. You could put Reynolds on stage in costume for ten seconds and it would be the highlight of most people’s convention. Does this one really need much explanation?
6. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Release Date: August 14, 2015
Batman v Superman‘s Henry Cavill could be pulling double-duty for Warner Bros., as he also stars in their upcoming spy-fi action comedy, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., based on the 1960’s TV series. The Guy Ritchie directed film may not seem like an immediate fit for Comic-Con, but the TV series was a cult classic, and with Cavill likely already in town for Batman v Superman, it seems even more likely to at least get a mention during what’s hopefully a really big year for WB.
7. Hitman: Agent 47
Release Date: August 21, 2015
Last year, San Diego Comic-Con attendees were treated to some first look footage of Hitman: Agent 47, but could this be the year that we get the entire cast? 20th Century Fox obviously thinks the film, which is based off the popular video game series, makes sense for this crowd since they showcased it in 2014, and it stars Comic-Con favorite Zachary Quinto, as well as Rupert Friend.
8. The Hunger Game: Mockingjay Part 2
Release Date: November 20, 2015
Lionsgate skipped Hall H in 2015, opting instead for an offsite and several autograph signings, but we’ve got high hopes that for the final installment of The Hunger Games franchise, they’ll bring out all the stops. And besides, director Francis Lawrence even already said that he “thinks” they’re coming to Comic-Con. The one caveat is that the film doesn’t really need the promotion, but fans would definitely flock to any panel that had this in it, which could just give Lionsgate a good starting ground for another franchise they’re trying to re-launch next year. More on that below.
9. Angry Birds
Release Date: May 20, 2016
The popular game is coming to the big screen next year, and the film might make total sense for Comic-Con. It’s technically gaming, and it’s got a wide cast, some of which may already be in town – including Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Peter Dinklage, and Keegan-Michael Key.
10. Allegiant: Part 1
Release Date: March 18, 2016
The biggest Hall H question mark of 2015 was, at least for us, why Liosngate didn’t hold a panel for Insurgent, the second of the Divergent franchise — especially when stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James were already in town signing autographs. We’re hopeful that Lionsgate simply decided they couldn’t round up enough A-list talent from The Hunger Games in town for that weekend to warrant a full presentation, and that 2016 is going to be different.
11. Power Rangers
Release Date: July 22, 2016
Especially when Lionsgate has another franchise they’re trying to re-launch next year: Power Rangers. Not much is known about the reboot, including much of the cast, which is why San Diego Comic-Con could be the perfect time to unveil some big news about the film. However, with the film being so far out, and with filming not yet started, we wouldn’t expect more than a very quick teaser or a cast reveal.
12. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Release Date: July 31, 2015
Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie are no strangers to Hall H, having appeared in 2013 to promote Edge of Tomorrow. We’d love to see them return in 2015 for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, which also stars Comic-Con favorites Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg. We just ask that Paramount tells attendees what’s going to be on their panel this year, so they don’t wind up with a 3/4 empty room this year. Please.
Release Date: June 10, 2016
There’s already a built-in audience for Warcraft at San Diego Comic-Con, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the studio used that to their advantage to get some early buzz going about Warcraft, the upcoming film based on the popular video game series. The film follows the origin story of the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs of the game, and stars Ben Foster, Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Dominic Cooper, Rob Kazinsky, and Clancy Brown. Since it’s produced by Legendary and being distributed by Universal, that even gives two studios the option to bring it along – assuming Universal doesn’t skip out on the convention again (we may still be crying over the lost potential of a Jurassic World panel last year).
14. The Martian
Release Date: November 25, 2015
Ridley Scott made his last San Diego Comic-Con appearance in 2011 (though granted, it was through a video recording) to give attendees an early glimpse of Prometheus. His next venture, The Martian, bows in November, and seems ripe for some Comic-Con promotion. It’s definitely sci-fi: The film follows a manned mission to Mars, which sees Astronaut Mark Watney presumed dead after a fierce storm, and his struggle to find a way home. It stars Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, and Sean Bean — several of whom could be pulling double-duty during the convention, and which makes pulling together a panel even easier.
15. X-Men: Apocalypse
Release Date: May 27, 2016
Both Fox and Bryan Singer love San Diego Comic-Con, so long as they’ve got something ready to show (they started filming in April), we’d be very surprised if X-Men: Apocalypse skipped the convention. X-Men panels are always packed on stage, and in addition to all the usual suspects, this film is introducing younger versions of several fan-favorites (like Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey and Kodi Smit-McPhee’s Nightcrawler). That could give the studio the perfect reason to want to get buzz going early, and the perfect opportunity to show off what they’ve got so far to a room that’s already pumped.
16. Victor Frankenstein
Release Date: October 2, 2015
20th Century Fox has a lot of films to choose from for their Hall H presentation this year, but we definitely wouldn’t count out Victor Frankenstein, which re-tells the classic story from Igor’s perspective. For one, Victor Frankenstein needs more promotion than The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and some of the other films on 20th Century Fox’s upcoming roster. For another, it stars James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe — which probably guarantees fans will fill the room, just to see those two.
17. The 5th Wave
Release Date: January 29, 2016
The young adult dystopian scene is already pretty full, which might be exactly why Columbia or parent company Sony need to promote this film, which stars Chloe Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, and Liev Shreiber. The film follows the Rick Yancey novel of the same name, which follows Cassie Sullivan (Moretz) as she tries to survive in a world devastated by waves of alien invasion that have decimated the population.
18. Hotel Transylvania 2
Release Date: September 25, 2015
The first animated Hotel Transylvania got a short panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2012 with director Genndy Tartakovsky, producer Michelle Murdocca, and voice actor Ralph Garman – and we wouldn’t be shocked to see the second film return. If it does come back though, we’d love to see some of the star-studded cast, which includes Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Space, Keegan-Michael Key, and more. Considering last year, Columbia Pictures opted for their more comedic films and stars (including Jack Black’s Goosebumps and Adam Sandler and Josh Gad’s Pixels), it seems even more likely.
19-23. The Good Dinosaur, Zootopia, The Jungle Book, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Finding Dory
Release Dates: The Good Dinosaur — November 25, 2015; Zootopia — March 4, 2016; The Jungle Book — April 15, 2016; Alice Through the Looking Glass — May 27, 2016; Finding Dory — June 17, 2016
It’s been too long since Walt Disney Studios took to the Hall H stage (2012, to be exact), and even longer since Pixar had a Hall H presence (2009 is the last we can remember, but if someone knows better, please correct us in the comments). But never say never, and a lot of studios tend to attend Comic-Con sporadically, using it as a launching pad when they feel they need it. Walt Disney Studios doesn’t particularly need Comic-Con right now, especially when it’s a D23 year, but they also have a very full slate for the next year, and it’s possible a few films could use an extra push. At the very least though, we do expect another “The Art of” panel in a smaller room, probably for Zootopia.
24. Jem and the Holograms
Release Date: October 23, 2015
Based on the popular toy line and the 1980’s animated television series, Jem and the Holograms is now headed to a movie theatre screen near you this October — but first, it’s possible it could be headed to Hall H. The Hasbro and nostalgia factors alone could be enough to push this film to Comic-Con.
25. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Release Date: February 19, 2016
If Universal returns to San Diego Comic-Con in 2015 – and we hope that they will – then this might be a good film to showcase. Based on the popular Seth Grahame-Smith novel of the same name, both versions ask the question we’ve all been asking: What would happen if a horde of zombies attacked the characters of Pride and Prejudice? The adaptation stars Lena Headey, Lily James, Charles Dance, and Matt Smith — all of whom are well-known and would likely be well-received by SDCC attendees.
Release Date: July 24, 2015
Pan has a release date not long after San Diego Comic-Con, and it might be too close to promote it at Comic-Con – but the film meets the fantasy quotient that WB has liked to push the last few years (see: Jupiter Ascending, Seventh Son), and it’s got a geek-friendly cast in stars Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, and Amanda Seyfried.
27. The Peanuts Movie
Release Date: November 6, 2015
The Peanuts gang are coming to the big screen this November in a 3D adaptation, thanks to Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox. Blue Sky Studios was out in force last year at SDCC with a booth to promote the upcoming film, and we think it makes sense to hold a panel as well in 2015, to get audiences used to Charlie Brown and company’s new look, and help sell them on the film.
28. The Last Witch Hunter
Release Date: October 23, 2015
Vin Diesel stars alongside Elijah Wood and Rose Leslie as the last remaining witch hunter who is battling against an uprising of witches in modern day New York. If “witches” and “Vin Diesel” didn’t make it sound like Comic-Con material, we don’t really know what would.
29. Suicide Squad
Release Date: August 5, 2016
It’s probably way too early for a full panel for Suicide Squad – the film doesn’t come out until likely after next year’s San Diego Comic-Con – but if WB wants to get fans excited, a quick appearance on stage similar to last year’s Batman v Superman cast appearance could be just the ticket. The movie will still be filming during Comic-Con (it wraps in August), meaning it might be easy to work it into the cast’s schedule. And given the reaction so far to the cast photos, Suicide Squad might need some fan love.
30. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Release Date: December 18, 2015
We know, okay? It’s a D23 year. There was already Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. The odds are stacked against Star Wars: The Force Awakens being at San Diego Comic-Con — and yet, we’ve heard some positive rumblings that it may still show. If nothing else, with Marvel sounding like they’re definitely out (and more on that below), parent company Walt Disney may not be willing to concede that prime Saturday night Hall H slot to Warner Bros./DC. Could we be looking at switching up Star Wars and Marvel presence at Comic-Con every other year? We think it’s a very real possibility.
James Gunn made the comment heard round the Comic-Con world a couple months ago about Marvel skipping Hall H this year, and though nothing is official, we’ve got no reason to doubt that he knows what he’s talking about. Ant-Man premieres just after SDCC, so the cast will likely be busy promoting it overseas, and it’s also very late for a Comic-Con push. At that point, you’re either excited, or you’re not. Captain America: Civil War only just started filming, so they likely won’t have anything to show for that either. It just doesn’t really make sense for Marvel Studios to appear this year — but fingers crossed for 2016.
What films are you looking forward to most at this year’s Comic-Con? Which films do you think we missed? Which guesses do you think we got wrong? Let us know in the comments.