SAN DIEGO (AP) - Like Batman responding to a beaming Bat signal in the sky, pop-culture 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 moves' main home at the convention center.
Convention vet Brian Truitt joins first-timer Carly Mallenbaum to share what you need to know before Comic-Con kicks off Thursday in San Diego. There will be big stars, big movies and, as always, big surprises at Comic-Con.
"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:
- 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.
- "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."
- 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.
See Also: Get ready for LEGO Batman at Comic-Con!
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