'Green Lantern' Footage Wows at WonderCon

Warner Bros. and stars Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively debut nine impressive minutes of the summer superhero tentpole.

Warner Bros. and Green Lantern filmmakers knew they had to deliver the goods Friday at San Francisco's WonderCon comic and pop culture show -- and they did just that.

The summer DC Comics-based tentpole, which some peg as having a budget of more than $250 million, is being positioned not just as the launch of a franchise but as the foundation for a line of movies based on DC Comicscharacters.

Warners screened unfinished footage from the Ryan Reynolds-starrer at last year's Comic-Con and later released a trailer that did not wow fans. But the buzz-making effort has been largely silent ever since, prompting questions from industry insiders and geeks alike.

Warners' motion picture group president Jeff Robinov recently said the marketing has been behind schedule due to challenges in finishing the 3D film. 

The studio knew it needed a strong one-two punch of presentations at last week's CinemaCon exhibitors convention in Las Vegas and at this weekend's WonderCon, which is growing as a venue in which to showcase blockbusters before the all-important summer season.

With Thursday's CinemaCon blitz behind it, the pressure was on the studio for Friday's much-anticipated panel in the ballroom of the Moscone Convention Center, which was at capacity and had hundreds of people still snaking out of the building.

Reynolds and co-star Blake Lively, as well as DC chief creative officer Geoff Johns, spoke from the stage. While Reynolds' wit is always a sure seller, everyone knew the success of the panel was going to come down to the footage. After months of silence, would it wow?

The simple answer: yes.

The roughly nine minutes shown displayed top-notch special effects and clearly laid out the kind of movie Green Lantern hopes to be: epic and action-packed, packed with worlds and aliens you've never seen before. And with Reynolds' charm as an added bonus.

The footage (warning: mild spoilers) opened with an action sequence in which Green Lantern Abin Sur, in a space ship, falls under attack. Then it jumped to a scene in which the mortally wounded Sur transfers his power ring to Hal Jordan (Reynolds). Then Jordan reciting the Green Lantern oath; Jordan flying through space to the planetOa, where he meets the alien Tomar Re; an assembly of Green Lanterns from all over the universe; finally, a montage of both Earth-bound scenes and villains and more space action.

The actors made it clear, as they usually do at these geek gatherings, that they were serving the fanboy faithful and staying true to the source material. Lively said she knew she had to change her blonde locks to her character's brown when a security member from her TV show Gossip Girl revealed himself to be a closet fanboy and peppered her about the character and its history.

Having brown hair, she decided, was "a matter of national security," she said.

When Reynolds was asked if he read the Green Lantern comic, he responded, "I'd be an asshole if I said I didn't."

There was plenty of chemistry between the two actors, although much of the attention was on Reynolds, who was called Mr. Hottie by one guest and asked to show his six-pack abs by another.

When one attendee commented on how the public is being bombarded by many comic book and super hero movies, Reynolds elicted one of many laughs when he said, "Are you saying this crowd is hating superhero movies? Are theyholding out for Black Swan 2?"

Reynolds also touched upon the amount of visual effects the movie will have, which is notable given that Reynolds said that while the actors shot for six months, teams of visual artists are working non-stop.

"It's in post [production] where this movie begins," he said.

Warners is now going to work hard to keep the buzz going, and make sure it spreads beyond the confines of the halls in San Francisco. Insiders say the studio, emboldened by the response, will release four minutes of the WonderCon footage online on April 2.