Walt Disney Studios electrified the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con with multiple incarnations of Tim Burton's newest featured project, Frankenweenie.
A cult figure at Comic-Con, Burton's dark, quirky style has loyal fans excited about the black & white stop-motion animated feature. Frankenweenie (2012) is a Mary Shelley-inpired tale about a young boy who brings his dead dog back to life. In a Burtonesque twist of fate, the talented Tim Burton returns to Disney Studios, creating a full-length feature inspired by the Frankenweenie (1984) short-film that led to his firing as a young Disney animator and director.
On June 12, a month before doors opened to convention attendees, Walt Disney Pictures sponsored Frankenweenie Comic-Con banners that appeared all over Downtown San Diego and the Gaslamp District. Hanging on lightposts from Petco Park to Point Loma, the ads featured a stitched-up Sparky, Frankenweenie's four-legged star.
At 2:05pm on Thursday, July 12, Walt Disney Studios presented Frankenweenie inside the San Diego Comic-Con's marquee venue, Hall H. To attend the afternoon event, many of Burton's fans lined up before dawn, competing with Twilight fans for coveted Hall H seating. Those lucky enough to get in were treated to Frankenweenie previews and a special Q & A panel with Tim Burton.
Following the Hall H panel, Walt Disney Pictures whisked Burton, actor Atticus Shaffer and producers Don Hahn and Allison Abate to a press conference held at the Bayside Hilton. Media outlets asked questions about the black & white Frankenweenie project, including technical aspects related to stop motion animation and the intricately made puppets. Burton also remembered attending the San Diego Comic-Con in the late 70's as a college student, when the event was little more than a collection of comic book dealers in a rented hall.
Home & Garden Television partnered with Walt Disney Pictures to create HGTV's Electrifying Garden, a Frankenweenie-style crossover featuring a pet cemetery, Frankenweenie trailers and spooky loooking plants. The Burton-inspired exhibit was located in front of the Gaslamp Hilton, just across Harbor Drive from the San Diego Convention Center.
Electrifying Garden guests were invited to take photos, which were green-screened to place subjects in New Holland, Tim Burton's suburban setting for Frankenweenie. Every attendee enterprising enough to cross the street and enter the HGTV tent also received special Frankenweenie mini-tote bags and San Diego Comic-Con exclusive Sparky pins.
Even if Comic-Con attendees decided walking to the Gaslamp Quarter was too much effort and skipped the HGTV event, the Comic-Con's main convention floor featured plenty of Frankeweenie.
The fun folks from Funko featured a pair of SDCC 2012 Frankenweenie Exclusives. Funko's Sparkysaurus figure and Frankenweenie T-Shirts drew long lines, as people vultured around the Funko booth to purchase the popular items.
Gentle Giant also had a little Frankenweenie to show conventioneers. Their Frankenweenie collection included several figures patterned after Frankweenie characters, as well as the cute and cuddly Sparky plush.
The biggest Frankenweenie-related draw, besides Tim Burton himself, was the Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition. The gallery of stop motion puppets, movie props and Burton's concept art created a constant crowd clamoring to get their first peeks at Frankweenie. The movie's official traveling exhibition made the San Diego Comic-Con its second out of eight worldwide stops. The five day stop in San Diego allowed fans in Southern California a sneak preview. For those who missed out, Vincent, Sparky and the exhibition gallery will re-appear at the Disney California Adventure Park from September 14th to November 5th, in time to build buzz for the Frankenweenie's theatrical debut on October 5, 2012.