Every year about this time, we come down with what can affectionately be referred to as Comic-Con Fever. Everything is so exciting! Every movie is the awesomest ever! Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con is a pop culture utopia, where directors get standing ovations, everything is a world premiere and, in the words of "The Lego Movie," everything is awesome.
Outside of sunny San Diego, however, reality can be a bit more harsh. How did these six huge, well-received Comic-Con surprises of 2014 do well in the real world?
"Mad Max: Fury Road"
The super-surprise, no-one-saw-this-coming reveal of footage from "Mad Max: Fury Road" had Hall H screaming and our own writer calling it "insane." (In a good way.) And guess what? The movie totally lived up to the hype, earning a 98 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and making meninists everywhere really, really uncomfortable.
"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"
This is a real wait-and-see, a saga that's now spanning its third Comic-Con. In 2013, the movie was announced with a simple logo incorporating both Bats and Superman's signature insignias. Last year, the stars took the stage and revealed both the first footage from the movie as well as the first look at Wonder Woman's costume. This year, newly single Ben Affleck will again take the stage to promote the movie. Can they surprise us any further before March 2016?
Matthew McConaughey crashed a panel and director Christopher Nolan made his very first Comic-Con appearance last year for a brief chat about the movie, igniting discussion about the mysterious movie. When "Interstellar" hit theaters in November, it was a must-see, though it didn't warp past expectations.
"The Hateful Eight"
Last year, Quentin Tarantino made headlines when he answered a fan question in a comics panel and confirmed that the beleaguered "Hateful Eight" would, in fact, be produced. (There was plenty of speculation after Tarantino himself bagged the script -- after it leaked online.) Tarantino returns to Comic-Con this year with a "Hateful Eight" panel ahead of the film's Christmas Day release.
"Avengers: Age of Ultron"
OK, yes, we all knew that the "Avengers" sequel was coming, but what we didn't expect was to see the Avengers assemble on-stage. It's safe to say that this one did...OK. If you call top 10 all-time box office record-making "OK."
"Kong: Skull Island"
Well, that was totally unexpected. At the end of Legendary's panel at SDCC 2014, a clip played to Hall H without context: we zoomed over water and trees, onto a remote island. Who's there but King Kong himself? Since that big reveal, much has changed. The film has gotten a new title (now "Kong: Skull Island"), switched release dates (from 2016 to 2017) and, most recently, lost two stars in Michael Keaton and J.K. Simmons. What could 2015 bring for this monster of a movie?