By Ben Fritz
SAN DIEGO -- The Justice League and Thor were locked in a tight battle for fan attention Sunday as Comic-Con International wrapped up here.
People online were discussing "Justice League," from Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros., and "Thor: Ragnarok," from Walt Disney Co.'s Marvel Studios, more than any other movies or television shows hyped at the world's biggest pop-culture convention, a four-day event that started Thursday.
Both companies debuted new trailers and brought their films' stars in front of packed crowds in a hall at the San Diego Convention Center that holds 6,500 people, many of whom camped out overnight to snag a seat.
"Justice League," whose cast includes Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Jason Momoa from "Game of Thrones" as Aquaman, had racked up 10.3 million social-media engagements, including likes and shares, by midday Sunday, according to research company ListenFirst Media.
"Thor: Ragnarok," which stars Chris Hemsworth in the title role and Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, garnered 8.8 million.
However, Marvel's panel was held Saturday evening, while Warner's was Saturday morning, giving "Justice League" more time to grab fans' attention. "Thor" was catching up in social-media numbers by Sunday and could ultimately end up No. 1, said a ListenFirst spokeswoman.
The two movies will be released in November, so their competition for fan attention presages what could be one of the year' most brutal box-office battles.
The studios both emphasized humor alongside action in promoting their films. For "Justice League," that's a sharper turn, as some fans and many critics were turned off by the dark tone of last year's Warner superhero movie "Batman v Superman."
"Game of Thrones" was the most popular television show hyped at Comic-Con and came in right behind "Thor," with 8.2 million social-media engagements. Ratings have been at a record high for the fantasy program on Time Warner's HBO, as it recently started its seventh season.
Comic-Con remains a key event for entertainment companies looking to promote their films and programs to some of the most devoted fans of science-fiction, fantasy and superheroes. In recent years, the event has become even more important as a springboard for generating excitement on social media. Many new trailers and other materials debut at Comic-Con and are then quickly released online.
This year, some of most popular experiences of Comic-Con weren't at the actual convention but in downtown San Diego, where networks and studios set up elaborate and immersive showcases for fans. The most popular, with lines exceeding three hours, was a virtual reality game and recreated city block from Alcon Entertainment's upcoming "Blade Runner 2049." But the sequel, which was also part of the Comic-Con presentation of its distributor, Warner Bros., was only the fifth most talked-about movie online, according to ListenFirst, with 1.9 million engagements.
Write to Ben Fritz at email@example.com