At Comic-Con International in San Diego, Patton Oswalt moderated a panel for Tron Legacy, which featured much of the cast and director of the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures film. Eight minutes from the film was screened to the audience and a new trailer was released to the greater public. But at the tail end of the panel, it was announced to almost unanimous shock and surprise that Guillermo Del Toro, the well-known director of the Hellboy films and Pan's Labyrinth would help create a new Haunted Mansion film. (It's not entirely known if he will direct.) Del Toro has a great passion for The Haunted Mansion attraction and was quite emphatic about his attempts to make this movie true to the spirit of the attraction, much to the utter delight of Disney fans. This was evident in his announcement that the Hatbox Ghost would play a prominent role in the film. Del Toro had been previously attached to The Hobbit but left the production due to the chaotic mess at MGM Studios.
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Other announcements hot off the press out of San Diego are some official word on long-standing rumors regarding Marvel's The Avengers film. That film, arriving in 2012, will team up many legendary Marvel characters who will by then have had their own spotlight films (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor) along with popular secondary characters that they hope to then spin-off. Joss Whedon, the popular creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly and a critically-acclaimed writer on Astonishing X-Men, outed himself as the official director of the film. And today word came down that Mark Ruffalo was finishing up 11th hour negotiations to take on the mantle of the Hulk, previously played by Ed Norton (with whom Marvel had a notorious falling out last week). Whedon also confirmed that Jeremy Renner (the Oscar-nominated lead in 2009's Best Picture The Hurt Locker) will play Hawkeye, the popular archer and rare un-powered Avenger. Marvel Studios is expected to have most of the cast on hand at their panel tonight.
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Disney officially announced a September 10th opening for Via Napoli, the new restaurant at Epcot's Italy pavilion. Via Napoli will be a table service restaurant only, with one menu for both lunch and dinner. Menu and prices were also unveiled and are certainly on the high-end. Apparently Disney has never actually seen how much pizza costs in Naples.
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It was recently revealed that Pixar's Brad Bird and screenwriter Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) were brought in to help contribute to Tron Legacy re-shoots. This is not an entirely rare process, but got a lot of press because of Disney's profile and Pixar's magical touch. It was then revealed this week that Pixar's brain-trust had also been brought in to help with the new Muppets movie in development. No word on whether this means we'll be reduced to tears watching a poignant sequence with Beaker.