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'The Book of Life,' 'Kingsman' lead Fox's eclectic Comic Con peeks

By Piya Sinha-Roy

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Action, comedy, animation and dystopia made up an eclectic slate of upcoming films that 20th Century Fox presented at Comic Con on Friday, hoping to engage the convention's avid fan base.

Channing Tatum, Christina Applegate, Ron Perlman lent some star power to the presentation, introducing clips from "The Book of Life," an intricately designed animated film based around the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday.

"The Day of the Dead is very dear and near to my heart, I got married on that day because one of my best friends had passed away and I wanted him to be there and that was the day he would be," director Jorge Gutierrez said.

Executive producer Guillermo Del Toro, a fan favorite at Comic Con, said he became involved with "The Book of Life" because he felt it "needed me," describing it as "a gorgeous and magical movie."

Tatum, who stars in his first leading animated role in "The Book of Life," said "I jumped at it right away, it seemed so punk rock to do a film with this backdrop."

The film features contemporary music from bands such as Radiohead and Mumford & Sons, not usually the music featured in animated films. Rapper Biz Markie came out on stage and performed "Just a Friend," one of the songs featured in the film, spurring an impromptu dance party among the cast on stage.

"I grew up in Tijuana, so all the American music, I saw it go south and it became the soundtrack of my life," he said. "'Creep' (by Radiohead) was one of the songs I grew up with."

Laughs were provided by clips of comedies "Let's Be Cops," a goofy bromance with two men who pretend to be police, and "Kingsman: The Secret Service," a comedy spinning a twist on the classic British spy genres defined by the James Bond franchise.

"Kingsman," which stars Mark Hamill, Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson, is based on the comic of the same name and follows a young man recruited by an elite secret service agency.

One lucky audience member was selected to be flown to London to appear in one of the remaining scenes still to be shot before the film is released in October.

Other films showcased included "The Maze Runner," based on James Dashner's young adult book of the same name. The film follows a group of boys trapped in a dystopian land where the only way out is through a giant concrete maze.

"We think this could be a really cool saga to tell in multiple movies," director Wes Ball said, asking the audience to spread the word to build buzz for a sequel.

Fans were treated to the first look of the film's second trailer, and a clip that showed the film's lead, Thomas (played by Dylan O'Brien), as he comes face to face with a deadly creature known as a Griever in the maze.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Ken Wills)

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