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Major Movie Studios Deciding They Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Comic-Con
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The Movie God   |  @   |  
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It would appear that something of a rebellion is underway by major movie studios who are usually expected to show off big and exciting things from their upcoming slate every year at San Diego Comic-Con. A growing number of said studios have declared that they will not be attending Comic-Con this summer, and others are still pondering whether the yearly geek mecca is worth their time and promotional efforts.

The New York Times is reporting that among the studios who have decided not to show up at Comic-Con this year are Warner Brothers, Walt Disney, DreamWorks, and The Weinstein Company. Even bigger might be Marvel — likely the most expected to show up and promote The Avengers — who is apparently still “on the fence” as to if they want to attend this summer’s convention.

So many big studios not showing up could be devastating to the hordes of fans who so look forward to the extravaganza each year, but thereasoning behind said studios making this decision is not of the nonsensical variety. See, the past few years have seen some major, major titles being flaunted to the Comic-Con masses, and we geeks can be fickle creatures. If exciting new footage for one of these major titles is good then we revel in all its glory, shouting to everyone who will hear us how amazing it is. But if the footage is a major letdown, you may never hear harsher words spoken, and it’s this immense and instantaneous reaction that can be so much more damaging than we realize.

Movies like Disney’s Tron: Legacy and WB’s Sucker Punch had attendees buzzing with how great their footage was at last year’s Con, then they arrived in theaters to lackluster results. Sometimes the movie just ends up not being good as it looks, or sometimes — as the studios see it — we might just be getting TOO excited for a film, raising our expectations beyond reach.

If this trend continues and other studios continue to join in on the absentee party, it could be most devastating to San Diego itself. As you’ll recall, there was a big situation recently where it was being argued whether to keep Comic-Con in the city, or if it had to be moved to somewhere else. San Diego made an almost $800 million bid to ensure it stayed where it belonged, and eventually was able to announce that they weren’t going anywhere. But what if studios start thinking they don’t need Comic-Con and stop going? Will attendance start to drop as well? It would be tragic for them to invest so much in keeping Comic-Con alive in San Diego only to see everything start to fall apart.

While many studios will be absent, there are still plenty who’ll be attendance: Lionsgate; Universal with Cowboys & Aliens; Paramount with The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn; Song with The Amazing Spiderman; Fox with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Relativity Media with Immortals, The Raven, and Shark Night 3-D, and Summit, of course, has “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn “” Part 1 (that’s right, Hall H attendees, get ready to wait… and wait… and wait in line to get in on the Twilight day).

What does everyone think about studios deciding not to attending Comic-Con, especially those of you who go every year?

9 Comments »

  1. Unbelievable. No Warner Bros? With Harry Potter released just before the convention?

    Look, if you made a crappy ass movie, the 10,000 people in Hall H that are yelling their approval aren’t going to make much difference when the movie’s released nationwide. That’s not *our* fault. Maybe you shouldn’t make a crappy ass movie.

    Although, I did enjoy Scott Pilgrim. I think I enjoyed it so much because I read the GN series beforehand, though. But honestly, did they really expect Michael Cera to carry that movie to blockbuster status?

    Comment by Christine Dunbar — June 14, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

  2. Marvel not attending would make no sense… since it IS a division of
    Marvel…  Other big studios should be more worried about making great
    movies that will not disappoint, instead of worrying about the reaction
    of con-goers. They’ve practically got us anyways, we all know we’re
    likely to go watch said hypothetical movie anyways.

    I haven’t been able to attend ever, and it remains one of my biggest
    dreams. As much as I would love major movie stuff going on if I ever
    get there, weren’t a bunch of us complaining for the past couple of
    years about Hollywood taking over SDCC?

    Comment by Marcela Vargas — June 14, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

  3. Consisting that Disney now holds Marvel by the preverbial balls, I can understand why Marvel is not attending if Disney isn’t. It’s a shame really. But considering your comment about us Fickel Geeks getting “too excited” for movies these days, I can begin to understand why it isn’t such a bad idea to possibly put the brakes on all the glitteriness of movie promoting. It CAN be too exciting. It CAN raise our expectations into dangers levels. Lets just hope that the major changes to any Comic Con are sparsely implemented.

    Comment by Jen-Jen — June 14, 2011 @ 5:20 pm

  4. Sounds great to me.

    The only reason comic-inspired movies are so popular is because we eat that crap up whether it’s Tobey as Spidey, Jackman as Wolvie, Reynolds as GL, or even Seth Roegen as Green Hornet, (all blasphemous of course) they’ve been exploiting the medium for years now, and have been destroying the con as well. Then a movie like Watchmen comes along, with relatively low advertising at the con before it came out (probably because the giants pay more) that didn’t have some big name actor tied to it, and made for a great reflection of the real deal, while respecting the culture/medium. Movies like watchmen, and lesser known movies that specifically cater to the supernerds will still be advertised at the con, as they should, but movies like.. Fast Five and From Paris with Love will have to wait to advertise to people online/tv/magazines/posters… i mean really why the hell did they come to comic-con in the first place?

    The large displays will be there from animation studios, comic publishers, and various other hardcore nerdtastic areas of the globe, we don’t need the same Harry Potter display i’ve seen the past three years to let us know that the movie is coming out. We don’t need a mile long line of preteen girls waiting to get a glimpse of Robert Pattenson. . . I mean that really ruined hitting any boards last year, lines around the block of people trying to get into the session I wanted to see, just so they can camp a seat and have a good view of what’s his face?? I heard Johnny depp walked out on the stage, said about 5 words about Pirates, and walked away… WHY DID HE GO IN THE FIRST PLACE??? The con is about a quality experience between the fans and the creators of the ever expanding nerd culture.. the big wigs can make up their own money grubbing convention, and quit trying to pull the devoted con-goers down to their level.
    You don’t like harsh nerd criticism??
    FIND A DIFFERENT CON!

    ~N

    Comment by Nick J Zakhar — June 15, 2011 @ 12:14 am

  5. Sounds great to me.

    The only reason comic-inspired movies are so popular is because we eat that crap up whether it’s Tobey as Spidey, Jackman as Wolvie, Reynolds as GL, or even Seth Roegen as Green Hornet, (all blasphemous of course) they’ve been exploiting the medium for years now, and have been destroying the con as well. Then a movie like Watchmen comes along, with relatively low advertising at the con before it came out (probably because the giants pay more) that didn’t have some big name actor tied to it, and made for a great reflection of the real deal, while respecting the culture/medium. Movies like watchmen, and lesser known movies that specifically cater to the supernerds will still be advertised at the con, as they should, but movies like.. Fast Five and From Paris with Love will have to wait to advertise to people online/tv/magazines/posters… i mean really why the hell did they come to comic-con in the first place?

    The large displays will be there from animation studios, comic publishers, and various other hardcore nerdtastic areas of the globe, we don’t need the same Harry Potter display i’ve seen the past three years to let us know that the movie is coming out. We don’t need a mile long line of preteen girls waiting to get a glimpse of Robert Pattenson. . . I mean that really ruined hitting any boards last year, lines around the block of people trying to get into the session I wanted to see, just so they can camp a seat and have a good view of what’s his face?? I heard Johnny depp walked out on the stage, said about 5 words about Pirates, and walked away… WHY DID HE GO IN THE FIRST PLACE??? The con is about a quality experience between the fans and the creators of the ever expanding nerd culture.. the big wigs can make up their own money grubbing convention, and quit trying to pull the devoted con-goers down to their level.
    You don’t like harsh nerd criticism??
    FIND A DIFFERENT CON!

    ~N

    Comment by Nick J Zakhar — June 15, 2011 @ 12:14 am

  6. I’m perfectly fine with this.

    Comment by T — June 15, 2011 @ 1:17 am

  7. Yeah. You guys could call the new con crappy-dumbness-not-fun-con. It would be awesome all the Fast and the Furious fans could have a mixer with the Twilight fans, without causing fans to miss a panel on GIJoe, Kubert, or Thor.

    Comment by Christopher S. Pineo — June 15, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

  8. Probably because they stopped caring about the fans of the flicks they are producing. just through enough marketing money into it and it will make some serious cheddar. F-k the studios. 

    Comment by eli — June 16, 2011 @ 6:37 am

  9. Who will provide those giant awesome swag bags that WB has always delivered? (Though I won’t miss the morass of immobile humanity that surrounded the WB booth.)
    I personally go to SDCC for the wide range of pop culture it offers – not just one OR two but AND: comics and books and movies and games and art and toys and TV shows and fan craziness.  I love seeing Dr. Who, Dr. Horrible, Dr. Doom, and Dr. Grordbort in the same place.

    I think the “panels” that are just craven marketing ploys are what piss off the fans the most. A Q&A about a movie – or a concept -  we’re excited about – be it comic related or just nerd-genre – is better than a weird “and now we’re talking in hushed tones about something unrelated that comes out in 8 months” BUY THIS performance.

    The TV show fan panels like Chuck and everything are fun because they
    are talking about past seasons stories and upcoming seasons teasers,
    and also letting the fans send love to the creators.  Sure it’s fun to see the first footage of something, but make that a rotating playlist that repeats (like video rooms at museums) so we can all cycle through and see the footage and then move out, no camping!  No 3 hours predawn and another 4 hours in the sun to NOT get into the one panel you wanted to see in Hall H.

    The best panel I saw in Hall H was Peter Jackson and James Cameron talking about the hows and whys of their then-upcoming District 9 and Avatar.  They were original stories competing with sequels and reboots, and they were both impassioned leaders in their field with a lot of interesting and contrasting things to say about their respective bodies of work. AMAZING.  Keep that, and skip the “shooting guns was fun!” press junket bull for movies we don’t care about (Battle: Los Angeles, anyone?).

    As someone attending with a press pass based on writing about movies, the best panels were with experts and behind the scenes stories and designers and screenwriters and talking about the process, not selling the product.  (see: the little rooms upstairs with the various guilds)  And before you say anything, a press pass doesn’t guarantee anything, any access, any hall, except not paying for your ticket.

    Comment by Anonymous — June 16, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

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