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June 13, 2011

Some Studios Getting Cold Feet at Comic-Con?

— Posted by Darren

It’s the kind of movie news movie fans don’t want to hear: studio bailout on SD Comic-Con. But it’s happening, and, as some weigh in as to why, it is with good reason.

A write-up in The New York Times has some insight:

Warner’s main studio operation is bringing nothing. Ditto Disney and DreamWorks. The Weinstein Company, a perennial presence, will also sit this one out. Even Marvel Entertainment, whose panel for “The Avengers” was a highlight of Comic-Con 2010, is on the fence about whether it will mount a major presentation.

Comic-Con, as a growing number of movie marketers are realizing, has turned into a treacherous place. Studios come seeking buzz, but the Comic-Con effect can be more negative than positive.

The reason is that there was a LOT of buzz around many films at SDCC that studios liked; but when those films got released, box office for those films was mostly average to poor. “Tron: Legacy” “Sucker Punch” and “Scott Pilgrim” are some of the examples given. But it should be said that while some presentations were inventive (such as ‘Buried’) and good…look, I LOVED Tron Legacy. Others didn’t. I know a lot of people who LOVED Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. I didn’t. Point is, some of the films that get a great word of mouth at SDCC are from presentations and panels only. If a mainstream audience doesn’t quite grasp “Scott Pilgrim” or “Sucker Punch”, (ie the general folks who don’t make it to SDCC for varied reasons, “average citizens”, if you will) then it is reasonable (and heartbreaking to some) that these films don’t do as well.

The article mentions Marvel is 50/50 on bringing Avengers news; but that does not rule out studios who have Marvel properties, specifically Sony (with the upcoming Spider-Man and Ghost Rider films) will sit out. And with some studios sitting out, others can fill in the spots. But Warners passing, it IS a bit of a blow (please reconsider) due to Dark Knight Rises and Man Of Steel – but perhaps there isn’t mnuch to make a presentation on just yet.

The main concern is putting in a lot of money and effort into marketing and getting to believe the excitement means people want to it…and then don’t show up.

What do you think int’friends? What seems to be the problem?

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  • 420BAND

    a couple of life size cardboard cut-outs can go a long way….

    maybee thats the thinking this year

  • Sidney

    I suspect the comic-movie trend is fading and that studios are starting to get the hint. This summer is going to be the breaking point. There are just too many comic-movies coming out.

    The Dark Knight Rises and the new Spiderman are still going to be huge. The Avengers might succeed on the strength of its cast, but otherwise, I think there are going to be a string of disappointments from the comic-movies and by next year most comic-movies are going to be moved to development hell.

    One positive note: I have a feeling there’s renewed interest in the Fantasy genre and that when the comic-movie trend passes we’re going to see a bunch of great fantasy novels transformed into awesome films.

    • http://www.themovieblog.com Rodney

      The comic book movie genre is hardly fading. Both DC and Marvel have opened their own studios dedicated to the production of these films. I highly doubt that its “fading”. If anything they want to do MORE and don’t have the resources to do them all at once.

      This is not a trend. It is a genre. Would you say that the Horror genre is fading?

      Of course not.

  • Geno

    I thought Comic Con was about comics? Huh………..weird?

  • http://dannyscorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com Danny

    I think its just a matter of the studios depending too heavily on Comic Con to build hype as Anthony says. Chances are those studios could get away with spending much less than they do now on Comic Con and still get a respectable amount of buzz. One should never put all of their eggs in one basket.

    If anything you could argue that Comic Con is so large that its hard to get noticed there anymore. With so many studios and so many stars and known names its going to be difficult to draw people to your product. Because really even after some of them drop out there will still a lot of heavy hitters there. Perhaps the studios would stand to gain if they started to hit up smaller cons.

  • fritzilla

    I remember being hyped up on Whiteout after seeing Kate Beckinsdale on a panel at Comic Con. When I finally saw the movie I felt it was a let down for many reasons. But just because there is a tie in to a comic does not mean the movie is good. It just did not seem like a comic property, but rather a boring drama/thriller.

  • kingl8619

    Pretty true. I am psyched to hear and see movie studios punching publicity with their comic book movies, however I was left scratching my head the one year they were doing press for the movie Good Luck Chuck

  • 420BAND

    South Florida wants (the big one) one too! (Miami)

    • Geno

      Amen Brother!

  • http://www.goosenips.com Anthony

    Well, Spider-Man will be there. As far as the lack of participation from other studios? Well, it’s expensive to participate and to try to schedule film stars to also attend (which adds to expense), so it may not always pay off.

    The Comic Con crowd is typically there for comics and Anime. While the films may cater to the same audience, it’s not what they came for. I think studio’s were just putting too much dependence on the convention to drum up positive buzz for unknown properties and need to find their own venue for movies that appeal to that target audience… Or they can send them to the east coast NYCC so I can attend for once!!

  • http://vintagedisneyalice.blogspot.com Mattman

    The problem in all cases is not that advertising dollars are wasted by sending panels etc to SDCC, the problem is that either the film is not CORRECTLY marketed, or that the film is just not what the public wants. You can hype a crappy movie all you want, it still won’t change the fact that it is crappy. Likewise if a movie is great, chances are minimal marketing is MORE than enough to make it a success, and sometimes not even that.

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