According to the New York Times, there are several major studios not attending the biggest comic book convention of the year. Warner Bros., Walt Disney Studios, Dreamworks Animation, and The Weinstein Company have all decided to sit out this year. Even more strange, it appears Marvel Entertainment is still on the fence as to whether or not the company will have a major studio push at the convention.

Could it be that H’wood has pushed the convention too far? In years past, the San Diego Comic Con was a huge way to push films and properties, and then get the comic book and pop culture fans to spread the word to others to get them to go to the big picture show, too. If it wasn’t for CCI: San Diego, the original Star Wars may not have ever made it, and certainly films like 300 would never have become so popular if it wasn’t for convention promotion. The last couple of years, convention goers and online sites have complained about the Hollywoodification of the convention (Yes, a new word I just made up), and we may have seen the effects of last year’s movie push finally getting the best of the studio system, as fickle fans turned against the movies being promoted heavily. TRON: Legacy, Sucker Punch and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World had con goers turning lukewarm about the films before they hit the theater, and subsequently, the films didn’t perform as well as the studios had hoped.

Still, it looks like Sony will be there pushing the new Spider-Man film, Paramount will be there with Tintin, and Universal is still planning on something having to do with Cowboys and Aliens. While Hall H will most certainly be filled with fans, the show floor might be a bit less congested this year, as the 130,000 attendees aren’t crowded around one or two booths pushing their latest film. On the plus side, smaller studios now have a chance to push their films to fans and not be cast aside due to the thrill of the major studios showing off the big stars and giving away bits of ephemera.

Does this announcement signal a major change in how H’wood perceives comic book and pop culture films, or has the L.A. Times Hero Complex Film Festival replaced Hall H as a way to push their wares without having to travel a hundred plus miles?

via New York Times


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. I have seen from the sidelines how this Comic Con has turned into a Media Con. I hate to hurt peoples feelings but no one goes to SDCC for comics. Well they say that, “they” say lots of things, but when you have a line for Adam West blocking your table, how’s your Con going experiance then?

    Maybe this lack of studio presence will normailze SDCC. Who knows. I just know that someone would have to pay 100% of the expenses to get out there, and get back. All that chaos, and calamity out of my own pocket? Um…nope.

    • Sadly though, the media guests are the only way to get my wife to go to cons with me. She only came to one and that was to meet Jason Mewes.

  2. I have to cop to being someone who doesn’t go to a con for comics. I go for spectacle.

    My excuse for attending Wizard World was so that my son would be able to see the cosplayers and merchandise, but (if I’m being honest), I was just as excited. In that kind of atmosphere with my wife and children with me, I am not going to go thumb through bins of comics or haggle with an artist over a commission.

    Not sure why that’s a bad thing.

    Also not sure if the box office disappointments of Tron, Sucker Punch and Scott Pilgrim had to do with SDCC. I mean, if a movie doesn’t connect, it won’t connect. Blaming it on the forum seems silly. It’s like blaming Major Spoilers if people don’t like this comment.

    Instead, I don’t know why the studios aren’t looking at the marketing or *gasp* the actual film to see why it didn’t meet their expectations.

    • Instead, I don’t know why the studios aren’t looking at the marketing or *gasp* the actual film to see why it didn’t meet their expectations.

      Because movie execs refuse to admit when they’ve screwed up and made a bad product. Clearly, it has to be the audience or the economy or the marketing or (in this case) those big geeky meanies on The Internets.

  3. I gave up comicons when they started having less & less to do with comics; heck, for the past couple of years, WW Philly has been more of a wrestling exhibition with a Star Wars autograph table than a comicon. This year it’s ALL about TV & movies, with neither big publisher having any kind of “status quo of the company” panel (although with DC, I think it’s because they couldn’t find good enough bullet-proof vests for Dan Didio & His Amazing Friends). I come to enjoy the company of other comics fans, peruse back issues, & meet with pros for thanks/autographs/whatever, not to hear someone talk about a show cancelled a decade ago that I never liked. If I wanted to be part of a focus group, I’d join one, not pay for the privilege.

    Removing the mass media influence from THE marquis con will help force convention organizers to focus on what was their intended purpose – celebrating geekdom, not hawking big-budget movies or DVD sets. If Hollywood thinks that the smarter, more tech savvy people who can see through their use of the medium we love as a way to mine intellectual property as lazily as possible pose a threat, then so be it; there’s plenty of dumb people who’ll still tow the line, and we’ll have our cons back.

    • Try going to a smaller con like Mid Ohio Con (although since Wizard bought it, it could get bigger), it’s usually rather smaller with only a couple small-time media guests and more of the Ohio based comic creators too, like Tony Isabella, Mark Sumerak, Ethan Van Sciver and others. I usually go for the comics, I don’t buy autographs from the media guests, but I will go say hello and tell them how much I enjoy their work, much like I did for Doug Jones and Mewes (who was great and gave away pictures and signed a bunch of stuff for free). It’s my chance to go and buy really cheap TPB’s and graphic novels and to pick up piles of oddball comics and to fill in gaps in my collections. Plus last year Tony Isabella was selling trades for $2 for paperback and $5 for hardcover. I got over a thousand dollars worth of trades for a little over a hundred bucks. Plus I bought his book 1000 Comics You Must Read or whatever, I didn’t particularly care for it, but whatever.

  4. I’m one of those that went mostly for the comics, access to smaller publishers and toys but also for the specatcle. I won’t be dissapointed if the big movie studios pull out and it drops back to a more comic-centric type of Con.

    I really enjoyed the panels about comics and some TV shows but avoided the big movie panels. There was to much else to see and do. Maybe if the big studios aren’t going to be there, I can get a ticket next year.

  5. Interesting article, and you probably make a valid point, but I don’t thing the poor performance of TRON: Legacy, Sucker Punch and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World had anything to do with San Diego Comicon. I think it had more to do with the fact that the movies sucked.

    • I didn’t watch Tron, but that’s partly because I’ve never seen the original. I really liked Scott Pilgrim, but again, missed it in theater. I did see Sucker Punch and while I wasn’t overwhelmed, I was entertained. Maybe I was just whelmed with that one, not under, nor over.

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