Here’s something I’ve wondered for awhile: Why does Hollywood promote its movies at Comic Con? Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they do, and it’s a hellacious amount of fun to show up there and hang out with Sleestaks while poking around inside Watchmen’s Owl ship. It’s great fun for the relative handful of people who are actually able to make it inside the San Diego Convention Center, but what’s in it for Hollywood?
The major studios have been spending big bucks on Comic Con promotion for movies like Megamind and Skyline and the truth is that no one really cares. For every really amazing Tron: Legacy promotion there are twenty movie promotions at Comic Con that no one pays any attention to. We’re here to deliver to all types of movie fans, so we dutifully show up year after year to cover what’s happening with Priest on the convention floor, but I can confirm that neither our coverage, nor anyone else’s coverage of what’s up with Priest ever really gets all that many eyeballs. What I’ve learned in covering Comic Con over the years here on Cinema Blend is that, for the most part, what’s going on there doesn’t matter to anyone except the people who are there. We go year after year, because we love it, and because we know that our most dedicated readers do too, but Hollywood’s trying to influence a mass appeal audience with what they’re doing there, and there’s never been any evidence that this actually happens.
It seems the major studios are finally starting to agree. Earlier tonight Dark Horizon’s Garth pointed me to this NY Times article in which they reveal that more major studios than ever seem to be skipping the 2011 San Diego Comic Con altogether. They say Warner Bros, DreamWorks, Disney, and The Weinstein Company are giving it a pass. Even more surprising, word is that Marvel is considering bowing out too.
Those other studios make a certain kind of sense. Disney, for instance, has never really belonged at Comic Con with its bosomy girls in slutty Wonder Woman outfits. Yes, technically they have at least one day at the convention dedicated to kids, but the reason they have that day is because really the convention itself isn’t geared towards Disney’s Selena Gomez obsessed audience. But Marvel, well Marvel’s the kind of company that made Comic Con what it is. Last year their Avengers panel was the only noteworthy thing of the entire convention.
Yet even for Marvel, saving a buck by avoiding Comic Con makes a certain kind of sense. It’s not like anyone there needs to be convinced to see their upcoming movies. The people who show up at Comic Con are already sold on what Marvel has to offer and, as we’ve already noted, very little of what goes on inside Comic Con really seems to move the needle amongst most of the people stuck outside the convention, theoretically reading internet coverage. Movies like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Sucker Punch were huge winners at Comic Con in previous years, and what did that get them at the box office? Nothing. Instant flops.
Other big Hollywood studios are likely to step up and fill the void, so never fear convention goers, you won’t want for free posters. Universal is set to show up with a big Cowboys & Aliens stunt, Fox will be there in a big way with Rise of the Apes, and Sony is sure to surprise us with some sort of very cool first look at The Amazing Spider-Man. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to what’s in store for our upcoming Comic Con 2011 coverage here on Cinema Blend. Still, you have to wonder whether Hollywood will keep spending big on Comic Con promotion year after year after year, even when all the evidence seems to suggest that when it comes to the big picture, it doesn’t really matter.