How Movie Studios Can Make The Most Out Of San Diego Comic Con

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse the Spider People looking in on an event through a window

San Diego Comic Con has evolved quite a bit in the 49 years it has existed. Turning from a solely comic book driven affair into a multimedia festival that is a lynchpin of pop culture, it turned the words “Hall H” into a trigger for many who have memories of learning the hottest news before everyone else.

As of late, the story has changed, with major players pulling out of the game altogether. Disney’s content from Marvel Studios, Star Wars and even its own branded material are now reserved for their own D23 festival; and now Warner Bros has announced that it's skipping everything except for an exhibition on IT: Chapter 2 at an event for the horror-centric ScareDiego.

Some might say it’s a signal for major studios to pull up stakes altogether and to just leave San Diego Comic Con. But rather than suggest that hasty action, we’d like to recommend that studios should not only still show up to the event, but also that they change that their marketing departments thinking of how they attend. With that in mind, let’s go over just how movie studios can step up that Comic Con game, and make the most out of the San Diego Comic Con experience!

IT: Chapter 2 Pennywise luring a kid into the darkness at the fair

Studios Need To Define The Type Of Movie They Should Display At ComicCon

At its peak, the studio experience at San Diego Comic Con saw pretty much any sort of movie making its way into the showcase of pop culture, in order to sell its prospects of entertaining the audience. But other than strictly comic book fare, presenting a film at Comic Con is a hit or miss perspective. Rather than taking a grab bag approach, studios should be focusing on not only the largest titles to go to the market, but also those that would most appeal to San Diego Comic Con audiences.

IT: Chapter 2 and the entirety of the ScareDiego experience is a good example of such programming. That decision not only allows Warner Bros to tap into a genre market that’s primed for Comic Con, but it also lets the studio keep its spot in a year where the more comic book friendly division is so light on material that a full Hall H panel would be wasteful. Speaking of which, the entire concept of Hall H needs to be reconsidered.

The Nun Valak stalks a young nun in a dark hallway

Hall H Shouldn’t Be The End All Experience For Movies At Comic Con

Conventional wisdom tells us that if you’re anyone who’s anyone, you’re going to have a panel in Hall H at San Diego Comic Con. As the major room at the event, it’s certainly where the hottest tickets have camped out for fans in the need to be in the know. At least, it definitely feels that way, considering the lines fans will historically wait in to get into some of the panels in that very spot.

But with ScareDiego and its handling of not only IT: Chapter 2, but also IT and The Nun in the past, Warner Bros. is taking an alternate route that not only gives exposure to a targeted property on display, but also allows for fans to skip the worry over lining up in outdoor conditions for extended periods of time. Seeing as there will still be some fans disappointed with not getting into these sorts of events, no matter where they’re held, another new feature should be looked into for Comic Con at large.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Lando giddy at the Falcon's controls

Live Streaming Needs To Be Introduced To The Comic Con Experience

We’ve seen with both E3 and Star Wars Celebration in the past that live streaming your events is not only a wise idea, but it’s also a great way to boost attention for a festival like San Diego Comic Con. Fans in the room get to have a moment on camera, should they choose to, and everyone at home gets to live the experience for themselves to a certain degree. While nothing replaces the atmosphere of going to San Diego Comic Con, fans can’t always make it out to festivals like these.

Giving people an opportunity to enjoy those same moments as those in attendance only drives a harder public impression. As we’ve seen with similar conventions, sharing these sorts of feeds with online audiences doesn’t hurt the attendance numbers for these events. Which leads to another prime opportunity to engage the online audience.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker C3P0, Finn, and Poe speeding away in the desert

Footage From Comic Con Needs To Go Online Sooner

This year, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker not only had its trailer debut live streamed straight from Star Wars Celebration, but it was almost immediately uploaded to YouTube shortly after it had run in the convention’s hall in Chicago. With fans at home, as well as at an event like San Diego Comic Con, wanting to relive the footage they’ve just seen, having that material online almost immediately after it has debuted would be a really good way to keep fans engaged.

Not to mention, the journalists covering San Diego Comic Con, both at home and live on site, will have the resources to cover said debuts better. So fans and journalists will be able to drive fellow readers and friends to the experiences that debut at Comic Con that much quicker. Also, having a peek at the sort of stuff that debuts early in conventions such as these could also drive up ticket sales, for those who love to see footage in a room packed with other diehards.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Peter, Miles, and Gwen costumed on the New York streets

Leave Something To Bring To New York Comic Con

San Diego Comic Con is the big room when it comes to Comic Con, no question. And yet, there’s still a pretty big presence when it comes to New York Comic Con, and it continues to grow. So while the San Diego show may feel like the larger draw, studios might be better suited by splitting the material they have in a given year better between the East and West Coast.

With keener attention to what falls between the windows of San Diego and New York’s respective conventions, studios can not only maintain an important slot in the San Diego show, but can also open themselves to taking more advantage of the New York Comic Con setup as well.

There are a lot of different options as to what a major studio can do to keep material flowing at San Diego Comic Con, and beyond. Should Disney, Warner Bros or any of their contemporaries decide to make the most out of what they’re doing for an exhibition that’s still vital and popular with fans at large, then not only will badges still be sold, but audiences will still be tuned into whatever the Comic Con brand has to offer.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.