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When you’re there in San Diego, in the nerdsweaty thick of it, it’s impossible to tell what really worked at Comic Con. What plays big to the geeks dressed in brown coats and gold bikinis may not matter at all to the outside world. And while Hollywood is, I’m sure, delighted to tickle the fancy of the couple hundred thousand or so people walking through the doors of the San Diego Convention Center, the truth is that what they’re really hoping for out of Comic Con is a buzz that spreads onto the internet and excites the interest of the millions who will never sit in one of Hall H’s 6500 seats. Unfortunately I’m not so sure that, for most movies anyway, that ever happens.
For the last two years I’ve found myself in a unique position. Cinema Blend’s managing editor Katey Rich and I decided back in 2009 that the best way to really cover Comic Con was to have at least one person who didn’t go, but stayed glued to their computer watching updates and running the reports sent in from our team there on the ground. For the last two years I’ve been that person, which means while I’m locked in and completely connected to everything happening inside the convention center, since I’m at home sitting in front of my computer I’m also well aware of what the general, internet reaction is to whatever it is that drifts out those doors. You know what people outside Comic Con got most excited about this year? The stabbing.
Though everyone who was there had nothing but great things to say about things like the Megamind panel, from where I was sitting outside at my computer, it seemed like around the web pretty much nobody who wasn’t there cared. In fact it may have even been worse than indifference. According to data picked up by THR Comic Con may have actually made people less interested.
The chart I’m about to post is based on data gathered by Flixster, a company that gathers information on what movies internet users are most interested in. It illustrates the change in their level of interest for each of these films after this year’s Comic Con, and the results are fairly dramatic.
Only two movies recorded increased levels of interest. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was the only one of those films actually screened for the press and general audiences at the convention, and everyone who saw it came out singing it’s praises. But that’s something it could have achieved just with general screenings around the country. Sucker Punch is the only movie on that list that almost no one knew anything about before the convention. After the convention the internet was flooded with trailers and posters and images from the movie, all of which looked fantastic. But before Con no one knew anything, and so the film really had nowhere to go but up.
Anecdotally I’ve observed a similar response here, sitting at my computer for the past two years, watching reports roll in. In 2009 the big movie that everyone outside the convention got interested in was Tron: Legacy and much like Sucker Punch it was a film that no one really knew much about before the convention. This year though, now that everyone has seen two trailers and pretty much knows what Legacy’s about, interest in the film was less than nil.
To me it has always seemed as though the only Comic Con promoted movies anyone was interested in were films which were, before the convention, mostly enigmas. Though the chart above disputes it, the vibe I got while cruising blogs and social network sites this past week was that people were interested in anything which they hadn’t seen much of before. Marvel’s offerings, some vague interest in Green Lantern, and of course Sucker Punch. Everything else? No one cares.
The above data is of course, hardly a complete picture and my observations are merely my own, but you have to wonder if Comic Con is really worth all the hassle and expense Hollywood goes through to be there and that movie bloggers go through to cover what they have to offer. Does anyone outside the convention center really care? I wonder.