But is the show about to come to an end? As many rumors and reports are coming in that a few of the major studios are considering backing out of the event, fans are wondering what will come of SDCC. Comic Con is more about the fans than it is the press events held within the convention. Studios are supposedly backing out because the return rate of all the advertising at the Con isn’t that great…supposedly.
San Diego Comic Con has become a business venture, a tourist attraction, and a massive money grab for the city as well as the San Diego Convention Center. There have been threats to move it from the convention center, but San Diego has fought to keep it there. Similar to E3 being in Los Angeles, the city itself wants the thousands of people just as bad as the companies advertising their products at the show. If the San Diego convention somehow lost the major studios support, and starting losing the fans, the city might no longer support it the way they do. The experiences would be lost, San Diego would lose thousands of dollars in the process, and things would crumble before our eyes.
This is where San Diego Comic Con needs to step in and offer more opportunities. The experience for the fans is there, people love it. Honestly going to SDCC is an experience you will never forget and it’s a fantastic memory of mine. There are plenty of things to do at San Diego Comic Con, whether its camping out in the main halls to see a glimpse of a movie, or checking out some of the inspiring smaller meetings in the halls, all the way down to simply browsing and shopping on the main show floor. Every year that I miss it, I feel that I’m missing something big, but E3 has been filling this gap the last two years.
What SDCC needs to do now is make it a media grab just as much as it is a fan grab. E3 does this and puts SDCC to shame with it. The fan experience at E3 isn’t as grand. You are sitting in lines 90 percent of the time, hitting walls of crowds everywhere you go, and most of the developer areas are closed off and things get confusing on where you are allowed to go or not.
However everywhere you turn there are people covering some aspect of E3. There are live streams, small blogs doing webcasts, major channels setting up studio locations, tons and tons of developers and important people walking about, making plenty of connections for smaller people trying to break into the industry. Let’s not forget the major companies also host press conferences drawing in thousands of fans and announcing major assets to make the show all the more appealing. I doubt this year’s E3 reached 50k people without the likes of PlayStation Vita, and Nintendo’s new gadgets.
Which leads me to SDCC and why it can offer the same thing. San Diego Convention Center is a bit smaller than LACC (at least from my understanding). However it is better suited for media based events. If they could get media outlets to live broadcast, do specials, and create a buzz then this would mean a ton more exposure for the studios and companies attending. In return these companies wouldn’t have to worry if their marketing blitz are working here, and could possibly draw in more companies to take gambles. Along with that I don’t see why San Diego couldn’t be used for major press conferences for major studios such as WB, Sony, Paramount etc…You could even be as simple as just having WB/DC and Marvel doing major conferences, and that alone would create a massive buzz.
It also wouldn’t hurt to draw in a technology crowd either. Video game companies such as Insomniac Games (The creators of Ratchet and Clank and Resistance) usually attend the show every year they have a game releasing. The video game industry itself is actually centered around the San Diego area, much like movies are centered around Hollywood and LA. Which makes you think why the hell is E3 in LA and CC in SD?
Getting back on topic how many of you would be excited if WB/DC announced a press conference. At this press conference they are having directors from all their hot upcoming movies appear, with actors also coming to talk about things. They will announce new product lines such as toys from Mattel or t-shirts etc. For example this year could of featured Green Lantern, Ryan Reynolds could of appeared, they could of talked about the video game and toy line surrounding it, the commercials, and then gave a trailer sneak peek. Follow that with a surprised announcement, maybe Nolan shows up to talk a little bit about Batman?
Looking at companies this year, there simply isn’t that many major projects geared at this audience that are ready to be shown just yet. Why spend the money to advertise a future project when you already have several projects in the short run? This is how Comic Con currently works. It is a advertising platform for all the studios, and the current formula is starting to wear them down.
Note that Sony will be there in full force this year, as they have all kinds of things to show. Most of you will be excited to see Spider-Man and all the things they will be unveiling and talking about. Even more exciting is the announcement of Jon Favreau debuting Cowboys and Aliens during this year’s Comic Con. A lot of you will whine and complain about what I’m saying next. Summit will also be at this year’s Comic Con and you all know what they will be showing…Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot! Okay I was joking, it’s just Twilight and a few other movies. Like it or not, Twilight is actually a pretty big deal and giving it attention proves Comic Con still has massive interest from studios. It simply comes down to studios having something worthwhile to show and a good reason to market it at the show. People even rumored Marvel wouldn’t be attending the show and that turned out to be completely false. This is Comic Con people!
This is all for future projects that are relatively close to launching within the months of Comic Con, or before they have time to advertise them next year. Which brings us to another decisive factor. Why hold Comic Con during the end of July? A majority of the companies showing up at SDCC are blockbuster heavy studios. Which means a majority of their films will already be out in theaters, some of them will probably already have Blu-ray/DVD releases. So why not hold SDCC earlier? Perhaps May so it isn’t in direct competition with E3, or go ahead and try and feed off E3 in June? Doing so will allow more movies to be advertised and studios to see a direct return almost immediately after the show.
Overall there isn’t a whole lot of options for studios to get their products out in the public. Of course you have your standard film festivals, which will showcase some hot movies to the movie buffs. However those still don’t do an amazing job at advertising to the general public as your average Joe probably doesn’t even know the importance behind Sundance Film Festival. However this average Joe knows what Comic Con is.
Sadly beyond CinemaCon there really isn’t a whole lot to help the industry meet such an event like E3. There isn’t an event where press can meet studio’s and gather information or see new things. Granted it will be handled differently than technology, there is still the opportunity there. CinemaCon currently runs in April, which is just about where SDCC should be in order to reach its full movie audience. New York Comic Con follows in October, which allows the end of the year movies to get some interest too.
Ask yourself what a “real” comic con is. A real comic con is probably scheduled to happen in your local town very soon, or you may have recently had one. These are the “true” comic cons; the starting ground that even SDCC once stood on. A bunch of comic book nerds (It’s okay, I am one too) getting together to talk about comics. Now ask yourself this, how many San Diego Comic Con fans will still be willing to attend the show if it became one of these again? I guarantee you the thousands of people it caters every year would die rather fast. However the current structure that SDCC holds is built upon this audience, and this is why flaws are just now starting to come about for the entire entertainment industry using it as a standing ground.
SDCC needs to make some changes (and fast) if they want to continue to be the nerd juggernaut they’ve tried to so hard to be. I’ve laid out a few ideas on how to do that, but what do you guys think?