This article was originally published on Viking Social Agency on June 16, 2019
San Diego Comic Con 2019 is right around the corner. Every July thousands of people flock to San Diego to partake in the convention. For a fan, it’s a four day long vacation that overwhelms the senses with all sorts of media and merchandise. For studios, it’s a place to showcase the newest piece of media that is due to be released. Studios bring exclusive footage and showcase actors. For example, Marvel has used the show to announce entire multi-year plans for their franchise.
The major event is Saturday at Hall H. Hall H is the largest room where the biggest presentations happen. Fans wait in line all day Friday just for a chance to get in to see what major studios like Warner Bros. 20th Century Fox and Marvel would show. Sometimes studios would skip a year but the one constant for many years was Warner Bros. Historically they would have a two hour slot first thing in the morning and show off all their major blockbusters. In the past that included The Hobbit and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
However, this year, Warner Bros. is skipping Hall H entirely. This does not mean they won’t have a presence at the convention though. A booth will still be on the exhibit hall floor where they will, no doubt, host signings for their television and movie franchises. They will also be present at “ScareDiego”, the offsite horror centric area where they will showcase It: Chapter Two. While they may still be partaking in the convention, not having a presentation in Hall H has perplexed many.
Warners has no shortage of properties to showcase that would feel at home with the Comic Con crowd. Joker, Wonder Woman ‘84, Dune and Birds of Prey are all in various stages of development and would be welcomed at the convention. With three comic book adaptations coming from DC Comics and Warner Bros, it’s strange that they won’t be shown at a convention known for comic books. Why wouldn’t Warner Bros. want to go all out with their new films?
In the past, studios looked to use SDCC as a marketing tool. Everything from Cowboys & Aliens to Let’s Be Cops has had a major push there. The hope was that if the thousands of people at the convention were excitedly talking about the film then that would lead to larger ticket sales. Over the years, that has proven not to be the case. Most famously, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was a major financial failure for Universal Studios. Cowboys & Aliens had its red carpet premiere at the convention, but turned out to not be the hit Warner Bros. was hoping for from the director of Iron Man.
While Warner Bros. isn’t the first studio to pull out of the convention, it is the biggest. When Marvel decided not to go a few years back, it was because they were going to have a huge showing at D23, a convention exclusively dedicated to Disney properties. While comics will always have a showing at SDCC, studios could move for less representation of their film properties. Perhaps something more catered to the crowd.
San Diego Comic Con is a massive convention with all kinds of events and merchandise for fans to partake in. Every major studio has a showing there of some kind and while the bubble hasn’t burst quite yet on the popularity but there could be a day when major studios don’t see it as a financially viable marketing tool and the size of the convention could decrease exponentially. Reverting back to a size more reminiscent of the early days.