Is this the end of Comic-Con? Or maybe the end of the exclusivity of Hall H?
The Wrap reports that 20th Century Fox will not be showing footage from its upcoming films in Hall H at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. That’s a fairly big deal and a major blow to the buzz around the largest pop culture event in the world.
These are just some of the films Fox could have shown off and talked about if they wanted to: Assassin’s Creed, Deadpool 2, any upcoming X-Men projects, Alien: Covenant, Wolverine 3 and the upcoming Planet of the Apes film. So they certainly could have blown people away. But it’s not happening. They’re staying home and really shaking things up.
Why the sudden change? According to sources, Fox “feels it cannot prevent the piracy of custom trailers and exclusive footage routinely screened for fans in attendance.” As we all know, these exclusive sizzle reels have been finding their ways online rather quickly. Someone secretly records the footage on their smartphone and before the studio knows it, all the world can (kind of) see what they have been keeping under wraps. Fox just isn’t comfortable with that nuisance anymore and now all fans will pay the price.
Could this be signaling the end of Comic-Con’s biggest moments? The exclusive trailers are always the most talked about events of the con, what happens if other studios decide to follow Fox’s lead? Rumor has it that Disney is also contemplating sitting Hall H out. Will others do the same?
The truth is that studios don’t really need Comic-Con like they used to. They have other channels to release footage and get fans hyped. They could all ditch the convention if they wanted. But there is a buzz that comes with Comic-Con that packs a punch, a buzz that’s hard to come by without the prestige and attention of the event. Fox might end up regretting their decision to skip.
Or maybe they won’t. If Fox captures the attention of the blogosphere via another route, you can bet other studios might think about leaving Comic-Con behind too. It’s a pain to see exclusive footage leaked time and time again and there’s a lot of properties to compete with during SDCC. If studios can find another way to make a huge splash online, they will. What does that mean for the future of Comic-Con? Maybe it means there will be a lot less for secret smartphones to film.