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Comic-Con 2017: Movies? What movies?

San Diego Comic-Con this year made a splash with new trailers for “Justice League” and “Thor: Ragnarok”… but more and more, the focus on movies at the most important con of the year seems to last a few hours over the four day convention.

Just about every Saturday of the con, Marvel and Warner Bros. are the two biggest panels in the massive Hall H, where deafening crowds cheer for the stars of the next Marvel and DC films. Other big movies are there too, don’t get me wrong, but more and more it’s all about these two titans in the same way they dominate most of the attention in the comic book industry.

Two years ago, Warner learned a hard lesson when the first teaser for “Suicide Squad” leaked online. The studio cried uncle, releasing the footage officially. Ever since, Warner has released at least one trailer online… however, the footage for “Aquaman” was for Hall H’s eyes only.

Marvel is even less likely to release footage outside the Hall, with only that “Thor” trailer coming out. The footage from “Avengers: Infinity War” leaked, which didn’t move Marvel to post it online.

But that’s the thing, the buzz coming from the hall may be big, and the tweets and online articles have a lot to say, but millions of fans won’t see it until later… at this point in 2017, it’s like a tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it.

But there was another curious phenomenon this year: the Marvel booth at the con was focused like a laser beam on their TV properties, “The Defenders” and “The Inhumans.” New trailers came out for both, and there was nary a peep on the MCU until Saturday. This, however, came a week after a big “Infinity War” push at D23 in Anaheim.

We also saw big promotions (outside the walls of the convention center) for “Stranger Things,” “Westworld,” “The Tick,” “The Walking Dead” and almost every series on FX or FXX. “Star Trek: Discovery” put out more new footage, though the popularity of that show on CBS All Access remains to be seen.

The only big non-comic book movie push was for “Blade Runner 2049” this year (a very smart move by Warner Bros., since the fandom for that movie is deep but not very wide). “Deadpool 2” was a no-show at a Fox panel that focused solely on “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.”

More and more, the feeling among studios seems to be that Comic-Con is no longer essential to pushing their genre franchises. However, if you’re a TV production company or network doing genre and you’re not at Comic-Con, you’re doing something wrong.

Come 2018, look for this trend which has been going the last five years or so to continue. If you hope to see a trailer for “Star Wars: Han Solo” (“Last Jedi” gave the con a pass after D23) or even the “Shazam!” movie, don’t hold your breath.


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