If you have ever attended San Diego Comic-Con, or know someone who has within the last ten years or so, you have likely heard plenty of Con stories that begin with “I remember when you could buy tickets at the door”, or “Movie studios ruined Comic-Con”, or, on the other side, “I am so glad I waited 37 hours in line just to be the first to see footage of…”, or, “Can you believe what [insert studio name] showed in Hall H??”. SDCC isn’t just a convention – it’s an event, and every year, the event seems to divide attendees as to what the best and worst parts of the convention really are. For many, standing or sleeping in that ridiculous Hall H line on the convention lawn, down the pier, or even over on Hall H Island (that one’s for those in the know) is all part of the experience, while for others, it is the hell they endure just to see what surprises a studio will bring. Today, a report out of The Wrap claims that fans will now have one less movie studio to worry about or get excited for, as the case may be, as 20th Century Fox may be bowing out of the convention, thanks to pesky pirates.
First, it is important to note that the news is coming from “an individual familiar with the decision”, with backup from “a second individual close to the studio”, and not the studio itself. Still, the information seems plausible enough. According to those sources, 20th Century Fox will forego showcasing any new footage from their upcoming slate of films, which include Wolverine 3, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, and Assassin’s Creed, among others. The sources do not claim that the movie studio will be bowing out completely, however, just that no new footage would be shown. Instead of focusing on their own upcoming slate of films, the studio may focus on smaller outings, such as their collaboration with DreamWorks on the upcoming Trolls. All things considered, though, is this news all that horrible? Really, it depends on why you attend SDCC in the first place. Let’s talk a few pros and cons, all assuming that Fox will attend but without new footage to present.
Pro: (Maybe) A Shorter Hall H Line
Last year, as people waited in the massive Hall H line on Saturday, July 11 (Hall H’s busiest day), if you were to ask any attendee in the line which panel they were most excited to see, it was the Fox panel, which was sure to include footage from Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse (and yes, Fox delivered on both). While Sony continues to fumble their treatment of their Marvel characters (thank god Marvel has creative control on Spider-Man: Homecoming, amirite?), Fox has managed to almost consistently treat their X-Men stable with the highest respect (let’s not discuss Fantastic Four, since Marvel’s First Family is finally home where they belong). Deadpool happens to belong to that particular stable, so while there were, of course, plenty of fans who were there to see what Warner Bros. planned on doing for BvS, a good 80% of the audience that was on hand as the Fox panel started around 6pm had been in line overnight and had been sitting in those same seats since the Hall H doors finally opened and let them in. Taking all of this into consideration, it is very possible that without the promise of new footage, that line to get into the coveted hall may be much shorter. Recently, SDCC implemented a new bracelet system for getting into the Hall. The promise was simple: get in line after a certain time, get a wristband. At that point, you simply waited and knew you were guaranteed a seat. This also provided families with little ones the chance to get wristbanded, then have mom or dad wait in line while someone took the kids back home/hotel to sleep, then simply meet up in the morning. The reality, unfortunately, has been much, much different, with SDCC not even beginning to issue Hall wristbands until well past 1am. Perhaps, and just perhaps, without the hype of Wolverine 3, for instance, that line may be a bit shorter, which may lead to a much more pleasant experience for those diehard fans that still want to wait, footage or not.
Con: That Footage Is Usually Pretty Sweet
If you were to ask anyone in that Hall H audience last year as the Deadpool footage finally hit their eyes, “was it worth the wait?”, every single one of them would have looked you right eye and responded, “you’re goddamn right, it was”. Ditto for the footage that debuted for X-Men:Apocalypse. For those that weren’t there, here is that sweet Deadpool footage and, really, the exact reason Fox may be pulling out.
You’ll notice that even throughout the campaign, that particular trailer was not used. Sure, there were plenty of familiar scenes but, really, it was made for the SDCC crowd. You’ll also notice that somehow, through all of the security and spy glasses that the security uses, somehow, the footage was recorded by someone in the audience. Someone who likely had a very annoyed attendee sitting right next to or behind them. Yes, the footage is worth the wait because it is made exclusively for the fans in the audience and those who chose to ruin for the rest of the attendees by bootlegging, well, you guys kind of suck.
Pro: Without Footage, A More Robust Panel May Be Planned
Last year’s Fox panel was amazing, and both Deadpool and X-Men delivered. Not only did they deliver when it came to the footage, not at all! No, the Fox panel sans footage was still pretty amazing. Check it out for yourself.
Now, of course, last year was a banner year for the studio when it came to their panel but, really, they have consistently delivered. Whether it was the surprise appearance of Hugh Jackman with the first trailer for X-Men Origins: Wolverine (you guys, it really was an exciting moment), or listening to Mila Kunis speak Russian during the Max Payne panel, getting to hear the excitement in James Cameron’s voice as he discussed Avatar for the first time, the moment you see at the top of this topic, bringing together all of the Fox Marvel characters, alongside Stan “The Man” Lee, or any of the other wonderful panel moments that have occurred throughout the years, the panels themselves, not just the footage, can be absolutely amazing. By removing the footage but still presenting a panel on the films, Fox has the opportunity to woo the crowd without even showing them the goods.
Con: More Panel Time Means It Could Get Boring
No matter how excited someone is for a panel, waiting overnight and sleeping on cement under a bright light while waiting in line for a panel that doesn’t even start for another 18 hours is enough to make anyone tired. Especially, when you consider the Fox panel is generally held on a Saturday, which is already Day 3 (4, if you had Preview Night) of the convention. If you have attended the convention, you understand just how exhausted you are by Day 3, if you are doing it right. So, waiting in line, then sitting in a chair all day long can make for a bit of nodding off, at best, a bit of crankiness, at worst. Anytime new footage hits the Hall H screens, good movie or bad, the crowd roars and you can feel the excitement of every single one of the 7,000 attendees that CCI manages to stuff into the hall, these days. Those little bursts of adrenaline and shared excitement get many attendees through the day. Without footage, a panel really has to bring the goods to keep the audience’s attention. Not to mention, no footage may also mean a longer audience Q&A and no one wants that.
Pro: Less Hall H Time Means More Floor Time
One of the worst things about SDCC is the fact that attendees that want to see that new footage in Hall H have to give up an entire day on the Exhibit Hall floor. The floor is an absolutely amazing place where there are at least 500 different things all going on at once, whether it’s celebrity signings, contests, video game demos, scavenger hunts, breakdancing…You name it and if it’s mostly family and con appropriate, you will see it on the floor. Oh, and let’s not get started on the freebies…Having to get in line by Friday at 5pm for a panel that starts at 6pm the following evening means that an entire day is missed basking in this gloriousness and, for what? To see that glorious footage that Comic Con International’s Director of Programming, Eddie Ibrahim, constantly reminds attendees is specifically for them, while he insists that no one record the footage. Without looking forward to the Fox footage, it could give fans a chance to roam the floor a bit and get into trouble. Sure, it’s crowded but guess what? This is your family. These people are your brothers and sisters and, yeah, sure, after a few days of conning, not all of them smell great but you know what? You may have some of the best conversations of your life while waiting in a line going absolutely nowhere. That is what you are missing when you miss out on the floor.
Con: Less Hall H Time Means More Floor Time
Alright, yes, this one is a double edged sword. The convention floor is absolutely amazing but anyone who has maneuvered through a Saturday SDCC crowd would agree that while blissfully wonderful, the floor comes with its own hazards. Your brothers and sisters that will be joining you on your journey through the convention are family, therefore you must forgive the lack of manners, thoughtfulness, or basic social skills that may come along with them. You will have to make sure you pack plenty of vitamin C, hand sanitizer, and maybe even some penicillin as you make your way through the most germ ridden battlefield this side of a kindergarten class. You may want to wear shin and ankle pads, as those same brothers and sisters kick and claw their way to get that free keychain that the Marvel booth happens to be tossing out. Without one of the biggest movie studios and crowd-drawers showing footage from their upcoming slate, it is easy to see how quickly those same, say, 5,000 people who would have been waiting for the footage can make their way onto an already crowded floor. Yes, it is magnificent. No, it is not for the feint of heart.
As of now, all of this is just rumor and hearsay, though it does make complete sense. Why should Fox scramble to put something together just for the SDCC crowd when there are those in the SDCC crowd that don’t have enough respect for the experience to simply enjoy the presentation, rather that do everything they can to make sure to get their post up on YouTube first. On the other side of that, why should the many suffer for the few?
Fox will no doubt release a statement as SDCC approaches but for now, this may be interesting to watch, as it may begin a trend, which could lead to the SDCC that purists remember.
Which side of the argument are you on? Will you still hit the panel if there is no new footage?
Source: The Wrap