Welcome back to Digital Debate Wednesdays! Every Wednesday, the staff of The Ace of Geeks will get our keyboards ready for a good, old fashioned nerd argument, and you get to hang out with us! Feel free to email us any ideas you might have for future debates, or let us know in the comments! Until then, here’s this weeks topic:
Last week, 20th Century Fox decided to pull out of this year’s San Diego Comic Con Hall H presentations. The reason? Last year’s leaks of footage from films like Deadpool and Suicide Squad. The studios are beginning to feel they shouldn’t work on making footage for Comic-con audiences if those audiences are going to turn around and put it on the internet.
What do you think? Is leaked footage a reason to avoid promoting at Comic-con’s largest stage?
Ben Worley: It is the mark of any bad company to not be able to roll with their nature of their fanbase. To argue and rail against it is to try and control something fluid in being.
Deadpool leveraged the popularity of Leaked Footage to get a greenlight for a record-breaking movie.
Marvel continues to “leak” photos from their sets to high popularity (YEAH, MARVEL, WE KNOW THEY AREN’T REAL LEAKS, WE JUST DON’T F*CKING CARE).
Roll with it.
Mark Foo: I don’t understand this at all. Isn’t the point to get hype and buzz going?
- Katrina Smith: This is my thought, too.
- Mae Linh Fatum: Right?
Rose Marie Fox: Oh I’ve got a few things to say on this one. Mainly, Fox chose to bring those clips knowing the risk. They could have done what Disney did with their star wars panel – bring things that would not be upload able and could really be best enjoyed as an experience. They brought one of the large walking Muppets, they had the cast – no leaks.
Mike Fatum: I feel like it’s important to point out what a double edged sword this can be, just based entirely on last year. Deadpool had some great footage, and built hype up into a monster hit. Meanwhile, Suicide Squad hadn’t found the tone they wanted for their trailers, and presented a morose thing that is nothing like the zippy, fun trailers they later decided to market the film with. The choice of tone may have hurt their initial buzz.
Of course, you could argue that’s on the filmmakers, not on the leakers, but that is probably why these studios are afraid.
- Katrina Smith: Well, even without actual footage leak, wouldn’t the conversation about suicide squad still have revolved around it being morose?I guess my attitude is– don’t bring anything you’re not confident in.
Brian J. Patterson: Comic con has lost its meaning for me and Hollywood has assisted in the departure of said meaning; I say let them leave.
- Mark Foo: I agree with this. Comic Con and Hollywood Con should be separate things or a different ticket.
- Mike Fatum: That feels so exclusionary to me.
- Brian J Patterson: Then they need to start understanding where Hollywood ends and Comic Con begins. It’s a fine line when you overstay your welcome and they’ve clearly done so.
- Mike Fatum: How so? I mean, Hall H is full every year with huge lines. There’s clearly demand for them to be there. Nobody’s forcing anyone away from the comic parts of the con, but those panels don’t generate the same excitement.
- Brian J Patterson: Well said. Unfortunately the ‘exclusive parties’ inundation with non-comic or Sci fi related materials and general over saturation has created those lines and paparazzi/immobilizing and animalistic feel/behavior which Hollywood is known for. Basically it took a humble near spiritual event and made fans into paparazzi. Fans used to be able to just chat with creators, talent, and executives that they supported with ease. Now it’s almost becoming a constant red carpet. So no wonder they have pirating issues…it was their own making!
- Mike Fatum: I see what you’re saying – but I’ve had more conversations with talent and creators at SDCC, just randomly running into them and finding them willing to chat, than I have anywhere else in the world.I know it’s grown huge, and the size is kind of daunting. But as a celebration of who we are and what we love it can’t be beat. There are a lot of really exceptional smaller conventions where you have the kind of experience SDCC used to be. Which is not to say, “If you don’t like it, get out,” because obviously you have some good points. I just don’t think it’s necessary to burn the whole thing to the ground because it used to be different.
- Brian J Patterson: Well I don’t like it. So I am getting out. See you in a few years when more of the other big guns leave as well. There are already talks at other studios because of expenses. So I’ll wait it out at another convention.
- Sorry. I’m usually pretty calm, but this one hit a hot button with me because comic con was the one place I went to that was like Paradise Island and now it’s like LexCorp.
- Mike Fatum: Yeah, I just don’t see it. Maybe it’s because I was never there during the “Glory Days,” but it’s still just a big group of nerds celebrating each other. I’ve gotten way worse vibes off of other cons that are more like autograph factories. SDCC seems to care.
- Mark Foo: I’m in it for the comic part of comic con. It’s so big now that if you want to see the creators or watch the comic panels, you just don’t get in because there aren’t tickets. So, I figure they should branch out into the Hollywood Con, for the people who don’t care about comics and the Comic Con, for the people who don’t care about Hall H, and offer a combo ticket for people who want both.
Rose Marie Fox: I’d like to see what their last quarter expected vs actual earnings look like… I’d bet that’s a larger motivating factor. That and the publicity they’re gaining right now for “pulling out” imagine all the press they’ll gain when it’s revealed they’ve set up an off-site or whatever else they may be doing. There’s more to this. They will do whatever has the best PROVEN returns. Leaked video clips don’t make them money. That’s all I’m hearing.
Brian Rosado: They need to get with the next century and be prepared to publish their trailers before a bootleg copy ends up online. Just like Lucasfilm did with the Force Awakens trailers.
Mary Anne Butler: I was in Hall H last year for Fox’s presentation. The audience reaction was fabulous, and the Deadpool trailer….well, we all know how that went (chanting “AGAIN” from the crowd with a second showing of the trailer). Almost none of what they showed got leaked though, and what did was taken down pretty immediately. This is less about them “being afraid things will be posted” and more about the fact that they won’t have anything big to promote. X-Men will have already opened, and they theoretically won’t have anything to show for the other features. No one ever accused Fox as a whole of knowing what to do to please audiences. Their first across the board crowdpleaser has been Deadpool, and maybe they KNOW whatever they would show this year wouldn’t hold a blowtorch to last year.
Alain Bloch: Sounds like a red herring so that they can pull out of Comic Con without liability but then be able to come back later.
- Mary Anne Butler: They’re not “pulling out of Comic Con”. They are not presenting in Hall H. There is a HUGE difference.
- Alain Bloch: I stand corrected.
Malkontent Blizzard: It was more than that. In their statement they said that SDCC making Hall H available to people who didn’t make it in to the con violates their right to exclusivity.
- Mary Anne Butler: Their comments about this the entire time has been specifically about them “losing money from piracy”, and not about the streaming from Hall H, which will be charging viewers a premium for the ability.
Sam Stafford: I don’t believe for a second that the leaks were a surprise to them, unless they’re more clueless than I give them credit for.
I think a better reason to not show up for a con is that in the age of the internet, spending lots of money to market to a small group of fans in person is not a good investment. Lots of game companies at various times have opted to ignore E3 for exactly that reason.
Chris Brecheen: It’s always a bit of a surprise to me when a company (or a single artist) makes a choice based on how they are essentially ripped off and the people who are ripping them off get all entitled about their right to go on doing so.
If marketing is going to be a nightmare in X venue, ad budgets will go somewhere else. Hollywood is not a charity for geek consumption.
Melissa Devlin: I thought the whole reason Deadpool got made was because of the leaked footage? It was a test to see if interest was there. Many speculate Marvel got to use Spidey for Civil War because of the Sony leaks, and how much the fans responded. Unless you are showing up unprepared, I thought leaks were now basically a part of marketing strategies now? I mean maybe Fox’s strategist is getting old, but my 69 year old Dad is better with twitter than I am. If the marketing dude* can’t keep up, Fox needs a fresh face.
*Please note I live in CA, dude is basically gender neutral here.
John Garcia: Wouldn’t this all be kinda moot because ALL of the big panels are now gonna be streamed? Or was I just imagining that announcement? Or was that announcement just a rumor?
Mary Anne Butler: They are going to be streamed, for a price. You will pay for a subscription in order to see them, and even then, some of the studios have the choice to NOT be a part of the stream.
- John Garcia: OOOH, that’s quite interesting.
- Rose Marie Fox: The best part about this is you can theoretically watch one panel while in line for another… of course… that’s going to put quite a strain on the cell networks… meanwhile convention wifi will go from bad to worse.