With just a week to go before the huge San Diego Comic-Con, Fox Studios has announced that they're canceling ALL of it participation in the event, with the V.P. of Publicity citing this reason:
"Fox is not going to be able to participate in Comic-Con this year... The material wasn't ready and we only want to go out when we can put our best foot forward."
My "gut check" reaction is that is totally B.S.
If you're not familiar with the Comic-Con, it's an annual event that has expanded far beyond just the world of comic books to include TV and movie events related to the Sci Fi, horror and action genres. Thousands of people attend the four-day event, and my guess would be the vast majority of attendees are huge movie geek/fanboys that will pretty much worship anything presented there. That's not a slam, I fall into that category, but I'm just more discerning than most. :-)
Anyway, lately Fox Studios has been getting hammered in the online movie community/press over a number of things they've done. From what I've read, the Chicago Film Critics Association is boycotting Fox by not reviewing any of their films due to monkey business from the studio regarding who gets to see what. They are also restricting reviewers regarding the upcoming movie The Simpsons by not letting them screen the film until the day before it's release.
As John Campea of The Movie Blog points out, it would seem to be a heck of a coincidence for none of the films they had planned on highlighting via footage to be "ready." They were going to promote Hitman, Aliens vs. Predator, Jumper, "Babylon A.D., City of Ember and The Dark Is Rising.
None of these films have material ready?
From CHUD comes the following from a supposed source inside Fox:
"They [Comic-Con management] told Fox that there was absolutely to be no R rated materials during the presentations. The trouble with that is that all of the film's on Fox's slate are R rated, with Aliens Vs. Predator finishing up a red band trailer. (I'm not sure about Jumper's rating, but in typical Liman fashion that film has a long way to go before the editors can make sense of it.) Anyway they said the cost of a couple hundred grand just wasn't worth it when they could just release all the stuff on the internet."
The word is that the folks who run Comic-Con were not pleased about a film clip shown last year from Borat that showed him and another character in the film wrestling naked, thus providing a history of a strained relationship between the Con and Fox this year.
A third theory is that all the movies they have to promote just stink, and they don't want anyone getting an advanced whiff of them. The first AVP was hideously bad, and I've seen the trailer for Hitman, which to me looks utterly forgettable. I can't speak regarding the other films since I haven't seen any footage from those. As far as I'm concerned, this theory is probably the closest to the truth.
There's still a possibility that they might work something out and have some sort of presence at the Comic-Con next week, but in the mean time, Con promoters are scrambling to fill the slots.
Source: LA Times