San Diego Comic-Con 2016 is just a few months away (at the time of writing this), meaning that soon fans from around the globe will be gathering to celebrate the latest in pop culture. Arguably, the main attraction of the event is Hall H, where several of the major movie studios organize panels to discuss upcoming projects and show off exclusive footage for those in attendance. It's a great way to generate buzz and excitement for a new film, as was evidenced by the enthusiastic reception to the Deadpool and Suicide Squad presentations last year.
Hall H is a fun place to be, but recently it's been marred somewhat by leaks of the trailers and clips that are shared. Even though fans are asked not to record the screens, it's difficult to keep tabs on thousands of viewers all at once, and some manage to take video of what's shown, posting a poor quality version on the Internet for all to see. That's disappointing and frustrating for studios, who spend large sums of money to put their panels together. With it becoming harder to keep a lockdown on piracy, at least one main player has elected to skip Comic-Con 2016 altogether.
The Wrap is reporting that 20th Century Fox will not have a Hall H panel this year. According to sources, the studio believes they cannot control leaks of the early footage, which contributed to their decision. This means that films like Assassin's Creed, Wolverine 3, and Maze Runner: The Death Cure will not have a sizable presence at the convention. Fox will be represented at the panel for their collaboration with DreamWorks Animation, Trolls. What they plan to unveil there is said to be "unfinished" footage.
Some reports claim that Walt Disney Pictures is also considering bypassing Hall H in 2016, but reps from the Mouse House are not revealing their Comic-Con plans yet. Given that Marvel and Lucasfilm fall under the Disney banner, their absence would be a major blow for movie fans. With key blockbusters like Doctor Strange and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on the horizon, there's still a chance Disney comes to Comic-Con as they usher in the next wave of marketing. Since Fox is skipping, other studios could see it as an opportunity to dominate the conversation with a great panel or two.
At the same token, the allure of San Diego Comic-Con is not as strong as it once was. In recent years, the studios have put together their own events to detail future slates - just like Marvel did in 2014 for their initial Phase 3 announcement. Star Wars Celebration 2016 is only a week before Comic-Con, so Lucasfilm could save any big reveals (like a new Rogue One trailer) for that instead of organizing two massive panels in as many weeks. Also, social media makes it easy for new footage to go viral online, and the studios understand they can put out a preview or clip any time of the year and it'll gain traffic. Using Comic-Con as the primary outlet is no longer a necessity to raise awareness and increase anticipation.
This news will surely displease San Diego Comic-Con attendees hoping for a glimpse of one of Fox's tentpoles, but their position is justifiable. If the footage is going to leak out shortly after the presentation, it's not worth the time and energy used to cut together an "exclusive" trailer for those who waited days in line to get into Hall H. Piracy ultimately defeats the purpose of what makes those panels special. Ideally, Fox (and potentially others) pulling out will dissuade viewers from recording footage and in 2017 there can be a full lineup to enjoy.
San Diego Comic-Con 2016 will be from July 21-24. Preview night is July 20.
Source: The Wrap