Sony Pictures is keeping its eyes peeled for Hollywood's next blockbuster while teaming up with Wizard World to find it. Though movie studios regularly keep their eyes peeled at conventions for unique ideas and intriguing properties, Sony Pictures is taking the process a step further and striving to break the mold for people looking to break into Hollywood.
It's no secret that properties made and supported by fans have been a hot ticket for Hollywood since The Dark Knight. While Marvel has been achieving box office domination with their Marvel slate of films that will round out with the unprecedented Avengers: Infinity War, everyone is looking for unique ways to tap into the massive growth of the fan market. From Marvel tapping into Twitter's incredible reservoir to Netflix picking up Mark Millar's Millarworld series, fans looking to break into the entertainment industry are seeing studios breaking out and coming to them to look for new products.
According to THR, that's at the heart of Sony Pictures teaming up with Wizard World Conventions to find new properties by going directly to the source - fans. The studio will make searching conventions a part of their development process, seeking out new intellectual properties across America. Jeffrey Godsick, Sony Pictures Consumer Marketing executive vice president, will be overseeing the partnership. Godsick released a statement:
“You’re not necessarily sure where the next great IP is going to come from. When you go into an Artists’ Alley or see the booths, you realize there is a lot of good work out there. Wizard World has a credibility in that world and with their help, we will have access and insight that is rare.”
In an industry rapidly looking for ways to capitalize on fandom and build momentum for their bottom line, creative strategies like this are an essential partnership. Wizard World hosts 15 conventions a year and has plans to grow the number. The name of the game is to tap into an undiscovered market that exists between New York and Los Angeles. According to CEO John D. Matta, there is a lot of undiscovered country between New York and Los Angeles. "You will see all sorts of people that you don’t see in Los Angeles," said Matta, "Gold is where you find it."
This is an unusual but very creative way for Sony to stay on top of a rapidly expanding environment as well as for Wizard World, who wants to move beyond its exhibition roots into licensing, retail, and location-based entertainment. It's a mighty big step for both the studio and the comic convention and there's no word about how these pitches will be received. This gamble could prove to be a major loss for both.
That's part of the risk however, that studios must take in order to expand themselves and tackle new properties. Creative marketing strategies like this will keep Sony ahead of the game and there will be one big winner, the fans who may not have opportunities to get to New York and Los Angeles to pitch their ideas. There is a wealth of undiscovered talent in America, and this is a smart move for Sony to go and dig for it.