TLDR: I believe Marvel Studios skips San Diego Comic-Con 2015, something that James Gunn may or may not have inadvertently dropped in a Facebook Q&A. Check out the reasoning after the jump!
So this news broke a little over a week ago now: James Gunn said that Marvel would not be attending San Diego Comic-Con this year. The quote from James Gunn, in response to whether he would be at Comic-Con this year, is as follows:
“I’m not sure. Marvel isn’t going so I’m not sure I will either”.
This came through a Facebook Q&A session that he did at the beginning of March. On the other hand, website www.UTsandiego.com is reporting that David Glanzer, director of marketing and public relations for Comic-Con said that, “This is the first I’ve heard of it.” He also is reported to have said that, “We don’t start scheduling until May, so, to be honest, I wouldn’t be able to give any confirmation until closer to the summer.”
So what does this all mean? It really is hard to say for sure. Many Marvel and Comic-Con fans know that Marvel skipped SDCC in 2011. But now that comic book movies are moving full-steam ahead, does that make sense for Marvel now? People a lot smarter than me probably know the answer to this, but I wanted to weigh in on what I think will happen, and what the ramifications will be.
Reasons for Marvel to Skip SDCC 2015
If Marvel decides to pull out of Comic-Con, fans of Hall H at SDCC will be in an uproar. Half the reason people go to Hall H is to see Marvel. The other half are there to see DC/Warner Bros. So that is roughly 6,000 people that will be severely disappointed. I can already feel the angry emails from attendees feeling “hustled” by SDCC for not making this known beforehand if it turns out to be true.
These 6,000 people would be outraged, but in the grand scheme of things, 6,000 people will be mad, but every one of those people will still go see every Marvel movie that comes out. Marvel is not going to lose anything financially if they don’t go to SDCC this year.
There might be one exception to this though, which is Ant-Man. So far there has only been little (pun intended) marketing done for Ant-Man, likely because more focus is on Avengers: Age of Ultron at the moment. Once that movie wraps up, we can see a lot more advertising put into Ant-Man. But I really think having a panel at Comic-Con would be great way to get these 6,000 people buzzing about the movie.
The bigger deal outside of these 6,000 people is the massive word of mouth Comic-Con would have after Comic-Con. With so many sites spewing information about Comic-Con, it would be kind of weird having a lack of Marvel news.
In the end, I don’t think Marvel will suffer too much from not being at Comic-Con. I think SDCC itself might be more in trouble in Marvel decides to pull out permanently. Short term, it won’t have an effect, but long term, if other studios such as Fox or Warner Bros. realize they don’t need the traction SDCC supposedly gives, then they might pull out as well. That could change the demographic of attendees to Comic-Con drastically, as well as the number of attendees.
Reasons For Marvel to Attend SDCC 2015
So what if they decide to go? I have already discussed this a little bit, but the biggest reason for Comic-Con 2015 specifically is Ant-Man. That movie could use all the help it can get. Of course, I could be completely wrong on my perception of audiences’ thoughts on Ant-Man (look at Guardians of the Galaxy, a property that even many Marvel comic fans know little about), but I don’t hear anyone even mentioning this film outside of hard-core Marvel/comic-book movie fans. The buzz by attendees and news sources reporting at SDCC could be huge for the movie. Then again, maybe Marvel doesn’t think so?
Another reason for Marvel to attend would be to introduce our new Spider-Man. It seems like the perfect place to announce the casting for Peter Parker, to get some buzz. Of course, there is already a lot of buzz about this, so maybe Comic-Con isn’t needed for that. Also, we might get an announcement sooner than that, as Captain America: Civil War is going to begin filming very soon, and almost everyone believes that Spider-Man will first appear in that movie.
Long term, if Kevin Feige and Marvel stick around Comic-Con, they will be able to keep Marvel Studios more in the general public’s eye. But I am sure Marvel has plans for this to happen outside of just SDCC…
So, will Marvel be at SDCC in July 2015?
At first I thought James Gunn was just having a little fun on his Facebook chat session. How could Marvel not be at SDCC? Then I thought about it a little more. There are plenty of reasons to believe that they won’t be there. Let’s run down a list:
1. Marvel wasn’t there in 2011 – This already is a big red flag. 2011 was right in the middle of the “Comic-Book Movie Revolution,” and they decided that they didn’t need to go. Did them being absent hurt them at all? I think almost everyone can agree–it didn’t seem to make any difference.
2. Marvel Doesn’t Have Anything to Talk About – Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out in May, 2 months before Comic-Con. The only movie for Marvel to discuss, that is a little after Comic-Con is Ant-Man. One could argue that it could use some help from SDCC, but I am sure Marvel knows what they’re doing there. After that is Captain America: Civil War, which isn’t until May 2016, and already has gigantic buzz about it. There isn’t a whole lot of reason to create buzz about a movie nearly a year away.
3. Marvel Doesn’t Need SDCC – Let’s face reality. This isn’t 2008, when Iron Man was coming out, and Marvel needed SDCC to get some momentum going. Marvel is a juggernaut (more fun puns!) that doesn’t require SDCC or any other convention. In fact, they did their own mini “Con” in October and it was a huge success. Maybe we’ll even see a Marvel-Con eventually? Not to mention, Marvel has D23 Expo, which could be its own “Hall H” itself. Maybe it will turn into a Comic-Con every other year thing?
4. 2014 SDCC Lackluster for Marvel – 2014 seemed to be surprisingly mild compared to previous years. It was a toned-down panel for sure, and there really weren’t any major announcements other than the already assumed sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy. Then a few months later, Marvel did their own thing, blowing up the internet in October.
So after looking at all of this, I don’t believe Marvel will be at SDCC this year. Logically, I understand Marvel’s thinking should they decide to skip Comic-Con 2015, and maybe even permanently. They don’t have to do it. They will be just fine without SDCC. As a fan, it makes me sad. I will be in Hall H this year, and really will be disappointed if Marvel doesn’t show up. This is actually good news for Warner Bros./DC though, as they will easily have the most buzz at Comic-Con, and the news that comes out for Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice will make Hall H worth it for that alone.
As for Marvel not being there, I am specifically speaking about Marvel Studios. I have a feeling there will be a Marvel booth at Comic-Con, and probably have people for comics and such. This could actually turn out to be good news for hardcore comic fans. Often some people really do not like the “cinema-fication” of Comic-Con, and going back to some good-ole fashion comics could be good for them.
Did Comic-Con Know About Marvel?
Assuming James Gunn’s quote is true, did SDCC already know about this prior to selling their tickets? As noted at the beginning, David Glanzer says he didn’t know, but whether he did or didn’t know, I have a feeling the answer would have been the same.
Would the number of tickets sold be different if Marvel was known not to be there prior to Comic-Con putting tickets on sale? I don’t think so, as I think it would have still sold out. It might have changed the dynamic of people going, as some Marvel fans might opt to not go, but I still think it would sell out regardless. If SDCC did know beforehand though, I can sort of see why some fans would be bent out of shape not knowing.
Of course, SDCC makes no promises of who will/won’t be there, so attendees can’t get too upset about it. I have to think that David Glanzer does know the status of Marvel Studios’ attendance, as planning for Comic-Con has to take longer than 2 months. Starting in May is not enough time to get all of these schedules together.
In the end, I think SDCC will still be a lot of fun, even without Marvel there. There probably will be a noticeable “hole” though, not getting the grand presentations Marvel generally puts on. I also have a feeling that Marvel will hold its own announcements given that Marvel does in fact skip this year.