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Comic-Con a Forum for Home Media

3 Aug, 2008 By: Stephanie Prange

San Diego Comic-Con International has for many years been a forum for studios to try out the latest theatrical releases on the most avid moviegoers. In recent years it has become a platform for TV shows looking to connect with rabid fans as well. The line for the “Heroes” and “Lost” presentations in the massive Hall H stretched completely around the convention center into the Seaport Village area.

Lately it has become a place where retailers and studios can court fans of home entertainment.

Blockbuster took a spot in the Warner Bros. booth to promote its new digital kiosk being tested in the Dallas area. Consumers can download rentals of movies, rather than picking up the DVD, at the new kiosk.

Best Buy sold not-yet-released DVDs at the New Line Cinema booth, which sported an elaborate display for the direct-to-video Lost Boys: The Tribe, released July 29, after the show.

MGM and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment hosted a red carpet screening for the direct-to-video movie Stargate: Continuum on the USS Midway aircraft carrier in the San Diego harbor.

Sony offered BD Live demonstrations at its booth.

And presentations on Fox's “Futurama” DTV movies, the Cinema Libre-distributed Indyfans, and Warner's “Charlie Brown” collection also highlighted home entertainment.

Certainly, many major home entertainment announcements didn't happen at Comic-Con. Iron Man's release on disc is still up in the air, as are plans for The Dark Knight and the fourth “Indiana Jones.” The much-anticipated Blu-ray Disc release of The Matrix Trilogy came after the show.

But for studios wishing to take the pulse of movie enthusiasts' interest in home entertainment, Comic-Con is proving to be an essential event.

Studios have found that if you can please the Comic-Con crowd, you're on your way to success.

Thus, I found it heartening that many in TheDigitalBits.com editor Bill Hunt's panel raised their hand when he asked how many had purchased a Blu-ray player. If Comic-Con attendees are the cutting edge of entertainment, the fact that so many of them have gotten on the Blu-ray bandwagon is indeed encouraging for the future of our business.

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