Going a Little Less Comic-Con Crazy16 Jul, 2012 By: Stephanie Prange
Numerous reports have pointed out that the annual San Diego Comic-Con International convention, which took place last week, is losing some of its luster with studios. Burned by criticism of new films in past years — launches that didn’t provide the marketing jolt the studios envisioned and, in fact, helped squelch enthusiasm — studios have been pulling back their effort at the annual confab for the past two years.
But for the home entertainment business, Comic-Con is still a great promotional opportunity for studios that want to tap fan bases, as Shout! Factory did with its “Power Rangers” promotions and Paramount did at the Lucasfilm booth with a pit of real slithering snakes, recreating a famous scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Both suppliers plan retrospective disc sets, Shout! with season releases of the classic “Power Rangers” series and Paramount with its release of Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures on Blu-ray Disc. In addition, MGM and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment promoted the disc release of the James Bond series with different Bond vehicles on display at the booth each day.
Others boosted direct-to-video additions to classic Comic-Con-friendly franchises. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment touted the direct-to-video releases of the CG-animated Starship Troopers: Invasion, due on disc Aug. 28, and Resident Evil: Damnation.
While Comic-Con may be waning as a platform to launch new properties, for the home entertainment business, which depends on proven and fan-friendly franchises, it remains a great place to make contact with and market to fans of classic series.
The convention this year also proved to be a way to familiarize home entertainment fans with the new digital locker service, UltraViolet. Warner Bros. Digital Distribution gave away free access to select UltraViolet studio titles during the confab.
So, despite the crowds and confusion, home entertainment marketers will most likely continue to trek down to San Diego each July to promote discs and digital releases of fan favorites, even if studios are pulling back.