Lamenting FOX at SDCC'16
20th Century Fox will not showcase in “Hall H” at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. The news was quite the bombshell, as Hall H has become the MUST DO at SDCC. People have camped out for days for the chance to get into their favorite panel and listen to various TV and movie stars wax poetic while also be the first to see a brand new trailer and possibly even pose a question to their cinematic heartthrobs. But it’s more than that. Joining a few thousand of your closest geeked out friends for a once in a lifetime opportunity creates the sort of hype the studios love. And for FOX to pull out, it must have been a difficult decision.
The reason given is they can no longer guarantee the special content they save for Hall H, will stay in Hall H. Well, sadly for them this isn’t Vegas, and this isn’t the 20th century, pardon the pun. In today’s technologically advanced world, even the youngest can outwit a major studio by hiding a cell phone camera and popping it on right after lights out. It’s unfathomable that any entity could expect a room full of hundreds or thousands wouldn’t have one bad samaritan disobeying a simple plea to keep cameras off.
So the question becomes, is this really the reason? Perhaps it’s because they don’t have something to show. Well there are several properties worth promoting, like “Assassin’s Creed”, “Wolverine 3” or even “Maze Runner: The Death Cure.” Maybe the footage in the can isn’t quite what they want yet or it’s not cutting together as well as they’d like. Maybe they just don’t want to spend the money, which would seem counter-intuitive.
Perhaps something bigger is at play. Now stay with me here, I’m going way off San Diego’s sandy shores with this. The crowds at SDCC are increasingly untenable. Security has clamped down the last few years because it’s so overwhelming. I could see a scenario where the Fire Marshall has stepped in and said something needs to be done. Could FOX be the sacrificial lamb to see about easing the human burden that is Hall H? Their properties are popular, but not Civil War or Star Wars popular. Would they really lose that much by not pimping them this year?
Or what about the rumors of SDCC moving to Las Vegas or LA? That rumor has popped up endlessly for years, and the contract at the Convention Center was extended to 2018, but could FOX again be the sacrificial lamb to convince San Diego leaders to do something about convention and hotel space? And with other rumors about Disney pulling out as well, perhaps SDCC and the studios are looking to play hardball together.
Admittedly both of those scenarios seem far-fetched, FOX may just prefer to sit and pout about new footage released on Youtube in a matter of minutes. But honestly, is that really something to take your ball and go home over? Hall H is about the exclusivity of new content. Again that’s partially why people sleep on sidewalks for days. But if they are showing the footage in playback rooms within minutes or hours after it’s been shown, or on their own youtube channel that night, is it really that exclusive? It is exciting to be the first to see something; we all enjoy the uniqueness of that, but like I alluded to earlier, in today’s technologically savvy world, that’s something you just can’t expect.
If it’s really about making something exclusive and creating hype, think up something new. Perhaps each person is given an SDCC exclusive freebie as they walk in, how about a legitimately cool swag bag under each chair. Maybe 10 people are randomly chosen to sit on the stage with the stars. A million things could be thought up to keep the exclusivity and excitement of Hall H. It will just have to take some creativity on the part of the studios.