Come on, we’re all adults here at Comic-Con…well, except for the children…but they don’t count! But let’s be honest with each other, what was once the greatest party a nerd could attend has been hijacked by Hollywood so they can trot out whatever’s meant to be gobbled up by the 18-34 male demographic. But at least for the past few years it was to build hype for things that were still months away! Sony Pictures’ Salt opened the NIGHT of its panel! Is this publicity really going to give it the bump that will transform the film from the next in a series of action duds (I’m looking at you, Knight and Day)? Let’s discuss this, by which I mean “let me shout at you some more,” after the jump…Here at the San Diego convention center, Hall H is the big show as far as movies are concerned. It’s the largest capacity room, with about 6,500 seats, and it’s full of the people who are the most excited for whatever is being shown. For the last few years it’s simply become expected by Con-goers that whatever is on display here is going to be a huge deal, and the #1 A-List celebrities will be on hand to receive all screaming hysterics a studio could hope for.
But it seems there’s an awful lot of short sighted studio fare on the line-up this year, which is to say they’re not building anticipation for upcoming projects, so much as trying to bolster films with immediate releases. Salt is probably the worst offender. The marketing campaign for this film has plastered advertisements on any surface they can get the rights to for months now, asking us “Who is Salt,” as if we don’t already know. Trailers have been getting increasing airtime, showcasing the biggest stunts and action scenes in the film. It’s practically impossible not to know that there’s an Angelina Jolie spy flick coming out mid-summer. So why is it here at Comic-Con desperately trying to woo those extra 6,500 ticket buyers?
It’s probably the internet’s fault. There is a huge press and web presence at Comic-Con, with reporters from outlets that receive millions of page views to others which probably don’t amount to much more than a bi-monthly newsletter among friends. Pretty much anyone with a website can get a press pass, any publicity is good publicity, right? That notion, combined with social networking, must lead them to believe that as soon as they see the theatrical trailer (yet again), and half a glimpse at the lead actress (from about football field’s length away), the press and fans will race each other to internet to get the word out that “OMFG!!!1!1! SALT IS THE GOODZ!” And they might even be right. But that still doesn’t keep this movie from being out of place, with no relevance to the key interests of this particular audience.
What it all seems to boil down to is that Hollywood, stubborn as ever, is hedging their bets and keeping the old business model of “We know what you want better than you do.” They’re giving audiences stuff they’ve been conditioned to enjoy, rather than embracing the unique tastes of this particular group.
What do you think? We wrote another piece about the empty lines going into Hall H yesterday before Drive Angry 3D as well.
Have the studios taken this too far? Do films like Salt and/or films coming out the same day deserve a spot in Hall H?
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