Several years ago, WonderCon moved from San Francisco to Anaheim, and now the festival is packing up again. Comic-Con International has announced that WonderCon 2016 will be taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 25 – 27th. That not only changes the locale, but also moves the convention up a couple weeks (and, perhaps coincidentally, on the release date of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).
Steve penned an editorial yesterday about how studios missed out on marketing their movies to fans, and perhaps moving WonderCon to L.A. will change that approach. The closer the festival is to the studios, the closer it is to the talent and other opportunities to directly reach potential consumers.
Personally, I feel like an expansion of WonderCon would diminish the festival’s individuality. It would be San Diego Comic-Con in the spring, and while studios may have a chance to make their message stand out, I personally think it would just devour another convention. San Diego Comic-Con isn’t a celebration of the fans; it’s exploitation. It’s making them choose between viewing footage in Hall H or having them stand in a line in the exhibitors hall to get a poster signed.
Studios moving into WonderCon would also amplify teaser culture, which is a blight to geeks and moviegoing in general where everyone cares more about what’s next than what’s now. If Warner Bros. decides to have a presence at WonderCon in 2016, I seriously doubt it will be to celebrate Batman v Superman; it will be about people looking ahead to Suicide Squad.
This all being said, I can’t speak for devote convention-goers. I feel myself increasingly disconnected from fandom as I’m absolutely baffled by the ridiculous line for Hall H at Comic-Con. I don’t understand why people would choose to camp out to see footage that will be online later that day and to endure cringeworthy Q&A sessions. That doesn’t make sense to me, but if San Diego Comic-Con is the model for conventions and SDCC is ridiculously popular, it follows that Comic-Con International would try to emulate that success with WonderCon.
We’ll see in 2016 if studios take Steve’s advice and try to take advantage of an open playing field or if WonderCon will remain the kid brother to SDCC where fans can walk and breathe and not feel crushed by marketing.