[email protected] was not the success people were hoping it was going to be. Tweets were down 95% from last year's event where Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige brought the house down with announcement after announcement. However, public safety concerns were not going to allow a traditional Con experience to go down, which Comic-Con International realized pretty early on. While people were disappointed to see that the event was no longer happening, there was some comfort in knowing that they were putting together a virtual event for everybody stuck indoors.

There were some big presentations, including the Bill & Ted Face the Music panel with Kevin Smith, The Walking Dead bringing all three of its shows to the online convention, a Constantine reunion, and more, but they barely managed to gain any traction. According to data from social media analytics firm ListenFirst, via Variety, "tweets that mentioned [email protected] were down 95% from 2019's live convention - just 93,681 tweets over the five-day event, against 1,719,000 tweets in 2019." The report goes on to add, "Tweets about the top 10 TV events were similarly down 93%, and tweets about the top 5 movie panels were down a shocking 99%."

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So, what was the problem here? Most people in North America are stuck inside the house with not a lot to do, which would make one believe that [email protected] would be a huge success. When it comes down to it, there were no big reveals and the majority of everything was shot and edited weeks ago, making it rather stale. There were no truly live events taking place that could have made it feel like a traditional San Diego Comic-Con experience. When boiled down to a few internet panels, it just felt rather forced, though there were some exceptions.

YouTube views on the panels were nowhere what people were anticipating. The New Mutants panel proved to be the biggest of the annual event. As of this writing, the panel has been viewed over 200,000 times, which really isn't saying much when compared to a normal event. As for the TV side of things, Comic-Con mainstay The Walking Dead was the clear winner, along with Vikings, though excitement was still rather muted. Could this spell trouble for traditional event in the years to come? With Marvel sitting this year out, DC announcing their own event, and Star Wars Celebration, we could see Comic-Con lose some footing.

DC's Fandome event will take place virtually next month and there is already considerable hype surrounding it, thanks in part to Zack Snyder's Justice League. When looking towards the future, [email protected] may want to look into creating a live experience if this has to happen again. Even with technical difficulties, fans want to be able to interact with the cast and crew of their favorite franchises, not sit and watch a pre-recorded video with zero substance. "Fans couldn't talk with creators," says ListenFirst chief marketing officer Tracy David. "[It] really deflated interest around the [email protected] experiment." Hopefully everything will get back to normal next year, but this was certainly a learning experience for all parties involved. Variety was one of the first outlets to report on the [email protected] experience.

Kevin Burwick at Movieweb
Kevin Burwick