Over the past decade, San Diego Comic-Con has continued to reach new heights, becoming the premiere destination for studios looking to sell their latest movies and TV shows. But this year marked an interesting turn where a lot of big Hollywood players simply stayed away. Thursday and Friday were relatively quiet on the movie front, while TV took over Hall H in the biggest way yet. Which left Saturday for true movie fans. And the day was handed over to two competing Comic Book movie studios, which makes sense, since this is Comic-Con, after all. But in terms of 'Winning the Con', who came out on top? We think few will argue that DC was the clear cut winner.
And they needed to be. Batman V Superman was first announced at the Con in 2013. It was then promoted at Comic-Con 2014 and 2015, before hitting theaters this spring. After this long three year build-up, it was a disappointment for fans to say the least. So now, DC Comics has the overwhelming task of making it up big time. And they proved they might pull ahead of their underdog status if they can keep their current momentum going.
During the panel at Hall H, Warner Bros. and DC dropped the first official trailer for Wonder Woman as promised. And it did not disappoint. It appears that this action-packed adventure, which spans many time periods, will be quite a lot of fun. And it will, for the most part, uphold the traditions and lore in the original comics (minus one invisible jet). After receiving quite an overwhelming response from fans in attendance, derided director Zack Snyder showed up with a pretty big surprise. The first trailer from Justice League. And if that wasn't impressive enough, Warner Bros. also debuted the final trailer for Suicide Squad, which left fans in awe.
In a smart move, DC and Warner Bros. got into Hall H first when the crowd was still fresh and excited about the day. And they purposely pushed their panel past the break, causing Marvel to go on much later than expected. Which helped bring a bit of tired weariness to the later day proceedings. But it didn't help that Marvel trotted out the same old dog and pony show that once seemed so exciting, but now has become a bit of a cliche. They stuck to their once-winning formula, and it's become quite clear that it's grown a bit tiresome. Which doesn't help when your crowd has been waiting in-line or sitting in a smelly auditorium for many (many) hours. Some of these binary individuals had even been there for days.
So that brings us to an interesting crossroads. Everyone loves Marvel movies. Not everyone is quite on board with what DC is doing. There seems to be a changing of the guard though, and if Suicide Squad proves to be as fun as the current marketing, DC is going to conquer the summer in a big way, and it's a win they so desperately need. But the first big hurtle is over. DC Films and Warner Bros. definitely 'Won the Con' as it were. At least where movies are concerned. That's why we bring you '9 Ways DC Comics Destroyed Marvel at Comic-Con This Year'. Perhaps some of you will not agree.
DC released their new Trailers and Footage immediately for everyone to see.
DC did a very smart thing this year, unleashing their Wonder Woman trailer to the crowd before debuting it online just mere seconds after it was shown in Hall H. Same thing for Justice League, by far the biggest and best thing to happen at the Con this year. This is going to catch some serious blowback from longtime Comic-Con attendees who feel that the Con experience is about getting exclusive footage no one else will get to see anywhere else for months, perhaps ever. But that's not the reality we currently live in. And this thinking just doesn't jive any more. DC knows this, especially after watching what happened last year when their 'exclusive' first look at Suicide Squad leaked. It reached a massive amount of people who wouldn't have cared otherwise, and the first trailer, which wasn't originally supposed to be released, caused a firestorm of good word of mouth for a movie that, like Guardians of the Galaxy, most people, including some comic book fans, simply weren't familiar with. It turned out to be a massive win for DC. And they have embraced a new way of thinking.
Why spend all this money to come to Comic-Con for just a handful of people to see the trailer? Marketing at Comic-Con is extremely expensive, so why not capitalize on that while the heat of conversation is immediately fresh? Giving everyone a chance to see the trailers and footage benefits the studio greatly, especially when it comes to pulling in new audiences. Marvel doesn't quite seem to understand this, and is playing by the old guard. The footage is for the fans who got in only? Though, that is only one-half of the argument. The other is unfinished VFX. But if Justice League, which started shooting months after Guardians of the Galaxy 2, can have an audience worthy trailer ready for mass consumption, so can Marvel. At this point in the game, it just doesn't make sense to not show everyone everything. And while maybe a room full of folks left Hall H smiling after Marvel's panel was all over, the vast majority, many being fans who couldn't get into the convention because of the size it's swelled to over the past year and the inability to secure a hotel, aren't thinking twice about the stuff they didn't see from Marvel. But they're certainly talking about all the cool things DC dropped in their laps this past weekend.
Concept art again? Yawn. Marvel couldn't even give fans one new photo.
Marvel actually brought quiet a bit of footage to Hall H. They just didn't release it to the general public. Even though there is a vast majority of fans who simply can't get into the convention center because of what it has become, Marvel didn't even bother to have any new photos ready, only releasing one piece of concept art from Spider-Man: Homecoming. Granted, they did give fans a look at the Planet Hulk gladiator armor and Kurt Russell's Ego costume from Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on the convention room floor, but even then, fans had to rely on crappy photos taken from tired people walking around the massive event to get a look. DC on the other hand had a very lovely team photo of the entire Justice League ready to go, giving everyone everywhere a first look. And it was pretty exciting. The fact that we all got to see a trailer just seconds later helped matters too. Even if Marvel is sticking to their old musty ways, a photo speaks a million words, and it would have been nice to see Brie Larson in her Captain Marvel uniform, or even a new shot of Tom Holland as Spider-Man. Nope. We were all left high and dry. They couldn't even provide new Doctor Strange cast photos. Just a poster.
Suicide Squad Promotion is Killing It
There's a reason Suicide Squad is dominating all forms of social media as the must-see movie of the second half of summer. Someone in the marketing department smartened up and realized that right now, with all the horrible stuff going on in the world, the general populace no longer wants doom and gloom heroes. They want to escape and have a little bit of fun. And boy, does Suicide Squad look fun. The idea that DC doesn't do jokes has been completely abandoned, and Will Smith, who many have simply grown tired of over the years, got some pretty big laughs in a new extended final preview that was shown off in Hall H and then to the rest of the world. The reshoots seem to have certainly turned this next DC Universe movie into a crowd pleaser and the response and energy it is generating has been quite infectious. The same can't be said of Marvel's next big release. Doctor Strange looks, dare we say, a bit boring? Especially when it sides up next to the electric sparks of awesomeness currently flying out of the DC camp with Suicide Squad. And if the fan reaction is any indication, it is spilling over into their next movie Wonder Woman. Who isn't exciting at this point? Suicide Squad looks like an original, funny, fun, exciting and action-packed movie that is designed to turn both Harley Quinn and her alter ego Margot Robbie into bonafide household names.
Bonus Warner Bros. Trailers
Marvel didn't feel like sharing its stage time in Hall H with anyone else in the Disney stable. This meant some big projects stayed home, including whatever new movies are coming from the animation side, Star Wars and Pixar. Along with a number of exciting Disney live-action Fairy Tales and other cool movies to boot. Disney is booming at the box office, so perhaps they feel they don't need to promote at Comic-Con. But Warner Bros. was smart in using its current DC Films line-up to set the stage for some other high profile projects. And they all piggy-backed on the extreme high energy and good will of those superhero movies. Kong: Skull Island, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and even the DC tie-in LEGO Batman Movie all got a chance to shine, and like the DC Films line-up, everyone worldwide got to see the trailers shortly after their debut. This was a definite win-win scenario for Warner Bros. Today, no one is talking about all the other cool Disney movies planned at the studio. Instead, they're left thinking, 'Eh, Doctor Strange looks alright. Its probably as good as Ant-Man. I guess I kinda want to see it. Maybe.'
Does anyone care about Doctor Strange?
Sure. Doctor Strange has its fans. Most of them hardcore Marvel aficionados. But right now, that movie really isn't doing it for the masses. Outside what appears to be a very small circle, no one is extremely ramped up to see this next chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It will probably have the lowest opening in Marvel Studios history. And let's face it, it looks kind of boring. Granted, we know it's Marvel's next big release, and a pet project of Kevin Feige, but the whole gist of the Marvel panel was left hinged on this movie. And for the masses, it's really all we were left with from the con experience. No one really wanted another Doctor Strange trailer. Marvel did bring a Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer and presumably a hilarious Thor and Hulk sketch, but the majority will never see that stuff until much later. Which doesn't really play to the important 'of the moment' momentum Comic-Con is supposed to bring with it. Imagine if we could all be talking about the cool Spider-Man footage right now? Nope. Just Doctor Strange. Who brings a big old 'Eh.' To the table. Doctor Strange embodies the exact kind of momentum as the entire Comic-Con 2016 experience. It's just pushing through the motions, and helped to create a real zombie event this year that feels devoid of emotion and drained of all its color.
Marvel crapped out a bunch of Old News
Marvel came to Hall H at Comic-Con bearing what we can only guess they thought would be exciting confirmations for everyone in attendance. But it was all old news. All of it. There were no surprises at all. We all knew Brie Larson was going to be announced as Captain Marvel. We all knew Kurt Russell was playing Star-Lord's dad. We already knew the cast of Black Panther. Where was the shock? The surprise? The awe? The wonder? We knew Michael Keaton was playing the Vulture. There wasn't one new cast announcement at all. Sure, we learned who Star-Lord's Dad is, but the character was beside the point. We even knew Sylvester Stallone was going to be in Guardians 2 before the panel happened. For the most part, this portion of Marvel's panel presentation read like a year-old newspaper.
Logos again, Marvel?
Does anyone ever truly get excited about the Marvel logos that are periodically released and updated? Back in the day, seeing the first logo for Iron Man, or even Captain American and Thor was exciting. But it's a Logo. Words. Nothing that is truly too exciting at all. And this year, most of the new ones looked a lot like the old ones. Sure, Thor: Ragnarok got some nice colors added to its logo. But it's still just a logo. And Marvel trots them out like the penny candy thrown from a fire engine at a parade. Thanks! It's really kind of an afterthought, and at this point, it's pretty lazy. DC Films didn't come in with a bunch of logos. They released their new Justice League superhero logos as a fun after thought on Twitter. Not as part of their main campaign. We don't care about the logos. Give us something awesome. Something exciting. Why bother showing up if you are just gong to bring a bunch of old casting announcements we've already heard and a bunch of logos we've already seen, just repainted? This does not a good Hall H presentation make here in 2016. Wake up, Marvel. It's not 2009 anymore.
Marvel Bragging About New Piracy Technology? Give me a break.
A few days before the con happened, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn seemed to throw the gauntlet down, challenging fans to bootleg his sequel footage. He bragged about the new piracy technology being utilized in Hall H to stop the bootlegging of footage. Which really flies in the face of why the fan is there. We all just want to see the footage. And you don't need to spend a bunch of money on piracy prevention technology. Just create something cool that you can share with everyone, and that ends your piracy problem right there. Okay, so you don't have to release all the footage online. The Thor skit sounds like a nice-fans only thing. But people just aren't going to be excited when the best you have to offer is a Doctor Strange trailer. Maybe don't brag about piracy technology. Put it in place, but keep it to yourself. Treat the fan right, not like a second rate citizen. Marvel really seemed to be out of touch this year. And it's clearly all about money in this case.
Marvel got stale. As of this year, DC officially knows how to treat Fans right.
Say what you will about years passed, but this is a new decade, a new generation. Things need to stay fresh, or even the biggest titan will fall. DC knows how to treat the fan right and the proof comes from this year's Con. Marvel officially got stale this year. And it's time for them to rethink their strategy because DC finally showed up to SDCC and wiped the floor with them. Next year wouldn't it be great if Marvel had their panel at the same time as DC Comics? That's certainly something to think about. Marvel was all about recycling an old news cycle. DC came ready to wow. They are the underdog at the moment. The Rocky Balboa of this situation. And like that famed boxer, they came out swinging as hard as they could. Marvel on the other hand, seems to be feeding off its success and riches, and it's getting a little flabby around the middle. That's all there is too it. If they aren't careful, they could have their title belt snatched. This year's con proves it!
You know how Marvel could have won?
6 little words. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 footage. They didn't need to even show us the full trailer or both clips. They could have had the fan only footage, and then a one minute teaser for everyone else. Maybe even just the big Star-Lord reveal with Kurt Russell. It's been kept a sercret for so long. It should be a reveal on par with Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. Instead, it was relegated to secondhand knowledge. We had to learn about it from other people sight unseen. In all actuality, Marvel could have 'Won the Con' by changing things up just a tiny bit. Not giving us the same old thing they always have. What that is, we don't know. It's not our jobs to come up with a plan. That is sqaurely on them. But if you're going to be America's premiere superhero destination, you better be ready to bring something to the tabel for everyone. And that's the problem. They didn't do that in the same way DC did. Here's one instance where Marvel can truly learn from DC! And ugh! Just look at this image. Chris Hardwick again, taking a Selfie. No one wants to see this any more. It was cute two years ago. Now its just become a tired cliche.