SDCC ’16: Hall H has shrunk back to its normal size now

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While Hall H is the ultimate Valhalla of nerd lore, it isn’t quite what it used to be. Checking out the schedule this year reveals that the studio pullout is pretty complete, with only Marvel and Warner Bros. duking it out old school with full presentations:

 

JULY 21 • THURSDAY

 10:00am –  11:30am
1Dreamworks Animation Theatrical

Hall H

 11:45am –  12:45pm
1Snowden

Hall H

  1:00pm –  2:00pm
1Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Hall H

  2:15pm –  3:15pm
1Feral Audio Live with Dan Harmon and his Podcast Pals

Hall H

  3:30pm –  4:30pm
1Under the Radar

Hall H

JULY 22 • FRIDAY

 10:30am –  11:30am
1Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion’s Con Man Panel

Hall H

 12:00pm –  1:00pm
1AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead

Hall H

  1:00pm –  2:00pm
1AMC’s The Walking Dead

Hall H

  2:15pm –  3:15pm
1Game of Thrones Panel and Q&A Session

Hall H

  3:45pm –  4:45pm
1Dark Horse: Conversations with Joss Whedon

Hall H

  5:00pm –  6:00pm
1South Park: Season 20

Hall H

  6:30pm –  8:30pm
1AMC’s Preacher

Hall H

JULY 23 • SATURDAY

 11:30am –  1:30pm
1Warner Bros. Pictures

Hall H

  2:00pm –  3:00pm
1Star Trek

Hall H

  3:15pm –  4:15pm
1Aliens: 30th Anniversary

Hall H

  4:30pm –  5:15pm
1Entertainment Weekly: Women Who Kick Ass

Hall H

  5:30pm –  6:45pm
1Marvel Studios

Hall H

  7:00pm –  8:30pm
1Kevin Smith

Hall H

JULY 24 • SUNDAY

 10:00am –  11:00am
1Sherlock

Hall H

 11:15am –  12:15pm
1Supernatural Special Video Presentation and Q&A

Hall H

 12:30pm –  1:30pm
1
FOX’s Action Showcase: Prison Break and 24: Legacy

 1:45pm
1
 Re-Imagining Reality: Bringing Games into the Real World with Ingress and Pokemon GOThere are a few big must see events in Hall H this year –- an Aliens reunion, Game of Thrones — but let’s get realistic: there are panels for PODCASTS and streaming series here. Back in the day, it was nonstop Angelina Jolie and Hayao Miyazaki, with a stop here and there for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Charlize Theron.

And now? Unless you’re in a superhero movie, or named Joseph Gordon Levitt, you can pretty much stay home.

This isn’t a sudden thing. Hall H has been de-escalating for a few years now, and TV is certainly king of con. With the TV boom leading to jillions of shows on streaming, on demand, broadcast and cable, they certainly need more of the boost that a Comic-Con appearance can bring. When Fox announced they were pulling out of Hall H this year, it didn’t surprise many people.

Also, as we’ve been suspecting for a while, studios are shifting their shock and awe cast reveals to CinemaCon, an industry only confab that’s held earlier in the year and much easier to control. Disney just rolled out their Star Wars news at their own Celebration event, and next year’s D23 fest will be the weekend before Comic-Con.

If anything, Hall H was TOO successful in showing how to control a news cycle and get fans stoked via social media. And of course, many films flopped outright, or got misleadingly enthusiastic receptions. With Hollywood pretty much clueless about how to market their films these days – once reliable reboots and sequels aren’t cutting it, and soaring budgets make everything more risky – the risks of Hall H long ago outweighed the rewards.

Meanwhile, San Diego itself has become the canvas for the carnival of “activations” and other temporary but exciting installations. It’s the “outside Comic-Con” stuff that really puts SDCC over the top now.

People have been wondering when Hall H would “Jump The Shark” and it obviously has. But in a GOOD way. Maybe we can get back to enjoying comics and the people who make them in the biggest comics event on the continent.

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