Has all the Comic-Con hype actually TURNED OFF some moviegoers? That’s what a chart over at THR seems to show, Jay Fernandez reports:

Flixster provides data for the Bullseye over at Risky Business each week, and occasionally the company tacks on some other random information. This week, Flixster included this graphic, which measured how online activity around featured films was affected by Comic Con.

Do you notice anything about this? Yes, other than “Scott Pilgrim” and “Sucker Punch,” of which little had then yet been seen, everything else went down. DreamWorks Animation’s “Megamind,” Disney’s “Tron” reboot, the whole mess of Marvel movies, etc., all had interest in them drop post-Con.

Now, this may mean nothing, of course. We’re still a long way from the release of most of these, and probably most of the fans who would have been swirling around these projects suddenly gorged and had to rest for a few days. But it does support the theory that Comic-Con isn’t really drumming up business outside of the true believers who were going to see these movies anyway. Had those not already attuned to this material gotten fired up by the Con parade, those activity percentages would have gone up.

There’s some dissension in the comments and competing charts which seem to show an opposite effect. And really…who the hell knows what this chart means. It’s iPhone users searching for info based on trailers. And you know, a good trailer is still a good trailer, no matter where it’s shown.

But probably somewhere some studio head saw this info and peed his/her pants, just like Batman.

Tangential — we can’t wait for SUCKER PUNCH, aka Zack Snyder does Tarantino.


  1. I would say the data compiled here is mostly irrelevant. The survey sampling doesn’t appear to be an accurate cross-section of potential movie-goers. Naturally, iPhone users on Flixster would have less interest in nearly every film that was featured after Comic-Con because they already had their immediate interest satiated DURING Comic-Con. Flixster’s general viewership usually skews in favor of a male demographic as well, so any polling from there is hardly representative of a trend.

  2. So, when you carpet-bomb the comic book universe with information about certain pulpy movies, as a result, people feel less need to search out information about those movies, independently — huh! Who’d have ever believed it? Next you’re going to tell me something truly outlandish, like, people think that they’ve already seen movies almost exactly like these, before, or something!

  3. “But probably somewhere some studio head saw this info and peed his/her pants, just like Batman.”


    Now THAT is funny!

  4. I think it’s pretty funny that Scott Pilgrim rates so high. Most people outside of comics, (which is a whole lot more than people in comics) look at the trailer and comment, “Looks stupid”. Of course, when the movie comes out, that’s the real test. To do a “comic book” movie, you still have to appeal to people outside nerd-dom to be successful. Because of this, Pilgrim will be another summer casuality. But, the reality is, it does look stupid.

  5. “Most people outside of comics, (which is a whole lot more than people in comics) look at the trailer and comment, “Looks stupid”.”

    Frankly, I question that you even have met “most people”, since every time I find a news item on the SP movie, most of the comments I read are of the “AWESOME! I CAN’T WAIT to see it!!!” variety. Yeah, I get that this appears to be a niche film, but it’s a niche film that appeals directly to the demographic that carries most genre fare (horror, action, sci-fi) to hitsville status at the cineplex these days. In any case, interest remains sky-high because the movie is on the verge of wide release; then, everyone will finally know whether the marketing actually paid off.

  6. What the chart does is call into question whether promoting movies heavily through SDCC is worth the effort and expense. There’s not much point in promoting movies to a relatively small group of people who are inclined to see them anyway; the promotions are supposed to result in good word of mouth, e-mails advising people to check out the trailers, etc. One indicator of success would be increased discussion of the movies on online forums.

    If there’s no increase in buzz among online users, the studios’ money has been wasted.


  7. It’s kind of surprising to me to see such a drop the week after SDCC. As Synsidar mentioned you would think they would go up with everyone going home to talk to their friends about the Thor trailer they saw or that the Infinity Gauntlet was in Marvel’s booth.

    It would be interesting to see if this would be a normal trend with SDCC and movies over the last X number of years.

  8. “If there’s no increase in buzz among online users, the studios’ money has been wasted.”

    Even if this is not the case, this will put some doubt in the minds of studio execs. Hollywood may actually stay home on the week of SDCC, and leave the show to comic people.

  9. There’s this phenomenon where potential viewers are exposed to so much advertising for a film that they feel like they’ve already seen it (and feel no need to actually buy a ticket).

    I forget what it’s called, but I’m definitely experiencing it.

  10. Sucker Punch went up because from what I’ve read most people were going “yeah but what is it ABOUT” after the presentation.

    Scott Pilgrim is up because it comes out in two weeks.

    Everything else is down just because. I rarely ever search for specific things. I just take it all in from various websites. One of the websites I frequent had descriptions of the panels for all of those films.

    Also, there’s nothing to really look up at this moment for those later films because a lot of minds are either made up or changed because of the presentations at the convention. While there may not be immediate “buzz”, I think it’s safe to say that word of mouth and various opinions are still going to make the rounds and have an effect.

    A lot of Comic-Con presentations create a “wow, wish I coulda been there” feeling rather than an immediate interest in the product. That’s why so many tickets for next year were sold already…it’s like a huge advertisment for what you might get to see next year at the con rather than a buzz-generating machine. If Green Lantern had shown anything worth mentioning, I’m sure it would have caused an internet frenzy much like the first Iron Man and even Tron Legacy footage did.

    The Thor footage has a decent amount of positive buzz around it now, but it’s what we EXPECT from Marvel films now so it’s less buzz-worthy. Buzz usually results from unexpected surprises. Good luck hitting that mark at Comic-Con now because everyone expects the best from everyone.

  11. Why promote a movie at Comic-Con?

    Because it gets instant buzz.

    Especially if the panelists do something stupid/crazy/unusual, like cosplay.

    I followed the Con via Google News, and the majority of articles were related to celebrity events. If you’re not there, you’re not there. Someone else gets the buzz, people wonder why you weren’t there in much the same way people wonder why the movie is given a later release date in January.

    Don’t be surprised if NYCC (held in October) also develops a strong media presence (probably in the North Building, which is column free). With the strong media presence here in NYC, it’s just as easy to do PR as it is in San Diego (located a few hours from LA).

    Since San Francisco is also near LA, might we see more movies at WonderCon, held in the Spring?

  12. Of perhaps tangential interest, prior to SDCC 2010, io9.com did a nice article summarizing a number of movies that had been hyped at San Diegos past, only to tank at the box office upon release:


    To be fair, that article is also highly arguable in its methodology, but at least it helps us realize that the “How useful is movie promotion at Comic-Con anyway?” question has been around–or should’ve been–for several years now.

  13. Hmm… So how would’ve STAR WARS ‘tracked’ after being hyped at SDCC ’76?

    Esp. with such low-rent presentations of a slide show of just pre-production paintings from the film, with not even a clip to show, nor bothering to trot out a star or two from it, don’t think the Nerds attending would’ve enjoyed the presentation at all. And selling the promo poster for an upcoming Comic Book series adaptation instead of trying to create the buzz by just giving them away for free—what the hell was Lippincott thinking?

    The Comic-Con attendants must’ve just given the whole thing a “meh”, right?

  14. The only buzz that matters is the buzz generated right around opening weekend when people can actually lay down money for tickets. That buzz is also generated by people who have seen the finished product. Eight-month-old teaser-trailer buzz isn’t going to carry a film past a damning 15% Fresh on rottentomatoes. If it’s a decent film, well, naturally it had decent buzz at Comic Con, but then what was the point?

    Buzz buzz buzzzzzzzzzzz

  15. Maybe the general public/comic book readers just aren’t as interested as they once were, maybe the draw of their favorite characters being brought to the screen has lost its luster? Maybe making an update on TRON isn’t that exciting? Maybe I’m not wearing pants. Who knows!

  16. It just seems like people have an axe to grind against Comic-Con, especially The Beat. If you look at IMDB’s popularity tracker, it reads opposite this iphone survey.

    And in regards to Comic-Con killing movie buzz, the fact the Comic-Con dominated the headlines last week on every media outlet is exactly what studios want.

    Now the real question is, can the studios risk not bringing a movie to Comic-Con? People always bring up Watchmen and Spirit and how they didn’t do well in the box office. What would their box office have been if they never made a big splash at the con? My guess, they would have made less money.

  17. You can’t just show at Comic Con now. You have to make a GOOD show at comic-con. WB, for example, may have shot themselves in the foot by rushing to get Green Lantern material ready in time. The nerd-buzz was poisonous.
    Compare that to Marvel’s well orchestrated Avengers roll call that was clever enough not to rely on footage or props.

  18. Note this sentence in the THR item on SDCC:

    After THR’s Borys Kit came back from this year’s bloated event shaking his head in perplexed exhaustion, we’ve been talking about this anyway.

    When there are so many movies competing for attention, months ahead of their release dates, their promotional efforts can be lost in the din. Enthusiasts might not care about all the noise, but, again, they don’t make movies successful. Smaller promotions that are better focused might achieve better results with less expense.


  19. There was quite a bit of pre-Con publicity as “Thor” and “Green Lantern” released photos from the films, which might have driven up the searches before the show, giving something for the percentage to fall down from. And yes, such movies as “Thor” and “Green Lantern” don’t even have trailers, which would drive down numbers on those searches….