Although the rumor mill buzz was that the pop culture con series Wizard World might be announcing a 40-show slate for next year, the reality was a bit more down to earth: 17 shows. This is up 1 from the 16 shows that announced for 2017, but way down from the 26 they put on in 2015. (2016 had 17 shows.)

The new schedule, announced on FB and elsewhere,  had some juggling however: five announced Wizard Worlds for Biloxi, Peoria, Springfield, Montgomery and Winston-Salem have been postponed from this fall to next year. However, Boise has been added for 2018.

There are 11 returning venues.

The Biloxi and Montgomery shows HAD been scheduled for this month – Biloxi was in just two weeks, as a still extant schedule on the Wizard World site shows  – so this was a bit sudden. But in a statement it was indicated that they would have more time to plan the shows, which were only recently announced.

- Advertisement-

Screenshot 2017-09-28 01.44.46.png

The 2018 schedule is as follows – New shows are marked with a *

  • January 5-7, New Orleans, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

  • February 2-4, St. Louis, America’s Center

  • March 2-4, Cleveland, Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland

  • April 13-15, Portland, Ore., Oregon Convention Center

  • May 17-20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Convention Center

  • June 1-3, Des Moines, Iowa, Iowa Events Center

  • June 8-10, Columbus, Ohio, Greater Columbus Convention Center

  • *July 13-15, Boise, Idaho, Boise Centre

  • August 23-26, Chicago, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center

  • September 21-23, Madison, Wis., Alliant Energy Center

  • October 26-28, Oklahoma City, Cox Convention Center

  • Fall TBD, Austin, Texas, Austin Convention Center

  • *October/November TBD, Biloxi, Miss., Mississippi Coliseum & Convention Center

  • *October/November TBD, Montgomery, Ala., Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center

  • *October/November TBD, Peoria, Ill., Peoria Civic Center

  • *October/November TBD, Springfield, Mo., University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center

  • *October/November TBD, Winston-Salem, N.C., Benton Convention Center

Announced celebrity guests include:

New Orleans: Stan Lee (Marvel CEO Emeritus), Jason Momoa  (Aquaman, Justice League); St. Louis: Bonnie Wright ( Harry Potter franchise), Michael Rosenbaum (“Smallville,” Guardians of the Galaxy 2)
Cleveland: Jon Heder  (Napoleon Dynamite, Blades of Glory), Holly Marie Combs (“Charmed,” “Pretty Little Liars”)
Portland: Rosenbaum, Wright.

“The confirmed portion of Wizard World’s 2018 schedule combines many of the cities which have proven most attractive to fans with some new markets that we believe will embrace us similarly,” said John D. Maatta, Wizard World President and C.E.O. “In moving five of our more recently announced shows to 2018, we are better equipped to put on the kind of successful pop culture celebration that our fans have come to expect.”

Although the announced schedule seems a sensible one, a few territories were saddened to  lose their Wizard World, notably Sacramento, CA, which had a show for four years running:

“We evaluated each of our shows and decided that Sacramento wasn’t a fit for us next year,” Jerry Milani, Wizard World’s public relations manager, said in an email to the Business Journal. Wizard World announced its 2018 schedule on Facebook on Tuesday. The lineup includes no California stops. But there might be hope — the announcement says Wizard World “will likely add some additional cities to be announced” for 2018. Milani said a Sacramento show isn’t scheduled “as of now.”

Although vendor Bryon Verhoeven suggested that WW would be announcing more shows for 2018, on WW’s Facebook announcement, there were a lot of peeved fans (as there often are on FB) especially for the lack of California shows. It should be noted that a Wizard World spokesperson very graciously answered even the negative comments, and they added:

“Changing markets” is probably the best way to describe the current convention scene. While the mega cons – SDCC and next week’s New York Comic-Con – are huge and sold out, the “circuit” of branded cons – Heroes and Villians/Walker Stalker, Wizard World, and the newly announced Fandemic and Ace Universe –  is seeing some reshuffling due to shifts in what celebrities are hot and local economics. It’s a very interesting picture, and I’ll give a more detailed analysis in a future post.

1 COMMENT

  1. What ultimately matters is the end product and whether or not Wizard events are worth attending. The celebrity lineup in 2017 has been underwhelming to say the least. The small number of comic dealers this year in Chicago was shocking. The programming overall isn’t terrible but there’s a lack of attention to even the largest shows.

    For example, 2014 through 2016 they had the “Bruce Campbell Horror Film Fest” in Chicago. It was successful enough that when the affiliation with Campbell fell through, they not only rebranded the thing as “Wizard World Horror Fest” and held it in Philadelphia with a strong implication it would be held in other cities, the guy who organized the Chicago event rebranded it and turned it into a bigger, longer festival held at a different Chicago location.

    But there was no film festival in Chicago this year or anywhere else. How hard could it have been to just take the same films from Philadelphia and show them in Chicago or other cities with a minimal amount of extras just to establish and keep a successful tradition going?

    The issue is that Wizard has a small group of regular panel hosts that show up at their events, most of whom do a pretty good to excellent job, but it doesn’t seem like there’s anyone in charge of making Wizard World Chicago special or Wizard World Austin Special or Wizard World etc. special.

    Mike

Comments are closed.