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.
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.