Sci-Fi Convention Power

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    Well we do tend to stick together. This willingness for the studios to pay for an audience, may explain why some cons like DragonCon don’t offer up much by way of bucks for guests of smaller shows or shows that have ended.

    😀 Exerpts from an article in the LA Times

    The setting was the International Comic-Con, which began life three decades ago as a gathering where mostly young men rummaged through cardboard boxes for vintage comic books. But as Hollywood increasingly bases its movies on comics and graphic novels, the gathering has turned into a sort of Cannes for geeks: ….A-list celebrities make the pilgrimage here each year to work the crowd.

    The fans at this weekend’s four-day convention — their number is expected to far exceed the 75,000 at last year’s festival — represent a double-edged sword for the movie industry. The true-believer audience is eager to embrace the big-screen adaptations of its heroes but is equally ready to reject them.

    Either way, the fans are poised to spread the word to legions of fellow fans via the Internet.

    Movie studios are so serious about courting these tastemakers that they routinely spend big money on giving them the first-look, specially edited previews of films and special souvenirs …They also pay to deliver the films’ stars and props from all points of the globe.

    “You might see studios spend a quarter of a million dollars on Comic-Con now,” …”For us, Comic-Con is everything,” said Hegeman, Lions Gate Entertainment’s president of worldwide marketing. “It’s the Holy Grail, as far as reaching the concentrated genre fans that we need to communicate with.”

    That said, the allure of big-budget science fiction and hero movies these days goes well beyond niche audiences. Since 1999, 11 of the 15 most successful films at the U.S. box office have fallen squarely inside the genre turf of Comic-Con superheroes, science fiction and fantasy. Such franchises as “The Lord of the Rings,” “Star Wars” and “Spider-Man” show that a one-time win can be parlayed into seasons of success.

    “If they think you are lying to them or that you are letting them down, they will let you have it,” … If they don’t like what they see and hear, they spread word on the Internet.”

    Studio publicity and marketing people still refer to the Comic-Con clientele as “the F&Gs” — it’s short for “freaks and geeks” — but now they do it quietly or with a measure of affection. The studios also monitor the intense fan chatter on the Internet and woo convention crowds as if they were studio company shareholders.

    “It’s unbelievable how things have changed…. The fans have the power now,” said Otis Chambliss of Rancho Cucamonga, one of thousands of fans in attendance Friday.

    “It’s the advent of the Internet,” film producer Silver said. “These days, you can have a guy sitting on a couch somewhere writing good or bad things about a movie and it makes a difference. At Comic-Con, you have 6,000 guys in one room.”

    Fans toting laptops have been known to race online to be the first to spread word about the latest sneak peek or juicy tidbit that Hollywood unveils at Comic-Con, in part to gauge the crowd’s early reaction.

    Packing theaters across the country requires wide appeal, but the first step to reaching that broad base is satisfying the core aficionados who will zealously celebrate — or tirelessly punish — movies that speak to their interests.
    ….Sometimes there are howls. Comic-Con even warns registered speakers about heckling.

    In the question-and-answer sessions, the tone from the audience microphone can veer from embarrassingly reverential to stingingly hostile. Such big-studio superhero adaptations as “Elektra,” “The Hulk,” “The Core” and “Catwoman” began their inglorious public lives with clunker showings at Comic-Con. One rival studio executive remembered that the reactions to Warner Bros.’ “Catwoman” felt like “some episode of ‘When Animals Attack.’ “

    There has been a similarly dramatic surge in the value of fans and their conventions in the eyes of Hollywood, Uslan said.

    “It’s a sea change,” Uslan said. “For so long there was a struggle to get respect, and now there is respect. The Internet has been a liberating force, and the success of these films has changed the relationship. The fans have power now, and they know it.”

    Do they ever. The fans who will come from all 50 states and beyond for the convention typically fall into the expected categories: … every year it gets more diverse. Sandy Flores of San Diego was just one of the empowered fans in attendance Friday, relishing the clout she holds. “They have to show me why I should go see this movie…


    The trouble is with many conventions that they don’t really cater for the fans. The only cons I’ve ever been to that have been good are ALL of the LEXXcons and a couple of film conventions.

    They were good because they actively encouraged people (fans) to hang out with each other. I went to a buffy con a couple of years ago that was positoively scary! It was just stands and the guests were treated abominably.

    I’ve found that if a fan goes to a convention then they are considered pretty perculiar people – by the organisers!


    Hi Fellow Sci-Fi Fans,
    I’ve gone to both fan-based conventions (Gallifrey, Dragon*Con, TimeCon) & to nonfan-based conventions (Creation, ShuttleCon, StarQuest), with the intention of having fun; the fan-based conventions I’ve gone to, are organized a whole lot better than the the 1s that aren’t. When I’ve gone to the others, I’ve found they’re diorganized, nonproductive & very snitty; whereas, fan-based 1s, are more friendlier, very organized & productive in what they do.
    I believe that a fan-based convention is better at realting to the fans, better than a nonfan-based convention; the nonfan-based convention only has 1 goal in mind, the more guests that better & let’s screw the fans. Plus, without us fans, there would be no conventions.

    Sci-Fi Fans Unite,
    Jhevz 😉

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