Add Sony Pictures to the list of major studios that are sitting out San Diego Comic-Con 2019. On the heels of the somewhat surprising announcement that Warner Bros. won’t be bringing its slate (including DC films) to Hall H, and the news that Universal Pictures is also sitting this year’s SDCC out, Deadline reports that Sony Pictures won’t be making the trek to San Diego either.
That means that convention-goers won’t be getting a first look at Jared Leto in the comics adaptation Morbius, nor will Tom Hardy be taking the stage to reveal some Venom 2 news. It’s not an altogether surprising move, as studios have been scaling back their Hall H presences in recent years due to a number of factors. Warner Bros. got burned back when they screened a “test reel” showcasing the first footage from Suicide Squad, which subsequently leaked online and forced them to release a high-resolution version one. This reel was not intended to be the general public’s introduction to the superhero film (and if you’ll recall its tone was very somber and serious as opposed to the actual marketing campaign that kicked in months later), and in subsequent years Warner Bros. opted not to show any footage in Hall H that it wasn’t also prepared to release online.
There’s also the simple fact that big splashes at Comic-Con historically have not translated to big box office, and it can get expensive for a studio to coordinate talent and prepare presentations for the convention. Put simply, it’s not really worth the financial investment if the end goal is raising awareness and a larger opening weekend box office.
Sony’s other major tentpoles that could have been teased at Comic-Con include Zombieland: Double Tap, Charlie’s Angels, and the Vin Diesel-fronted comic-book adaptation Bloodshot. There’s also Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and I fondly remember sitting in Hall H watching Tarantino regale the crowd for a lengthy and fascinating panel on The Hateful Eight. It was great for the fans who were there, but again, the box office didn’t exactly get a boost.
So who is going to Comic-Con? At this point, the only major film studios that are poised to have studio-specific panels are Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures, with New Line putting on an It: Chapter Two event on Wednesday night at “Scare Diego.” That’s it, and that is a vastly different SDCC lineup than just a few years ago. Of course there will still certainly be individual panels like Top Gun: Maverick, and Collider’s own Steve Weintraub is hosting the Hall H panel “A Conversation with the Russo Brothers” on Friday.
So Marvel is no doubt going to rule the Comic-Con headlines, as the studio is likely going to be (finally) unveiling their upcoming slate of films post-Spider-Man: Far from Home and Avengers: Endgame. That means fans could expect title, plot, or cast confirmations for Black Widow, The Eternals, Shang-Chi, Doctor Strange 2, Black Panther 2, and more. So hey, that’s something!