Fox Drops Out of Comic-Con: The End is Near!
by Alex Billington
July 19, 2007
Let's make quick news of it: 20th Century Fox has pulled entirely out of the San Diego Comic-Con happening next week, removing their Friday afternoon panel and all of their appearances. The LA Times broke the story and the official response is that the "material wasn't ready and we only want to go out when we can put our best foot forward." Although Fox may claim that the footage they wanted to show wasn't ready yet, there are a number of other more realistic reasons that they're going to miss out on the biggest gathering of geeks and fans all year long.
Fox was planning on presenting Jumper, Aliens vs. Predator 2, Babylon A.D., Hitman, The Dark Is Rising, and City of Ember.
Although the real reasons will forever be withheld by Fox, my speculation is that a number of negatives that have been effecting them lately, both at the box office and at Comic-Con, all contributed to this poor choice to drop out.
First up is that competing studios Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema both scheduled press conferences and interviews directly over Fox's panel. They work perfectly for their own panels at Comic-Con, but the only way they could fit in press conferences would be to run them during the Fox panel, and of course all the journalists out there don't want to miss what Warner Brothers and New Line are offering, so they'd probably cover those instead of the Fox panel.
Second is the uprising and boycott that's slowly building in Chicago via the Chicago Film Critics Association. You can read more about all that's happening over at SlashFilm and Radar, but basically the entire Chicago Film Critics Association is boycotting all reviews of Fox films because of how picky Fox is with screenings and choosing who goes to them. In turn, most of these people will probably be at Comic-Con and there is just a resistance building towards Fox stemming from this event.
Third is their lack of any real money-making ability. So far their films this year have been unimpressive: Live Free or Die Hard didn't even dent the box office, Firehouse Dog was a significant flop, 28 Weeks Later performed poorly, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer didn't do too bad but quickly died, and Pathfinder, Epic Movie, Reno 911!: Miami, and The Hills Have Eyes II were all epic flops as well.
If you take the Chicago Film Critics situation and the poor box office performance of their films and combine it with this latest announcement to drop out of Comic-Con, you might see what I mean when I say the end is near! I already had to write an article just over a month ago pointing out how yet again Fox has sunk to an even deeper low with some publicity problems, a low I thought they couldn't get past. Yet today they stooped even lower and I fear (or maybe are hopeful) for their demise. With the quality of films they're churning out and still have in the works, it wouldn't be a problem to see them go the way of Orion Pictures: bankruptcy and elimination.