Last night it was announced that Fox would be pulling their presentations from next week’s Comic Con. The official reasoning was that they just weren’t ready, but I soon heard from a number of sources – some quite unimpeachable and highly placed – that the real reason Fox was bowing out was that after last year’s very R-rated presentation of Borat material, Comic Con was cracking down on Fox’s R-rated and red banded presentations.
This afternoon I got a phone call from David Glanzer, Director of Publicity for Comic Con, saying that he was shocked and surprised to read the reasoning my sources gave for Fox backing out. “We’ve had a great relationship with Fox since they were promoting the first Star Wars,” he said. “I’m surprised to hear that our relations are strained.”
Glanzer told me that Comic Con requires all the studios and other participating companies to run their materials by the Con staff in advance, and that includes footage shown, freebies handed out and materials given out at presentations. Comic Con International wants to make sure that the event is as family friendly as possible, although sometimes – like last year’s Borat footage – something shows up that they weren’t expecting. “We never saw the Borat stuff beforehand,” he told me. “I don’t think they deliberately surprised us, but sometimes stuff falls through the cracks.” Apparently the 300 trailer – which features nudity and violence – also fell through the cracks last year. I’m sure that people will be paying attention to see what kind of material makes it through to the presentations this year.
While CCI wants to see everything that is being presented, they aren’t against more mature content. “We’ve shown stuff at night that might be R-rated, so it’s happened at Comic Con before,” Glanzer said. CCI reps make announcements before panels where there may be non-all ages material, and they’re working to schedule presentations in a way that makes sense so that people don’t have to sit through an R-rated presentation to get to a family film. “We’re trying to make sure that we can program more effectively, and one way to do that is to screen stuff beforehand.”
As far as Glanzer is concerned, Fox is still showing up at Comic Con next week. “We never heard that there was no presentation by Fox. We heard Fox was pulling those three films, but we were still talking to them in terms of what they were doing in that time slot. It’s not unusual for things to change – our schedule says ‘Subject to Change’ – but it is unusual for three projects to be pulled. We here never thought Fox wouldn’t have a presentation at the show, we just knew it wouldn’t be those three projects.” According to Glanzer, the time allotted for the Fox presentation is still allotted for the Fox presentation.