Piracy is Killing Hall H at San Diego Comic Con

Aside from a problem with counterfeit wristbands for the Saturday panels, one of the big complaints about Hall H at this year’s San Diego Comic Con was the lack of real big movie exclusives. Back in the day, Hall H was known for exclusive reveals that wouldn’t be released on the internet…ever, but that’s changed in the last couple of years. And you can thank idiots filming stuff on their cellphones for a brief moment of internet fame (before being hit by a DMCA hammer) for killing the Hall H of the past.

Don’t believe me? Well, lets use 20th Century Fox for an example. This year they showed up with just the Kingsman sequel. But fans, and even some media, were expecting more. Despite the official Hall H schedule saying it was specifically a Kingsman panel, people were pissed off when Fox didn’t show anything from Deadpool 2 or the upcoming mutant films. And this is due to piracy fears.

Want proof? In 2016 Fox completely skipped Hall H at SDCC, and the reason was specifically due to people filming stuff off screens the year before.

This year almost everything in Hall H was released online the moment it was shown in the convention center. The Ready Player One, Justice League, Thor, and Black Panther trailers were all online immediately. And of course the Infinity War footage was pirated within minutes of it being shown in the Hall. People are complaining this week about the lack of big exclusives in Hall H now, but they’re failing to grasp the reason why that is.

Contrast the problem with how Disney runs D23 Expo, and it’s worse. Nothing ever leaks from D23 Expo’s big hall. I saw one person on Twitter last night claiming that stuff leaks from Hall H because more people go there than Hall D23 at D23 Expo, and that’s an uninformed statement. Hall D23 holds 7,000 people. That’s more than Hall H’s 6500. Nothing ever leaks from Hall D23 because Disney takes security very seriously and doesn’t want their footage out. Everything leaks from SDCC because Comic Con puts everything on the honor system and thinks people are more honorable than they really are.

It seems like Comic Con is more interested in social media buzz out of Hall H than keeping the studios happy. Saying “Please don’t film the screens” doesn’t do anything at Comic Con, people are going to do it no matter what you tell them. Sealing phones in silver plastic baggies at D23? That stops people from pirating the footage completely.

Comic Con is really going to need to ask themselves if they want Hall H to return to the mystique it had in the past as being the place where Earth-shattering exclusives were shown. Right now it’s just a public YouTube space where trailers the public can also see are viewed by 6500 people who spent $200 for a pass and camped out 24 hours. Until Comic Con decides to take a look at how Disney handles security at their D23 Expo, and makes serious changes to the big Hall H presentations, the famous Hall H of SDCC will continue its death spiral and will soon be something that people won’t even want to bother with anymore.

Jeremy has been active on the web since the 90s. He’s written for sites such as IGN and Furious Fanboys and even once worked on Star Wars Galaxies (RIP). A long time ago in a galaxy far far away he used to Podcast about Star Wars with friends.