The convention began to draw the big studios as social media took off, he says, adding that the big movie projects typically work on a year to a year-and-a-half lead time. This year, 2012 action movies such as “The Avengers” and the latest “Spider-Man” sequel are featured films.
But, Mr. Davis points out, studios have learned a thing or two in the few years they have been courting this fan base. If an early preview sets up false expectations and the word-of-mouth turns sour, then the viral buzz can work against a big project. One of this summer’s box-office disappointments, “Green Lantern,” got a poor reception last year when early film footage was shown at Comic-Con, Davis says. That has “spooked” some studios.
Instead, he notes, the "Avengers" area is dominated by a large movie set piece, with actors in costumes – but no early footage with the potential to turn off fans. He notes that many fans had also expected director Peter Jackson to unveil early peeks at “The Hobbit.” But Wednesday, Mr. Jackson disappointed fans with the announcement that no footage would be screened.
The New Zealand director, however, had previously launched a daily web diary from the set, giving fans an up-close look behind the scenes as shooting progresses.