Since its inception in 1970, Comic-Con International: San Diego has been a massive gathering for comic, movie, and sci-fi fans. But lately, it seems to have morphed into an event that garners a large following on the TV drama side as well.
Data from digital marketing company Amobee Brand Intelligence reveals that the most-talked-about topics from Comic-Con actually had nothing to do with some of the biggest comic book franchises, like Marvel and DC, but rather a TV drama with a massive following: Game of Thrones.
In terms of digital consumption – i.e. the measure of how often someone actually sees a term across 600,000 digital publisher sites and several thousand mobile publishers/apps – during the time the show took place from July 8-12, 2015, 13% of all digital content consumed online related to Game of Thrones.
The long-running hits did still bring the attention: the second-most-discussed topic was Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice at 12.3%, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (11.7%). And even though there were no Marvel movie panels, that franchise still managed to snag 10% of the digital conversation, mainly relating to Cosplay. Still, the fact that more people cared if Jon Snow was (spoiler alert) really dead shows how television programming that ventures beyond the realm of sci-fi and comic books are attracting fans that are just as loyal (and eager) as those who come fully decked out in Darth Vader and Batman costumes.
Other popular shows with strong ties to Comic-Con included The Walking Dead and its spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead; Once Upon a Time; Ash Vs. Evil Dead; and Doctor Who.
In addition to the TV shows, TV actors also managed to gain more attention than Hollywood movie actors at the show. The most talked about person via digital media consumption was Bruce Campbell, who will be reprising his role of Ash in the TV show Ash Vs. Evil Dead. (Though in fairness, that franchise began on the big screen.) Following him was Maisie Williams (scheduled for the upcoming season of Doctor Who), and Arya Stark (Game of Thrones). None of these programs, remember, have to do with comics nor sci-fi, though Game of Thrones is classified as a fantasy drama.
To further put this in perspective, Campbell had two times as much Comic-Con-related consumption as Halle Berry who, while currently starring on sci-fi TV show Extant is best known as a movie star; and four-times as much as Wesley Snipes, the movie actor who has been tapped for the upcoming program Endgame.
All that said, while more TV dramas are breaking through, Comic-Con is still largely about the comics: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice was the movie with the most digital consumption during the four-day period of the show, followed by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Other TV shows getting attention included Arrow; The Flash; Sherlock; Hannibal; and Supergirl. And other TV actors getting attention were Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who); Gwendoline Christie (Games of Thrones); Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead); Sophie Turner (Games of Thrones); Tara Reid (Sharknado 3); Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who); Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead); and Natalie Dormer (Games of Thrones).
On the film side, the top-10 film stars most associated with the show were, in this order: Ben Affleck; Jennifer Lawrence; Harrison Ford; Ryan Reynolds; Henry Cavill; Hugh Jackman; Gal Gadot; Bill Murray; Harrison Ford; Jared Leto; and Jesse Eisenberg.
Yes, Comic-Con will continue to bring in the Trekkies, superhero fanboys, and sci-fi freaks. But as the quality of the latest TV dramas, fantasy, and horror programs continue to up their game, we can expect to see more and more chatter about whether Rick Grimes will survive another season and not just about what plans Marvel has coming down the pike for its next movie character adaptation.