San Diego Comic-Con to remain virtual and be reduced to 3 days

Attendees pose for a picture as they arrive in costumes to enjoy Comic Con International in San Diego, California, US, July 19, 2019.
PHOTO: Reuters

San Diego Comic-Con, an annual celebrity-studded showcase of superhero films and pop culture, will remain virtual for its July event, which will be reduced to three days amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“While we are buoyed by the rollout of the vaccine and the growing number of individuals being inoculated, it appears that July will still be too early to safely hold an in-person event of the magnitude of Comic-Con”, its organisers said on Monday (March 1).

“For this reason, we have made the challenging decision to postpone Comic-Con 2021 as an in-person gathering until our 2022 dates, and once again hold this year’s celebration as the free online Comic-Con@Home”, the statement said.

Comic-Con said that the multiple postponements of its two largest events have left it with limited financial resources, which led it to reduce the virtual convention in July to three days from four.

However, the organisers said, a smaller in-person event may be safe, and they are planning a three-day in-person convention in San Diego in November. Details are still be worked out, they said.

Last year, San Diego Comic-Con was canceled in person for the first time in its 50-year history because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The event usually draws tens of thousands of costumed revelers to a San Diego convention hall and surrounding streets, restaurants and hotels. It has become a major event for TV networks and movie producers to promote upcoming programming.

It generates an estimated $147 million (S$195 million) for the local economy each year, according to the Associated Press.

The lineup in 2019 featured Angelina Jolie and Natalie Portman talking about their roles in films from Walt Disney Co’s Marvel Studios and Tom Cruise previewing a “Top Gun” sequel.