After a flurry of major announcements and teases from Netflix over the weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, it’s clear that the popular streaming service has gone all in on the fan-friendly marketing blitz.
In 2016, after staying relatively quiet at Comic-Con in previous years, Netflix made its presence known when it offered quite a bit of news and previews for its series of Marvel comic-book spin-offs (Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil, etc.) that feed into the upcoming superhero team-up series, The Defenders. This past weekend, Netflix outdid that marketing effort, and then some, with news and teasers related to the Emmy-nominated phenomenon Stranger Things, two highly-anticipated original feature movies, and some major Defenders reveals.
Netflix reportedly had the thousands of attendees of this year’s Comic-Con buzzing with the debut of a new trailer for the upcoming second season of the massive hit sci-fi series Stranger Things, teasing new episodes premiering at the end of October. By all accounts out of San Diego, Netflix easily packed the 6,000-capacity Hall H of the city’s convention center, which typically hosts Comic-Con’s biggest panels. Netflix also used the convention’s biggest hall to debut the premiere episode of The Defenders, with the mini-series set to premiere online in less than a month, on August 18.
But, it was at the panel for Netflix’s most expensive feature film to date that the streaming service sent a message that Netflix is a force to be reckoned with on par with other Comic-Con stalwarts like HBO. Last year, Netflix paid a reported $90 million to acquire the fantasy epic Bright, which stars Will Smith and will debut online in December. When the official trailer for the big-budget sci-fi film premiered at Comic-Con, Bright director David Ayer (Suicide Squad, Fury) fired off a shot at HBO’s massively popular fantasy series when he declared “This is the house of Netflix!”—a reference to the noble houses of Game of Thrones characters.
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Bright is among the latest examples of Netflix’s growing investment in original feature films, as well as the recent military satire War Machine (which cost a reported $60 million). As Netflix continues to spend more and more on original content—more than $6 billion this year alone—the company is also branching out its typical marketing efforts to include building up buzz among throngs of fans at events like Comic-Con. Netflix also used the convention to tout a new clip of Death Note, its feature film adaptation of a popular Japanese manga comic series.
Netflix’s big showing in San Diego this year actually stands in contrast to some traditional Hollywood studios that have toned down their Comic-Con presence in recent years amid questions over the effectiveness of an all-out marketing blitz at the fan-friendly event. However, the streaming company certainly wasn’t alone in using the convention to roll out the red carpet for its highly-touted new content. For instance, in addition to The Defenders, Walt Disney-owned Marvel Studios was also a ubiquitous presence yet again, with updates on several upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe films, including next year’s Avengers: Infinity War. Meanwhile, HBO made waves with new trailers for Game of Thrones and Westworld, while sister company Warner Bros. also gave fans its fair share of excitement over the upcoming Justice League movie from DC Comics.