Sony Pictures Teams With Wizard World to Develop Comic-Inspired Projects (Exclusive)

Can the next big movie idea come from a comic convention? Sony thinks so.
Courtesy of Sony, Wizard World
Jeffrey Godsick (left), John Maata

For years, movie executives and producers have scoured comic book conventions in the hopes of discovering an unmoored piece of intellectual property that could become the next big thing.

Sony Pictures Entertainment is now formally making comic conventions a part of the movie development process by teaming with Wizard World, one of the largest producers of pop-culture fan expos.

Sony and Wizard World will work to jointly discover new talent from across Wizard World’s numerous conventions around the country, optioning their work to incubate and develop these stories into various media.

Sony Pictures Consumer Marketing executive vp, brand strategy and global partnerships Jeffrey Godsick, who will oversee the relationship for the studio, said Monday in a statement: “You’re not necessarily sure where the next great IP is going to come from. When you go into an Artists’ Alley or see the booths, you realize there is a lot of good work out there. Wizard World has a credibility in that world and with their help, we will have access and insight that is rare.”

Wizard World conducts around 15 conventions a year and will soon grow that number. And the events are in cities and states such as Cleveland, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; Oklahoma City; and Madison, Wisconsin, which are far from media hotbeds. There will even be a convention in Peoria, Illinois, this year.

“You will be see all sorts of people that you don’t see in Los Angles,” said Wizard World CEO John D. Maatta, pointing out that there is a lot of undiscovered country between Los Angeles and New York. “Gold is where you find it.”

A formal process hasn’t yet been determined for accessing the immense amount of content seen at comic conventions, but it will initially start out with pitch sessions and conversations, growing from there.  

“We are always looking for new ways to find that next generation of great IP,” said Jonathan Kadin, executive vp production for Sony Pictures, who will be involved in developing the new projects. “This deal gives us unique access to the incredible talent that Wizard World can bring to the table, putting us in a prime position to find the stories that break through the clutter.”

It also grows the brand of Wizard World, which is seeking to move beyond its roots in live exhibition and evolve into including licensing, retail and location-based entertainment.

“The fandom is alive and vibrant all across America,” said Maatta. “And the large media companies are finally seeing it.”