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WonderCon is moving to Los Angeles.
Comic-Con International, the parent company of the pop culture convention that just wrapped its annual celebration of all things geeky in Anaheim over Easter Weekend, has made a deal with AEG Facilities’ Los Angeles Convention Center to bring the convention to the entertainment capital starting in 2016.
“Los Angeles is honored to have been selected as the destination for WonderCon 2016. We look forward to establishing a long-term partnership with Comic-Con International, the presenter, and helping them establish a home base in L.A. We anticipate the show to be highly attended and to set the precedent for future successful Comic-Con events in L.A.,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.
The move could have several repercussions.
It’s seen as an opening salvo in Los Angeles’ bid to muscle in on the super-powered action currently enjoyed by the granddaddy of conventions, San Diego Comic-Con International. That convention, which has been selling out its over 130,000 badges for the last several years, is straining the capacity of its San Diego Convention Center location and has been exploring its options. By showing what it can do with WonderCon, Los Angeles can put itself in pole position to nab it.
The move could also re-energize the Hollywood component of WonderCon. This year’s program, for example, was quite light on studios showing off their wares. Even TV wasn’t as strong as in years past. The hope is that holding it in L.A. will encourage the stars and execs to come out.
The move also, finally, gives Los Angeles an honest-to-gosh major comics convention. The city, which on top of being the home of movie studios is now the headquarters of DC Entertainment, has not put on a show commensurate with its stature. Yes, there are shows such as Comikaze, which is now partnered with Stan Lee’s POW Entertainment, and the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention, but those do not attract the same level of crowds nor talent as a Comic-Con.
WonderCon began life in Oakland, Calif., in 1987 then moved to San Francisco’s Moscone Center in 2003. The latter’s remodeling prompted the convention to find what was billed as a temporary new home, alighting on Anaheim in 2011. It now attracts 60,000 attendees a year.
The projected total economic impact of WonderCon for L.A. is over $32 million over a three-day period, according to Monday’s announcement.
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Samuel L. Jackson