×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Comic-con shows celebs love

Event planners providing talent with safe houses

For celebrities descending on Comic-Con Intl. this week, San Diego’s fan-filled convention center can seem a little daunting.

But a growing number of event planners are providing talent with safe houses away from the crowds of admirers during the day.

After organizing parties for the Weinstein Co.’s “Piranha 3D” and Magnet Releasing’s thrillers at Comic-Con last year, David Manning’s A-List Communications decided to open the doors to the Arts & Cinema Center on Thursday as a three-day hospitality and media hub.

“Obviously the parties at night are great, but we wanted to jump into the daytime component,” said Manning whose company organizes gifting suites, press junkets and premiere afterparties for studios and other entertainment clients in Hollywood.

The idea of the 6,000 square-foot retail space, which occupies the former Active Ride Shop in the Gaslamp Quarter, is to provide “a refuge and a refresh zone,” said Manning, with free food and wi-fi access.

But the space will also host the WireImage Portrait Studio for reps to take publicity stills in a quieter location near the convention center, guaranteeing a steady flow of star wattage.

“It’s designed to take care of publicity needs,” Manning said. “We’ve had this formula of creating more tame and controlled environments where people can handle their press needs in between the panels.”

Another carrot: Charity. Funds from photos made available for the public to buy on ThePhotoFund.com will go to the American Red Cross.

To keep the space active, venue will also serve as the home of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment’s “Limitless” Cafe, to promote the pic’s DVD and Blu-ray release this week. Magnet Releasing will use it for the cocktail reception of its comedy “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil,” while thriller “Sushi Girl” will also have a soiree there.

Across the street at the Omni Hotel, Wired magazine is hosting its Wired Cafe for the third year from the Palm Terrace, and will recreate a smaller version of “True Blood’s” Fangtasia bar from the show, through a partnership with HBO. Last year, event featured Merlotte’s Bar from the series.

“Three years ago, we saw an opportunity to plant our flag in the ground as Comic-Con began to grow in stature and a chance to bring something different to the show with the Wired Cafe,” said Howard Mittman, VP and publisher at Wired. “The way the film industry has used innovative technologies and advancements in animation to bring some of the comic-driven storylines and characters to life is very Wired.”

In addition to handing out bottles of True Blood, Acer showcases new computers, Cirque du Soleil’s “Ka” sponsors a photobooth, Tart provides makeovers, and Epilog Laser will engrave iPhone backs for talent and press. VIPs last year included the “True Blood” cast, Eli Roth, Zachary Quinto, Kellan Lutz, Robert Rodriguez, Danny Trejo, Jim Parsons, Kristen Bell and Nina Dobrev.

Nearby, CNET and GameSpot will host its own CNET Base Station, Thursday and Friday, at Lou & Mickey’s restaurant across from the convention center, also with food, videogame demos, wi-fi and charging stations.

Meanwhile, IGN is reaching out to gamers with the IGN Oasis, backed by chipmaker AMD, at the Hard Rock Hotel’s 207 bar and patio with free merchandise and giveaways, while the IGN Sprint Gaming Lounge, at the Martin Luther King Promenade Park in front of the Gaslamp Hilton, will promote Capcom titles including “Marvel vs. Capcom 3” and “Street Fighter X Tekken.”

Given the notable names and media expected to walk through the doors, sponsors have lined up to hype their products. Nintendo is the presenting sponsor of A-List’s venue, to promote the 25th anniversary of its “Legend of Zelda” franchise, its newest release, “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” and its Nintendo 3DS handheld.

Comic-Con has “grown into a key pop culture event,” Manning said. “A lot of the brands you’re seeing are brands who ascribe to go after the younger male audience.”Other brands are focused solely on the celebs.

A long-standing traditional in Hollywood, the gifting suite, is now headed to Comic-Con, as well.

Renee Simlak Prods is hosting an opening night reception, as well as a private gifting lounge for celebs looking to score goodies at the geekfest, at the Meridian, a luxury downtown condominium. The invite-only event, promoted by AMB Publicity, promises a fanboy free elite experience complete with spa services, electronics, “lifestyle accessories,” and a noticeable lack of Storm Troopers and thirtysomethings dressed as the Joker.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Keke Palmer BlogHer19 Summit

    Keke Palmer Brought to Tears Accepting Truth Teller Award at #BlogHer19 Creators Summit

    Keke Palmer stood surprised and wide-mouthed on the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit stage as she was presented with the Truth Teller Award for her recent acting work — and her viral “sorry to this man” clip. “This means so much,” the multi-hyphenated star softly whispered as she got teary-eyed upon accepting the award. Last week, the [...]

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19:

    Emmys 2019: Inside All the Hottest Pre-Parties

    It’s (Emmys) party time! Before the 71st annual Emmys go live on Sunday, stars and execs are keeping busy by party-hopping in the days leading up to the big show. Here, Variety gives you the inside details on who was where and what they were doing. Keep checking back right here throughout the weekend for [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez Green Dress

    Jennifer Lopez Closes Out Versace Show in Famous Green Grammys Dress

    Jennifer Lopez has found her way back into the Versace dress that broke the internet in 2000. The “Hustlers” star closed out Versace’s Spring 2020 show in a re-worked version of the revealing, bright green silk chiffon dress that she wore to the Grammy Awards 20 years ago. The dress quickly became a pop-culture phenomenon, [...]

  • 10 Storytellers to Watch

    Variety Celebrates Inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch Event

    Storytellers from across the spectrum of entertainment — film, literature, podcasting and play writing — were honored Thursday at Variety’s inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch luncheon at Gramercy Park Hotel, hosted with partner the Independent Filmmaker Project and presented by Audible. Honorees Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of “Friday Black”; “Limetown” podcasters Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie; [...]

  • Demi Moore Corporate Animals

    Demi Moore Teases Upcoming Memoir 'Inside Out,' Talks 'Corporate Animals' Team Bonding

    As Demi Moore gears up for the Sept. 24 release of her autobiography “Inside Out,” the actress says she feels like a weight has been lifted. “Even the stuff that I may have been nervous about is completely lifting…because it’s a process,” Moore told Variety at the premiere of her upcoming film “Corporate Animals” at [...]

  • Connie Britton BlogHer Summit

    Connie Britton on ‘Friday Night Lights’ Remake: ‘You Need to Let it Go’

    Connie Britton opened up at a fireside chat Wednesday at the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit in Brooklyn by talking about one of her most beloved roles — Tami Taylor in the fan favorite series “Friday Night Lights.” When asked if a remake of the sports cult film and Emmy-winning TV show is in the works she [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content