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Streaming Services Make Splash at Lucca Comics & Games Confab

Lucca Comics & Games is paying homage this year to the thousands of fans who flock to the ancient Tuscan town for this unique immersive event dedicated to pop culture, cosplay and the whole world of comics — including movies, TV and now streaming platforms such as Netflix.

“Heroes” was the theme organizers picked for the 51st edition of Europe’s biggest comics and games meet (Nov. 1-5), which is dedicated first and foremost to the increasing onslaught of fans, some arriving from as far as the U.S., Japan and Australia.

Last year, Lucca attracted a total of 271,000 attendees, up from roughly 254,000 in 2015. That is more than twice as many as Comic-Con in San Diego, though access to both is limited. And more than 5% came to the Tuscan event from outside Italy, according to data provided by the fest.

But while Lucca’s appeal is nothing new, the novelty this year is that Netflix is at the event in force.

Making its Lucca debut, Netflix tub-thumped the season two premiere of its hit supernatural series “Stranger Things” by faithfully re-creating the show’s Upside Down alternate world for fans in the underground tunnels of a medieval bastion.

Netflix also dedicated Nov. 2 to the new “Star Trek: Discovery” skein, available to international viewers on the streaming service.

“It’s increasingly becoming a global platform to launch content,” says Giovanni Cova, head of Milan-based entertainment marketing company QMI. The company approached Lucca several years ago to start its film section, which has rapidly become an integral part of the Hollywood studios promotional push into Europe.

“On the one hand it’s about screenings, panels, talents and all the things you would have at these types of events,” he says. “The medieval city offers possibilities of creating events to engage with an audience that are absolutely unique.”

Italy’s burgeoning TimVision streaming platform promoted “The Handmaid’s Tale,” its top show. Local rival Mediaset’s Infinity celebrated this year’s “Heroes” theme by offering makeup artists ready to transform attendees into one of the superheroes that reside on that platform, including Superman, Batman and the Flash. Infinity also launched nail salon-set dramedy “Claws” with, what else, free nail-art treatments.

Warner Bros. promoted DC franchise superhero pic “Justice League,” ahead of its Nov. 16 Italian outing, and TV series “The Big Bang Theory” and “Riverdale.” Universal plugged “Happy Death Day,” which will launch in Italian cinemas on Nov. 9. Disney showed footage of Pixar’s “Coco,” ahead of its Christmas Day Italo release, while Eagle Pictures provided an exclusive sneak peek of family comedy sequel “Paddington 2.”

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