Official Press Release
Congers, NY (August 16, 2004) - Wizard Conventions, along with its sister company, Wizard Entertainment Group, the country's foremost authorities on everything related to pop-culture, comic books and collectibles, announced today that it had set a new attendance record with its Wizard World Chicago convention, having ushered more than 54,500 attendees through its doors over the course of the three-day show that ran from August 13-15 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
Recognizing the power of Wizard World conventions to attract a mass group of discriminating enthusiasts that can help build powerful word-of-mouth for a comic book property, Warner Brothers Studios and the Batman Begins director, Christopher Nolan, and screenwriter, David Goyer, unveiled exclusive, never-before-seen footage of next summer's must-see blockbuster. The montage, which will not be seen again for months, previewed Batman (Christian Bale) training in the Himalayan mountains, sword fighting with Ducard (Liam Neeson), and taking a test-drive with Lucious Fox (Morgan Freeman) in the latest incarnation of the Batmobile. Nolan and Goyer also confirmed that the two villains in the movie are Ra's Al Ghul and the Scarecrow.
"Compared to last year's show, we were able to demonstrate a 25 percent gain in attendance, a figure that speaks to the popularity of comics and collectibles, as well as Wizard's ability to provide a compelling forum for fans to enjoy the best that pop-culture has to offer," said Gareb Shamus, chairman and CEO of Wizard Conventions, Inc. "The fact that Warner Brothers Studios chose Wizard World Chicago as a forum to preview exclusive footage from Batman Begins further validates Wizard Conventions as national events capable of helping propel a mega-franchise film to its success."
In 2003, Wizard World Chicago attracted approximately 48,000 attendees over its three-day run. Wizard Entertainment Group has held shows in Philadelphia and Los Angeles this year, with its annual Dallas show set for November 5-7. To date, the Wizard conventions are on track to attract more than 100,000 attendees this year, making it the most widely attended series of comic book and collectible conventions in the country.
The consummate provider of the hippest elements of pop culture, Wizard World Chicago also treated fans the opportunity to get up close and personal with the industry's top players through panel discussions, Q&A sessions and autograph signings, including:
* Guest of honor Joss Whedon, the ingeniously creative mind behind Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, as well as the Marvel Comic's Astonishing X-men;
* Kevin Smith, the writer/director/actor who is currently working on the highly anticipated Green Hornet;
* Kelly Hu, who starred as the leather-suited Deathstrike in X2: X-Men United, and as the all-seeing oracle in The Scorpion King;
* Amber Benson, the actress known to millions as teen witch Tara from the wildly popular Buffy: The Vampire Slayer TV series.
Additionally, Wizard World Chicago treated fans to special previews from some of the hottest upcoming entertainment properties, such as this fall's film Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves, based on the Vertigo Comics' Hellblazer series, special features from the DreamWorks for NBC show "Father of the Pride," and Blade: Trinity from New Line Cinema, starring Wesley Snipes and Jessica Biel.
The show also featured scores of the comic book industry's top artists and illustrators and many exclusive, only available at the show collectibles from industry leaders including Mattel, Palisades Toys, Wiz Kids and Master Replicas. The popular Wizard World event series will return to Chicago again next summer, August 5-7, 2005. For more information on upcoming shows, please visit www.wizarduniverse.com.
About Wizard World
Wizard World Los Angeles, Wizard World Philadelphia, Wizard World Chicago and Wizard World Texas are produced by Wizard Conventions Inc. Wizard Conventions is a sister company of Wizard Entertainment, the industry leader in the comic book and collectibles market that publishes four magazines, Wizard: The Comics Magazine, InQuest Gamer: The Gaming Magazine, ToyFare: The Toy Magazine and Anime Insider: The Japanese Animation Magazine, as well as co-publisher of Toy Wishes: The Holiday Gift Guide. Wizard's publications have a monthly national readership of more than 2 million and are currently sold in 25 countries and five languages. For more information, please visit www.wizarduniverse.com