Newsarama has learned through various sources that Wizard Entertainment has cancelled its upcoming Los Angeles convention and is reportedly cancelling its Dallas conventions as well.WizardWorld LA was scheduled for March 13-15 at the Los Angeles Convention Center; and Dallas for November 6-8. Newsarama confirmed the information about the L.A. show early Friday afernoon when a spokesperson for the L.A. Convention Center said that they that had been notified via voicemail on Friday morning that Wizard was canceling its show. Other sources have confirmed for Newsarama that the Texas show has been cancelled as well. The move will halve Wizard’s convention schedule, leaving only Philadelphia on June 19-21 and Chicago, on August 6-9. The news comes as something of a sudden change, as guests for the LA show, including Stan Lee, Grant Morrison, Brian Bendis, James Robinson and more had already been named, and vendors have already reserved space and paid desposits on the con floor. As noted, the cancellations cut back on Wizard’s convention presence, and reduce the number of current WizardWorld events to two, from an all-time high of five which included WizardWorld: Boston, a show that was axed in 2006 after a soft showing at its debut in 2005. The company also announced plans to expand with an Atlanta show in 2006, but dropped them. There was heavy opposition to a WizardWorld: Atlanta from both fans and professionals, as its scheduling placed it on the same weekend as Charlotte’s Heroes Convention, held in Charlotte, NC, 250 miles away. In 2006, the company also fired two senior WizardWorld staffers. Many have openly speculated on the viability of the shows, as well as Wizard's convention business, as both the Los Angeles and Dallas shows have never delivered fully on their potential in the eyes of pundits. Wizard movied the West Coast show from Long Beach (where is ran for two years) to Los Angeles in 2006 to better capitalize on the accessibility and availability of film studios and celebrities. The show in Texas, by most accounts was a smaller, but solid comic book show, unremarkable other than for having "WizardWorld" in its name. In recent years, both Marvel and DC Comics had stopped setting up booths at the show. Last year, the Texas show merges with the "Fear Fest" horror convention as a means to attract a larger audience, but at the same time, they lost their sole branding of the show. Advance tickets have already been offered for sale for WizardWorld: Los Angeles.
UPDATE Friday, January 9th, 5:00pm: Wizard has issued a press release saying:
Wizard Entertainment announced today that it has postponed its 2009 Wizard World Los Angeles show slated for March 13-15 and cancelled the Wizard World Texas show November 6-8 due to the current economic climate.
The successful Philadelphia and Chicago shows will go on as planned. Wizard World Philadelphia, featuring Guest of Honor Garth Ennis, is June 19-21 at the Philadelphia Convention Center and Wizard World Chicago, featuring comic legend George Perez, is August 6-9 at the Rosemont Convention Center.
For tickets and more information about Wizard World Philadelphia and Chicago, be sure to visit www.wizarduniverse.com.