Blog Recap for 20 July, 2023 – ComicCon Interntaional + Optical Media

It’s ComicCon this week! Are you going?

I haven’t been to one in… I’m just guessing based on my photos and journals and such, but I think the last one I went to was in 2013. So, it’s been a decade. I used to love going to ComicCon. There were quite a few years that Darren Davis from Tidal Wave Comics and I would go. We had some truly amazing experiences there.

This was one of the few photos I could find from a ComicCon trip. Darren had this booth and it was sort of our HQ.
By Zachary Hunchar. July 22, 2000.

There was, for me, a clear moment of demarcation between when it was just a comic book convention and when it became a tool of the movie studios. I want to say this was like 2005, 2006. I was walking the main hall, and I ran into a woman who used to work in Lionsgate Acquisitions. She was looking at her Blackberry as she walked. Utterly prepared for what she walked into, I thought to myself, “Well, it was a good run.”

And it was. All of the things I loved about it began to vanish as media attention grew and grew. Every once and a while, I think longingly about what it used to be, but… that’s gone. And I doubt it will ever come back.

So, if you go, have fun. Be safe. And pour one out for this comic book veteran.



I’ve seen some articles discussing Lionsgate’s announced plan about how they intend to spin Starz off from the main company. This is probably the second most talked about topic involving Lionsgate by the business world for as long as I can remember. The most talked about was a larger company buying Lionsgate. That is worth discussing in the future.

I was there and remember when they bought Starz. It was a major investment for the company, but there was logic behind it. Having a premium pay channel that eventually added streaming capabilities made some degree of strategic sense. It was a huge cash outlay (for the mini-major), but it was a net positive, particularly during the pandemic when theatrical was non-existent. One can easily argue that it still is non-existent, but that is a separate matter.

So, for a while, this topic has been rumored and discussed, but now it is becoming more real. And the reason makes sense if you buy into the longest story about Lionsgate. Mainly that they’re looking to get gobbled up by a larger company. The main issue is that most of the companies that have the ability to buy Lionsgate already have a streamer and/or premium pay channel. So, the Starz asset is making it hard for the library to be sold off.

And that’s the key. Lionsgate doesn’t have much to offer most other companies other than a massive library up to a point. Many of these potential suitors have to understand and be cool with a fractured library. Endless content and programming, but with rights licensed out to lots of foreign companies, that may take a while to get back.

What should be interesting for them is the IP within the library. If I were a suitor, the first thing I would be doing is looking to make new content with the stuff in there. Twilight, anyone? Given that they’ve not been able to find a buyer for… well, as long as they’ve existed, we’ll wait and see if this pans out.


There was a news report further reminding me that I’m on the back nine, if you will, of my career and as a resident of this planet. One of the first films I released at Trimark was this fun little sci-fi movie called Star Kid.

I can’t say that it was a great movie, but it was sweet and kind of fun. Unfortunately, this week, the writer/director, Manny Coto passed away. He died after a battle with Pancreatic Cancer. That’s an awful one because it is very hard to detect early and even harder to fight.

Early Detection

I never met the man, but that was one of my early DVD releases. We had a lot of fun putting it together. And the guy was an Executive Producer on Star Trek Enterprise. I really liked that show. And, it’s a shame, but there was a decent chance we could have crossed paths on the Paramount lot as one of the seasons he produced happened while I worked there.


Optical Media

I saw a funny news report this week. Well, it wasn’t funny in the traditional sense. No, this just made me laugh because of what it used to mean to me. The article was about the top sales in HD Format Optical Media (DVD, Blu-Ray, 4k, and 3D.)

Why it made me laugh is that I used to pay close attention to these charts. It was the only way I could understand how I was doing compared to the bigger studios. We only charted with a few projects and were routinely beaten by major films. But it felt good to see a title I produced charting.

In a strange way, it is refreshing to see this data. I only know one person who still buys discs. And, you know what? He’s smart to do that.

Sure, it takes up a lot of space, but… with DRM and licenses for the content, you don’t actually own the product digitally. The content owners can revoke those rights anytime, and then you have nothing. At least with discs, as long as you have something that can play them (and they don’t break down), it’s yours.

Remember that movie studios, TV networks, and streaming services are not your friends. They view you as little more than ATMs. Listen to what Cory Doctorow says about most things.

Top HD Formats Disc Share Per Title for Week Ended 7-1-23



Some More Cool Dispatches