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Meet the marketer who brought 'Blade Runner' (and Hollywood) to Comic-Con

The convention floor at San Diego Comic-Con 2014.
The convention floor at San Diego Comic-Con 2014.
Mike Roe/KPCC

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Movie studios will – once again – be making a big marketing push for their films at this year’s Comic-Con, but it wasn’t always that way.

The man who’s largely credited with bringing Hollywood to Comic-Con is veteran movie marketer Jeff Walker.

Walker has been attending the convention since the early '70s and presented the original 1982 "Blade Runner" film at Comic-Con. The presentation included a 17-minute short and an appearance from Syd Mead – who is credited as a "visual futurist" – about his concept art for the film.


Walker tells The Frame that he was dejected because the movie wasn't initially the rousing success he'd hoped it would be:

When 'Blade Runner' opened to relatively soft numbers I was incredibly depressed and disappointed. I had worked so hard on that movie. And basically I got a pat on the shoulder and [was told], Just imagine what would have happened if we did nothing. And it comes down to that. When you at least make the effort to go out and show your material to the fans you want most to see it, they'll generally come through. They may not tell everyone else to come through, the word of mouth and the critics may chime in at some point as well, and that's certainly going to do what it does when it happens to any genre of film. But I think having the fans involved is a leg up as opposed to anything else.

Walker went on to work on the marketing campaigns for the Batman, Lord of the Rings, and The Matrix movies at Comic-Con.


At this year's convention, he says he's excited to be an observer at the presentation for the new "Blade Runner 2049" film, coming out this year:

I'm really looking forward to it. I think more than anything I'm anxious to see how the film finally resolves whether or not [Rick] Deckard is a replicant. Because anyone who has seen the original and the boxed set in which the filmmaker asked everyone who worked on the film what they thought, Ridley [Scott] said, 'Yes, he's a replicant,' and Harrison [Ford] said, 'No.' So it'll be interesting to see how they came together and what they decided.

To hear the full interview with Jeff Walker, click the blue player above.

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