by AJ Adejare
Movies are a big business, especially when it comes to conventions and Anime Expo knows. Marc Perez, CEO of the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), the group that runs the convention wants Hollywood producers to come to the convention and find their next big property. Talking to Variety, Perez notes that Hollywood and Anime Expo have been on friendly terms in previous years, but Perez wants to take that relationship further. They are working to appeal to producers billing themselves as a trade show for anime, “We’re essentially the anime industry’s trade event. We’re hoping to connect the Japanese market with the American market.” Perez also emphasized how Anime Expo is akin to San Diego Comic-Con but for the Asian market, “Essentially, we’re L.A.’s Comic-Con, but our focus is Asian culture as opposed to domestic culture. It’s similar but we’re not attacking them; we’re just coming at it from an Asian perspective.”
Hollywood among other media outlets seems to pick up that notion as well. Jimmy Kimmel plans to come to the convention on July 3rd for his show, the Jimmy Kimmel Show. Kiss members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley will come to the convention center with Momorio Clover Z for a concert. Buzzfeed is even coming with the Try Guys.
The convention does great business for LA. The convention brings over $55 million dollars to the city notes L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. That’s probably why everyone feels happy that the Los Angeles convention center, owned by AEG Facilities, contracted the convention up until 2019, “Los Angeles is excited to welcome Anime Expo back to the L.A. Convention Center for the next five years” Garcetti said.