Ar­maged­don ripped off

$60 for self­ies with stars Plus: NZ’s big­gest geeks

Weekend Herald - - Front Page - Tom Dil­lane

Sci-fi stars Christina Ricci, Shan­nen Do­herty and Michael Shanks wil be charg­ing fans $60 for a selfie at next week­end’s Ar­maged­don expo.

The event at Auck­land’s ASB Show­grounds will see 70,000 sci-fi and fan­tasy en­thu­si­asts fil­ter through its gates, many en­ticed by the ap­pear­ance of their on-screen he­roes in the flesh.

But ac­tu­ally meet­ing head­line stars Christina Ricci of The Ad­dams Fam­ily, Shan­nen Do­herty of Charmed or ac­tor Michael Shanks of Star­gate SG-1 TV se­ries, will cost you $50 for an au­to­graph and an ad­di­tional $60 for a photo.

Fans would have to queue in sep­a­rate lines for a selfie and an au­to­graph which could in­volve up to a six­hour wait.

But up to 60 keen fans who want a guar­an­teed au­to­graph and photo from all their favourites as well as be­ing able to skip the lines could pay $1249 for an ul­tra pass, in­clud­ing four­day ac­cess.

Ar­maged­don expo spokes­woman Court­ney Collins said au­to­graph and photo fees were typ­i­cally ne­go­ti­ated through a con­ven­tion agent who booked celebrity guests for ex­pos world­wide.

“Ev­ery­body comes with dif­fer­ent things in their con­tract,” Collins said.

“There are some guests, per­haps they’re in a big movie fran­chise, or they have mul­ti­ple roles. They’re of­ten the ones who cost quite a bit more.

“That’s of­ten some­thing that’s stip­u­lated in their con­tracts when they come to us. But the ma­jor­ity of our guests are placed at $30-$40.”

I’ve seen it first-hand. The queues for the pop­u­lar ones are right out the door. Rochelle Scoones, Ar­maged­don ex­hibitor

And the expo al­ways has some guests sign­ing for free so that fans could “in­ter­act with the guests”, she said.

This year, 18 of the 31 guests would freely sign au­to­graphs in­clud­ing Gregg Berger, the voice of Odie from the Garfield fran­chise and The Gromble from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and Sarah Craven from Star Wars Up­ris­ing and One Punch Man.

Collins said she had “never re­ally had any com­plaints” about the fees.

“I think the peo­ple who are buy­ing au­to­graphs and pho­tos un­der­stand there are dif­fer­ent prices for dif­fer­ent peo­ple, be­cause this is how dif­fer­ent shows over­seas op­er­ate as well, and $40, our basic cost for them, is rel­a­tively cheap in com­par­i­son to events over­seas,” Collins said.

At the US Comic-Con expo au­to­graphs from Wil­liam Shat­ner of Star Trek were re­ported to cost $115 while New Zealand’s own Lucy Law­less of Xena: War­rior Princess charged $130 and Marvel comics ed­i­tor Stan Lee went for $153.

Fans with more cash to spare could also pay $300 for a photo and video with Mark Hamill who played Luke Sky­walker in Star Wars.

Rochelle Scoones would have a stall for her Auck­land busi­ness Ret­ro­space — Sci-Fi Col­lecta­bles at the expo, and said expo au­to­graphs was a talk­ing point among fans.

“I’ve seen it first-hand. The queues for the pop­u­lar ones are right out the door and you’ll be queu­ing eas­ily three hours,” Scoones said.

“It might be $50 for an au­to­graph but the poor pun­ters have to queue maybe three hours for those au­to­graphs — in line to get a photo, then back in line to get the photo signed.

“So you have to have a huge com­mit­ment to be a fan of what you’re queu­ing for. That’s only one guest star. If you want to go back you’re go­ing to spend the whole week­end queu­ing for cer­tain au­to­graphs.

“But that’s what die-hard fans are all about.” Ar­maged­don Expo is on at the ASB Show­grounds, Green­lane, Oc­to­ber 19-22.

Photo/Getty Images

Charmed star Shan­nen Do­herty will be at Ar­maged­don.

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