Batman and Superman v. Fans

Graeme McMillan wrote an opinion piece for The Hollywood Reporter about the online reaction to trailer for Warner Bros. next superhero movie. Unfortunately, Graeme misplaces the blame for the reaction to the trailer at the feet of the fans. It’s not Warner Bros. that has a problem, it’s the people that love Superman and Batman, or films, that have a problem. We’re all such jerks.

Think of it as “A Tale of Two Trailers.” Thursday saw the release of teasers for both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and, thanks to what appears to be a camera phone-aided leak, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Both are among the most eagerly-anticipated movies of the next twelve months, but that’s pretty much where the similarity ended. While The Force Awakens was met with a huge embrace, the response to Batman v Superman was a whole lot cooler — and crankier.

This is an apt comparison to make. I also made that same comparison.

Graeme feels like The Force Awakens’ marketing task was a small hurdle:

By contrast, Star Wars: The Force Awakens had a far easier job: all it had to do was convince the audience that it was the Star Wars that they grew up with.

Oh. That’s all! Easy-peasy.

Ultimately, audiences know as much (or, really, as little) about The Force Awakens as they do BVS, but because the latter is building off of a base of goodwill as opposed to apathy or outright suspicion, the Force trailer was successful in a way that the BVS trailer can only dream of being.

Who’s fault is that, Graeme? It’s not the fault of the fans. It’s not the fault of people that saw Man of Steel. It’s not like they’ve been unfairly maligned by a smear campaign from someone else making a terrible Superman movie.

Graeme even compares the plight of Batman v. Superman to Terminator Genisys [sic]. He says that fans reject the premise so strongly, so Fox couldn’t help but release a trailer that shows the twist of the movie three months before the film hits theaters. Fans are such jerks for making them ruin their movie!


Trailers are marketing tools, and they exist to get people into theaters, but don’t “ruin” your movie to try and get people in to theaters. Fretting that BvS is equally ridiculous.

Trailers, ultimately, are tricks; they’re something that exists to convince the audience that, hey, this movie is exactly what you want to see! Unfortunately, such tricks only work on audiences that are willing to be convinced, or at least open to persuasion.

Yes, trailers are tricks. They are marketing instruments that often have little to do with the final film. They are laboriously constructed to get people to go to theaters opening weekend. With franchise films, they are specifically about building off good feelings that already exist toward a piece of intellectual property — like a novel, comic book, film, or TV show.

This piece of marketing does not appeal to me, or seemingly, almost anyone. That is a failure of marketing. The trailer might be accurate to what the film winds up being, but then it’s a failure of marketing, and a failure of filmmaking.

JJ Abrams, and Disney, had an uphill battle with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. They created an appealing piece of marketing. What the final film ends up being — well, we’ll see. That is a heroic feet.

2015-04-19 08:03:10

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