What Did You Expect?

As I noted in last Sunday’s POST, I spent the previous week on vacation.  During that week, I was in a place where my access to the Internet was spotty at best, so I missed a lot of the big news that hit over the course of the week.  Of course, being the entertainment junkie that I am, the news that I am referring to was all coming out of the San Diego Comic Con.

While many of the news tidbits were interesting (For example, Joss Whedon is writing a new comic called Twist.), the main thing every is waiting to see is footage!  This year did not disappoint.  While I’m sure these links have made the rounds in many MANY other places, here are a few of my favorites and/or the most notable bits from SDCC. 

NOTE: I am only linking to official releases here.  No leaked footage.  More about that in a bit.

The Sherlock Christmas Special – I love Sherlock anyway, but I’ve been ridiculously excited about this special ever since it was revealed that the special would be set in the Victorian era of the original stories.  This clip didn’t disappoint.  It still feels like the show, the dialogue is fantastic (as always), and the Victorian setting looks great.    

Doctor Who – This was the usual “montage of random clips” type of trailer that Doctor Who tends to release to tease the new season.  I know this is Who heresy, but I’m not a Dalek fan.  The sight of one in the trailer didn’t thrill me.  We do, however, have Missy back and the guest appearance by Maisie Williams (Arya Stark from Game of Thrones) should be fun.  In the end, it’s new Doctor Who, so I’m happy. 

Con Man – This web series sprang out of an Indiegogo campaign by Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion of Firefly fame.  That alone had be on board, but the concept, an actor from a failed sci-fi series does the convention circuit, sounds great.  The trailer is very funny and is filled with cameos from the sci-fi and fantasy world.  It’s as close to a Firefly reunion as we’re probably going to get!

Star Wars ­­- This wasn’t really a trailer but more of a behind-the-scenes look at The Force Awakens focusing VERY heavily on the fact that JJ Abrams is making the movie with practical effects, make-up, and sets.  Yes, this is reassuring after the complaints from the prequel actors about spending on their time on blue and green screen sets.  The acting in the prequels was wooden in many spots, so many this will help.  The real issue as I saw it, though, was in the scripts, particularly the dialogue.  Show me that you fixed that, JJ.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – I feel like I’m mentioning this one more out of an obligation than because I really enjoyed the trailer.  I didn’t enjoy Man of Steel.  I felt that the action scenes were a mess, Clark was too gloomy, and the whole affair was just dour.  BvS seems to be continuing that theme.  I don’t mind a bit of darkness, but this movie doesn’t look fun at all.  Jesse Eisenberg also feels completely wrong for Lex Luthor.  That said, I think Ben Affleck is going to make a good, older Batman.  I’m going to see the movie.  I’m too much of a Superman and Batman fan not too.  I just hope that I’ll actually enjoy it.

Suicide Squad – When this movie was first announced as the follow-up to Batman v Superman, I thought it was a surprising next step for the DC movie universe to take.  Instead of introducing another hero or going straight to one of the heroes from BvS, such as Wonder Woman, we get a movie about a team of super villains forced to work for the government.  The trailer was…a trailer.  Nothing about it got me particularly excited, and I’m not sure about Jared Leto’s Joker.  I am curious to see more, though. 

What I really found interesting, though, was what happened after the trailer screened at SDCC.  Warner Brothers didn’t release an official version online, so exactly what you would expect to happen happened: someone posted a bootleg version shot on a phone.  A while later, Warner Brothers felt forced to put a high-quality version of the trailer online along with the following statement:

“Warner Bros. Pictures and our anti-piracy team have worked tirelessly over the last 48 hours to contain the Suicide Squad footage that was pirated from Hall H on Saturday. We have been unable to achieve that goal. Today we will release the same footage that has been illegally circulating on the web, in the form it was created and high quality with which it was intended to be enjoyed. We regret this decision as it was our intention to keep the footage as a unique experience for the Comic Con crowd, but we cannot continue to allow the film to be represented by the poor quality of the pirated footage stolen from our presentation.”

I’m sorry, but how can this be your official response?  It’s 2015! The Internet is not new. Phones with cameras are not new.  Leaked Comic Con footage is not new.  You had to know that the footage would be online as soon as you showed it at the con.  This response just makes you look behind the times at best and like idiots at worst.

I’m no expert, but it seems to me that you should be working with the fans at the con that are excited about your project rather than against them.  Use SDCC at the launch platform for your trailers.  Show them and then get the high quality trailer online soon after they play at the con.  No one is going to bother uploading or viewing some crappy phone footage if the real deal is online soon thereafter.  You’re not going to lose anything.  Fans are still going to go to SDCC for the chance to be at the panels and see the actors along with the premiere of the footage. 

But studios, be smart.  Put it online!  Or, as you have discovered time and time again, somebody else is going to do it for you.  

- Alan Decker

@CmdrAJD on Twitter