Warner Bros and DC Entertainment have two films coming out next year: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice releases on March 25 and Suicide Squad releases on August 5. Both films are highly anticipated from fans, but both films are going about delivering information about the two films in incredibly different ways.
While there's other films coming out using the tactics we're about to talk about, like X-Men Apocalypse and Ant-Man, we're going to keep this discussion limited to Suicide Squad and Batman v. Superman because they're both coming out of the Warner Bros camp.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice has been playing their cards pretty close to their chest. We recently saw the Batmobile unveiled in public, and a teaser, but it's essentially been pretty quiet. There's even been people cast in the film and no announcement who they're playing. The movie is 9 months away, so it's reasonable to think there wouldn't be a plethora of information out there, but it's puzzling to not see a lot coming from director Zack Snyder or anyone else when you see what's going on with Suicide Squad.
With the release date of the film 14 months away, we've already seen tons of cast photos and set photos as Suicide Squad shoots in Toronto. Director David Ayer has been pretty open about talking about the film on Twitter and passing along photos of the cast. In addition, there's been tons of pictures from the set showing a few scenes for the movie.
The question remains that is showing off pictures from the set and talking about the movie, more than 8 months to the release the smart way to go or is it just too much?
Before we can answer that, you have to look at the two properties. Both Batman and Superman are tested properties that will do well. While the 2013 film Man of Steel seemed to be a bit polarizing, it made money, and as far as Batman goes, he's Batman. He'll do fine, with or without prep.
Suicide Squad is an unfamiliar property to the average person. They don't know what that is and the title "Suicide Squad" may be a little bit of a turn-off to some people. How do you combat that? Put big names in the film and throw Joker in to the mix. That'll get people talking about the film.
It's important to remember that while these characters and properties are important to us, the average comic book reader, the "regular moviegoer" has no clue what a "Deadshot" is, but if you put Will Smith under that mask, you've piqued their interest.
Here's where things get a bit different. At the point in time where casting is announce and release dates are announced, there's a lot of hype for both films. Some people are excited and some are hating it, but regardless, people are talking about them both. From there, information about Batman v. Superman slowly trickled out, here and there, and Suicide Squad photo shoots were revealed, which got the Internet talking, for good and bad.
Let's just get right down to it. First and foremost, if there's a comic book movie coming out, I'm going to see it. Sure, it may take me until the DVD release to see it (sorry Kingsman, you were wonderful), but I will eventually see it, and many comic book fans are the same way. We've spent quite a while, hanging in the shadows, loving what we love, and now that what we love is cool, we're going to support it.
What I'm getting at is that when Suicide Squad was announced, I couldn't have cared less. I thought to myself "well, there's the first major comic book movie I won't see in the theater." I kept that a bit to myself because my first reactions to any comic book news tend to be silly and over-critical.
Then, we started getting the pictures of the cast and scenes from the set. Now, while I freely admit that I, too, threw a fanboy fit when the Joker pictures came out with all the tattoos, like many comic book fans, when we started seeing pictures and videos from the Joker being chased down by Batman, I was totally on board. The images we saw, from a scene that was probably a whole 30 seconds long, was actually pretty rad.
As more and more come out, the more I'm totally down on seeing this film. It may not be the adaptation of these characters, from looks alone, that some fans want, but director David Ayer is doing something smart by helping keep the hype for the the film by releasing photos and shooting scenes publicly. There may be a downside to all of this though.
Suicide Squad is set to come out in August, next year. Can people stay excited and hyped up for a film that's more than a year away from its theatrical release? That seems like a long time to be thinking about the upcoming release of a film. My guess is that people outside of the daily Internet comic news cycle (the average movie goer) will probably completely forget about the film until trailers start coming out next year where we'll see a cavalcade of average Americans standing in line reminding each other they saw pictures of Will Smith and Jared Leto last year and they looked "so cool." That's the end game here.
In the long-run, this tactic may work. We can't say anything for sure, but this might actually be the way to get people excited about a property they've never heard of. This could be Warner Bros and DC's Guardians of the Galaxy, trying to prove that you don't just need the big hero names to make a film people want to see.
As for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the average comic fan might be a tad disappointed we aren't seeing set photos or being bombarded information about the film, but we have to keep in mind that the endgame of the film is to make money and the title alone, as long as the trailer don't make the film look insanely terrible, will bring in a mainstream audience. I mean, Batman is "v"ing Superman. Who doesn't want to see that?
We want to know what you think though. Do you prefer seeing tons of set photos or would you rather studios try their best to keep things in the dark?
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