Posts Tagged ‘Warner Bros.’

Is Warner Bros. Doing a Poor Job Marketing the Wonder Woman Movie?

May 2, 2017

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We are exactly one month out from the theatrical release of Wonder Woman, and first off, oh my lord we’re only a month away from Wonder Woman! How amazing is that? Fans have been waiting years, decades really, for a Wonder Woman movie and we’re finally about to get one. Plus it’s actually looking pretty cool. From everything we’ve seen thus far, it feels like Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, and the whole team have put together something fun, exciting, and most importantly true to the character. We got two TV trailers at the end of last week that made me increasingly hopeful about the film:

We also got this longer preview during Gotham last night, and it was great too:

The trailers are funny, which is good to see because that’s something the DCEU’s been sorely lacking, but they’re also stylish and action packed. I also appreciate that neither these nor the full trailers have given away too much story. We don’t even have an official look at Ares in full on Ares mode yet, and that shows some admirable restraint.

More importantly, these new trailers are telling me exactly what I want to hear about the Amazons and Wonder Woman, namely that the Amazons were created to bring peace to the world and that Diana is their champion for this cause. The “Power” spot has the tagline “There is a power greater than man,” which is perfect, and it’s hard not to get excited when you hear Wonder Woman say, “I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.” That’s who Wonder Woman is, and it’s encouraging to see that they’ve captured the essence of the character in this way.

However, while the trailers are fantastic, there’s been some concerns in the fan and film communities about Wonder Woman‘s lack of marketing more broadly. We’re only a month out now and we’re just starting to see TV trailers roll out, plus there seems to be a lack of Wonder Woman product branding, tie-ins, and what have you. Others suggest that the film is about on track, with Warner Bros. having spent the same amount of money a month out with Suicide Squad as they have thus far with Wonder Woman. There are interesting points on either side of this issue across myriad posts you can read at your leisure.

Having followed Wonder Woman closely, I fall on the side of being underwhelmed by the marketing thus far. Just over a year ago, I was up to my ears in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice paraphernalia. That movie was EVERYWHERE, not just in theater and television advertising but in piles upon piles of branded products, toys, and other items. There were cereals, for goodness sake, one for Batman and one for Superman. And the marketing team made a big show of sending them out to notable folks in a special box so that they’d share it on social media. It was all a bit goofy and over the top, and the flavours of the cereal sounded disgusting, but it speaks to the omnipresence of the Batman v Superman marketing that their weird cereals got such a massive push.

Wonder Woman doesn’t have her own movie branded cereal. In fact, she’s got little in the way of any grocery item tie-ins, apart from Dr. Pepper. Wonder Woman is different than Batman v Superman in little ways as well, like Lego, for example. Batman v Superman got three different Lego sets, while Wonder Woman has only one. It looks super rad, with Ares and Steve’s plane and such, but it’s still just one set. A month before Batman v Superman, you could walk through any major store, be it grocery or big box generally, and see Batman and/or Superman stuff EVERYWHERE. We were inundated with it. A month out from Wonder Woman, the Wonder Woman items are few and far between.

Now, I don’t think that Warner Bros. is intentionally trying to tank Wonder Woman or anything nefarious like that. But I do think it’s clear that they allotted far, far more resources and effort to their dumb movie where the superhero boys punched it out than they have to Wonder Woman. And this is somewhat troubling, because even with all that effort, Batman v Superman  only did about fine at the box office. It made Warner Bros. a good amount of money and obviously the franchise is continuing, but it wasn’t near major Marvel levels despite the fact that it starred the two most famous superhero characters in the universe. With all of that marketing effort behind it, Batman v Superman still got bested by the lower budget, R-rated Deadpool in the United States.

The thing is, Batman and/or Superman can have a mid-level performance at the box office and be fine. We’ve seen it several times over. Batman & Robin sucked? Don’t worry, here comes the Nolan trilogy. Superman Returns flopped? Don’t worry, here comes Man of Steel. Warner Bros., and studios generally, are dedicated to their male characters. This is not the case with female characters. If Wonder Woman doesn’t do well, it might be a long time before Warner Bros. takes another crack at her, and it would certainly hamper the chances for future female-led superhero films.

That’s why the underwhelming marketing for Wonder Woman thus far is a concern. An aggressive marketing push can really help a film succeed, but the studio seems to be taking a more relaxed approach. It feels like a missed opportunity on multiple levels. First, strongly pushing Wonder Woman would show that Warner Bros. is committed to Wonder Woman and female leads generally, which would have been nice to see. Second, a successful Wonder Woman would inevitably come with a strong female fanbase that could even further expand the audience for the DCEU, which would be great for the studio. And third, after decades of development, they’ve finally got a Wonder Woman movie and it looks really good, so it would make sense to set it up in the best position possible. And Warner Bros. isn’t quite doing that, relative to how they’ve promoted movies in the past.

The good news is that Wonder Woman does look great. The new trailers are fantastic, the movie feels exciting and cool and different, and the buzz has been very positive thus far. I’m optimistic not only that the movie will be good, but that it will do well. It just would have been nice to see more of a push from Warner Bros. to help ensure that it does more than well. Hopefully it does so on its own merits, and maybe we’ll see lots more promotional stuff roll out in the weeks to come. It just doesn’t feel like Warner Bros. has treated Wonder Woman like the landmark movie it should be.

New Wonder Woman Movie Trailer Explores Her Origins

March 13, 2017

A new trailer for Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman debuted this weekend, and I’m happy to report that the movie is still looking great. We got a lot of new footage in this one, including a decent amount of time spent on Themyscira, and I really liked a lot of what I saw. Now, of course, this is the DCEU; good trailers don’t necessarily mean good movies. But so far, Wonder Woman has been hitting it out of the park and that has me cautiously optimistic about the film.

Warner Bros. describes the video as the “Origin Trailer” and thus we got a good look at the Amazons. They remain super bad ass and cool, and I like the design of the island and the Amazons themselves a lot. We also get some flashbacks, including a peek at a young Diana who is just adorable:

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I’m hoping we get a few scenes with her because she seems cute and fun.

Little Diana is staring at the “god killer” sword there, and I do remain irked at how much attention the sword is getting. Wonder Woman’s never been a character who wields a sword until very recently; she’s got a golden lasso that she’s rather famed for, and I wish that’s what young Diana was eying rather than a sword. To me, sword fighting just isn’t who the character is. But I was pleased to see the lasso play a key role as the trailer progressed, including this rad takedown:

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Hopefully Wonder Woman’s real weapon gets its due throughout the movie as well.

On top of that lasso scene, we got a bunch of other cool action shots too. I think Wonder Woman is going to have some epic fight scenes. Everything we’ve seen so far looks very cool, and Wonder Woman’s fighting scenes in Batman v Superman were easily the most entertaining part of that movie. All of the action clips we’ve seen thus far in Wonder Woman trailers look exciting and well-shot, and it’s going to be a blast to see the full scenes.

One thing I’m particularly glad to see every trailer has included is humour, and this new one is no exception. Gal Gadot’s fish-out-of-water Diana shtick looks like it should be entertaining, Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor seems good for some wisecracks, and Lucy Davis’ Etta Candy looks like she’s poised to steal the whole show. I liked her trying to dissuade Diana from carrying her sword in public:

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The humour in DCEU movies hasn’t been great, at all, and it’s nice to see some genuinely funny bits  are coming with Wonder Woman.

Finally, the trailer appears to confirm the daughter of Zeus origin story. Hippolyta ominously tells Antiope that Diana “must never know the truth about what she is,” which sounds like it might be a Zeus-related secret given this lightning display later on in the trailer:

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I don’t care for the Zeus origin at all. I much prefer the clay origin, in which no men are involved and Diana’s origins are distinctly female and feminist. Making her a demigod who gets her powers from a man is boring, dumb, and kind of misses the point of the character. I’m hoping it’s not a huge point of focus for the movie, and that Zeus doesn’t come up too much.

So yeah, Wonder Woman looks pretty great. And in ways that seem to be addressing how DC’s other movies have been not at all great, which is encouraging. This could be really cool. And we’re less than three months away now! Can you believe it? Wonder Woman’s finally getting her own movie! And just when we need her the most.

Open Letter From WB “Insider” Calls Wonder Woman Movie “A Mess”, Patty Jenkins Disagrees

August 15, 2016

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In a fun bit of internet drama late last week, Pajiba posted an open letter from a pseudonymed, irate Warner Bros. employee addressed to the company’s CEO, Kevin Tsujihara. The letter took Tsujihara to task for a variety of box office bombs and underperforming franchises, failures for which lower level employees have borne the brunt via layoffs. There’s been some debate about the legitimacy of the letter writer and many have called it a fake written by a fan; the letter has tidbits of insider knowledge, though perhaps not enough to prove her credibility wholly. Regardless of its authenticity, the letter is an amusing scorcher, and is particularly interesting for what it has to say about Warner Bros.’s upcoming Wonder Woman film in the wake of Suicide Squad‘s critical drubbing:

What are you even doing? I wish to God you were forced to live out of a car until you made a #1 movie of the year. Maybe Wonder Woman wouldn’t be such a mess. Don’t try to hide behind the great trailer. People inside are already confirming it’s another mess. It is almost impressive how you keep rewarding the same producers and executives for making the same mistakes, over and over.

We don’t get many specifics, but the implication seems to be that Wonder Woman is in a troubling state in the same way that Suicide Squad was, i.e. a film developed in a similarly dark vein as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice scrambling to change its tone after critics eviscerated Batman v Superman and the film failed to deliver the studio’s box office expectations (it made a lot of money, sure, but all sources suggest that Warner Bros. expected it to be a billion dollar movie, which it wasn’t). Suicide Squad had massive reshoots trying to strike a lighter tone, and the resulting film is a bizarre jumble that’s just plummeted at the box office in its second week. This open letter suggests that Wonder Woman might be experiencing similar troubles.

Whether or not this is true, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins took to Twitter to defend the film and call into question the report. Combined into a paragraph with her original spelling and grammar, Jenkins wrote:

Woah, just saw this press about WW having problems. Are they serious? This is some made up bs right here. Made up! Produce a source, anyone. You can’t because it’s entirely false. Don’t believe the hype people. Someone’s trying to spread some serious misinfo. Isn’t until you are intimately involved in these things that you realize how totally false these rumors can. Let me reassure you zero about the movie we are making has been called a mess by anyone in the know. Fact. Real lasso of truth, time, will reveal that letter to be false soon enough. But lame something so transparent in its agenda gets traction.

It’s an unequivocal defense of the movie, which is to be expected from its director, really. Though we’ve seen other directors at Warner Bros. talk about how well their film is going and how everyone is on board only to end up with cinematic messes; see: Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. Still, Wonder Woman is ten months away and I doubt there’s even much of a rough cut yet, much less anything near a finished picture. Unless it’s been terrible from the start, it’s unlikely there’s much for folks at Warner Bros. to praise or criticize yet. Plus Geoff Johns co-wrote the film, and he’s the poster boy for DC’s new, more fun direction. Wonder Woman may turn out to be the first film in this new tone, rather than the last of the original dark tone.

As always with rumoury movie news, time will tell. The trailer for Wonder Woman was fantastic, Gal Gadot is a great Wonder Woman, and the rest of the cast seems strong. I’m not worried about it yet, apart from my general worry about any superhero film that involves Zack Snyder in any capacity. The open letter will either be a prescient warning if the movie is bad or something we all forget about if it’s good. I remain cautiously optimistic it will be good. Maybe I’m fooling myself after Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Suicide Squad, but I’m hoping for the best.

The Only Important Moments From The New Batman v Superman Trailer, aka. AW YEAH, WONDER WOMAN!!

July 13, 2015

At the Warner Bros. movie panel at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, Zack Snyder unveiled a new, full length trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s about three and a half minutes long, and gives us a better sense of what the movie is going to be about. It seems that Superman destroyed a Wayne building during his indiscriminate Zod rampage in Man of Steel and now Batman is wicked mad about it, so they’re going to fight and such. Here’s a look at the trailer:

Now, most of this trailer isn’t great. Everyone’s all grumpy and angry, fighting when they should be friends. That’s not cool. Lex Luthor is a Zuckerbergian twit we all want to slap the sass out of. Don’t even get me started on Ma Kent; I mean, “You don’t owe this world a thing”?? Great inspirational speech, Ma Kent. Between her and Pa “Maybe you should have let them die” Kent, it’s no wonder this version of Superman is so screwed up. So much of Zack Snyder’s approach to Superman is just massively, infuriatingly wrong.

So yeah, it’s all dark and gloomy and operatically serious. Aquaman’s not even in it, which is a bad call. Jason Momoa makes everything better. But then this happens:

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Oh dang, it’s Wonder Woman!! Looking all kinds of bad ass even with the colours so ridiculously desaturated. Some poor sucker is about to get a punch that is not going to feel good. It’s never a good idea to make Wonder Woman mad.

And then this goes down:

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AHHHHHHHHHHH BRACELET DEFLECTING!!!!! So classic, and so fun. Just so Wonder Woman, really. It’s nice to know that even while they’re making dark, unpleasant versions of the titular characters, Batman v Superman is going to get at least some of the iconic Wonder Woman elements right.

And finally, there is this, which I love so much and which fills me with hope that Wonder Woman won’t suck:

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That look, you guys. That utterly defiant, “Aw naw, you just messed with the wrong gal” attitude. It’s so entirely Wonder Woman to me. She’s just not having any of it and I love it! It’s literally just a second of the trailer, but I think it communicates so much about the character, and really sells me on Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

I know that some folks were disappointed that all Wonder Woman did in the trailer was be angry and fight, and I can understand that. Unfortunately, it looks like that’s just what this movie is going to be, hurt feelings and punching. It’s going to be a more martial take on Wonder Woman, so we should adjust our expectations accordingly. For me, Gal Gadot looks super fierce in a good way, not in the unhinged way Batman is or the weirdly damaged way Superman is. She just seems done with all of the nonsense, and I’m hoping that her action scenes revolve around her trying to break up the stupid Batman and Superman fights to try to get them to be friends. There’s something to her in these glimpses that I find heroic, in ways I don’t for Batman and Superman. I think that the trailer sets up Batman as human grit and anger and Superman as godly power and detachment, and Wonder Woman serves to bridge that gap with the good parts of both. That’s reading a lot into three seconds of footage, but it’s a super rad three seconds.

Anyway, I am cautiously optimistic about Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman, though I remain wary of pretty much everything else in the film. I may yet be burned; Snyder’s done it to me time and again. But Gal Gadot seems to embody the spirit of Wonder Woman in fun ways here, and I can’t wait to see more of her. If she turns out even half as cool as she looks in this trailer, I’ll be a happy Wonder Woman fan.

Thanks to DC Women Kicking Ass for posting the gifs!

Wonder Woman In Batman v Superman Called A “Strong Merchandising Opportunity” For Warner Bros.

June 8, 2015

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is still a while away, but Warner Bros. recently outlined their merchandising plans for their various lines for the next year. While the main merchandise spotlight is on the titular characters, it looks like Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman will be a key part of their plans as well. Global License calls Wonder Woman a “strong merchandising opportunity that potentially could further attract an entirely new audience”, and Karen McTier, an executive vice president at Warner Bros. Consumer Products, states:

“Our comprehensive program will include Wonder Woman in the merchandise lines and in standalone products supporting the film,” says McTier. “We have always had a robust line for Wonder Woman, and her role in this film and future films offers us more opportunities to feature her character and empowering attributes in many creative ways.”

This is good news after the Avengers: Age of Ultron merchandise line forgot Black Widow almost entirely. Several toy lines even replaced her in recreations of iconic scenes from the film; a Hasbro action figure set of the motorcycle chase scene put Captain America on the bike instead of Black Widow, while she was replaced in a similar Hot Wheels set by Iron Man. The lack of Black Widow merchandise has not gone over well with fans of the character, so much so that this weekend there were organized #WeWantWidow flash mobs across North America that received substantial media attention. Marvel had a similar issue last year with Guardians of the Galaxy and a lack of merchandise for Gamora and Nebula.

DC’s female representation has been spotty as well. Their male action figures outnumber their female action figures by a considerable margin, and their recent McDonald’s toy lines for their various properties have been almost exclusively male. But Warner Bros. seems to be moving in a positive direction. Their recently announced DC Super Hero Girls line will focus on their female characters across a variety of platforms, and their commitment to including Wonder Woman in their Batman v Superman line is very encouraging. It remains to be seen what and how big a role she’ll have, but such clear intention at this stage of the game, with most of the line likely planned already, is a positive sign. The next step is to have Batman v Superman be a decent movie and present a great Wonder Woman that people actually want to buy merchandise of. That might be trickier. But hey, that’s the beauty of toys! If the movie sucks, we can go get Wonder Woman action figures and make our own stories.

Via comicbook.com

Patty Jenkins Is Now Directing Wonder Woman OR Well, That Was Quick

April 16, 2015

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We learned on Monday that Michelle MacLaren was parting ways with Warner Bros. and wouldn’t be directing Wonder Woman, and then just two days later we’ve got a new woman at the helm. We didn’t even have time to do much speculating! You know there’s a lot of websites out there that had someone compiling a list of possible replacements that now have to scrap those posts. Patty Jenkins is taking over as director, and the speedy turnaround means that Wonder Woman is set to remain on track to begin shooting in the fall.

The reaction to the news of Jenkins’ hiring has been positive, and I think she’s an interesting choice. She’s probably best known for Monster, her award winning film about a serial killer, but she also directed an episode of Arrested Development as well as a couple episodes of The Killing. That’s an interesting, somewhat eclectic assortment of gigs. Jenkins was going to direct Thor 2 for Marvel a couple of years back, but that fell through over creative differences. Thor’s loss is now Wonder Woman’s gain, and it’s somewhat comforting to know that Jenkins has some experience developing a mythologically rooted film, even if it didn’t work out.

The speed of Jenkins’ hiring suggests to me that this has been in the works for a while. Rumours are that there’d been friction between MacLaren and Warner Bros. for some time, so I’m guessing that they’d talked to Jenkins before the announcement of MacLaren’s departure on Monday. I’m curious to see what the working relationship is here, whether Jenkins will have a hand in development like MacLaren was supposed to or whether the studio will take a firmer hold of the reins this time around. I’m a little bit worried it will be the latter, but time will tell.

Ultimately, Wonder Woman‘s swapped out a great female director for another great female director, so the film seems no worse off. I’m somewhat concerned about what’s going on behind the scenes and why things didn’t work out with MacLaren and whether Jenkins will face similar issues. Studios don’t have a great track record with female directors generally, much less ones making superhero movies. It’s a hoping for the best but expecting the worst situation for me. On the plus side, Jenkins is pals with Charlize Theron, so maybe she’ll be in the movie? That would be fun. She could be a cool Hippolyta. Or the Cheetah maybe. Perhaps Athena? There’s a lot of choices.

Michelle MacLaren Has Left The Wonder Woman Movie OR I Can’t Even

April 14, 2015

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I’m trying very hard to retain some sort of enthusiasm for the Wonder Woman movie, but Warner Bros. isn’t making it easy on me. First, Man of Steel was an abomination, and then they brought back Zack Snyder and David Goyer to introduce Wonder Woman on the big screen for the first time in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Gal Gadot seems fine, but she’s mostly a big question mark at this point, and the costume is not great.   There was just nothing to be excited about until last November when Warner Bros. announced that Michelle MacLaren was going to direct the Wonder Woman movie. MacLaren is a fantastic director who’s worked on shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, and I was over the moon when I heard that she’d be helming Wonder Woman’s solo film.

Now, five months later, Michelle MacLaren is gone from the project. Citing “creative differences”, the official statement declares that “Warner Bros. and Michelle MacLaren have decided not to move forward with plans to develop and direct Wonder Woman together”, which is most likely Hollywood code for she got fired. This is a massive blow for the film; MacLaren was literally the only person involved in the movie that I had any faith in whatsoever. She’s an epic director and a great, smart storyteller, plus a woman directing Wonder Woman is just perfect. And too good to be true, it seems.

In the wake of her departure, there are reports that MacLaren and Warner Bros. were never really on the same page with Wonder Woman. Supposedly they couldn’t even agree on which time period to set the movie in. That’s sort of an important first step. Also, MacLaren reportedly wanted Diana to have a pet tiger for some reason. Whatever was going on behind the scenes sounds like a real mess.

So here’s where we stand with the Wonder Woman movie: It’s scheduled for release in 2017 and is rumoured to be start shooting in the fall, but now there’s no director and apparently no story. I’d expect a delay. And any rumour we’ve heard about the film so far? Probably scrap that, because it sounds like the movie is still a total blank slate.

Warner Bros. inability to get any sort of Wonder Woman project off the ground is astounding. They had Joss Whedon, who left his Wonder Woman adaptation and then made the biggest superhero movie in the history of the world. They had Michelle MacLaren, pretty much everyone’s top choice to direct Wonder Woman the second that it was announced. And now they have no one. I sincerely hope they don’t haphazardly hire someone in a mad rush to just get the movie made. But they’ve let two excellent directors walk out the door, so who knows what they’ll do next?

I really don’t understand what’s so hard about making a Wonder Woman film.  She’s a great character with a rich history; you pick an angle and you go with it, like they do with EVERY superhero film.  People like to say that Wonder Woman is a complicated, difficult character, but she’s no more complex than any other superhero.  Every superhero has various incarnations and origins.  There’s no set blueprint for any of them.  The writer, director, and studio work together and pick what elements of the character they like and then they make a movie.  It’s happened about a million times with male superheroes.  They keep churning out male-led movies with ease, so I don’t see why getting the world’s most famous female superhero onto the big screen is such a difficult task.  We’re about to have our SIXTH live action Batman, all of them very different.  And Warner Bros. can’t figure out one Wonder Woman film?  It’s ridiculous.

In happier news, Marvel keeps making good movie decisions at least. Captain Marvel is still very much in development, and they’re after Nicole Perlman, the co-writer of Guardians of the Galaxy and Meg LeFauve, the co-writer of Pixar’s upcoming Inside Out, to work on the script together. That’s a pretty great team, and it’s cool to see Marvel pursuing female writers for the film. And if they’re looking for a female director, one just became available! Captain Marvel might not have a pet tiger, but she’s got a flerken at least.


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