Marvel and DC Comics, or more appropriately Warner Bros., release very different movies. Marvel has seen much more success than Warner thus far, but the DC Comics cinematic universe is just now getting started. We'll have to take a a year or two to see how well these films do.
We can, however, safely say Marvel understands how to speak to its fans, and Warner Bros. doesn't have a clue. An Avengers trailer leaked back in 2014, and this was Marvel's official response before releasing the trailer on its official channels:
Dammit, Hydra.— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) October 22, 2014
Hydra is the multi-tentacled evil organization from the films, and this tweet was a fun way to shrug and say that shit happens. They're not going to be mad that fans are this excited about seeing footage from the movie, and that enthusiasm isn't something that should be punished. Right?
When trailers leaked from Comic Con, because studios show things to huge halls of people who are all carrying recording equipment and still think they can control the footage, the response from Warner Bros. was, to put it mildly, messed up.
This is the statement the studio released:
"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," said Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing and international distribution for Warner Bros. Pictures. "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."
Instead of making fun of Hydra, they decided to sound like Hydra is a better option. Look at the wording, including "illegally circulating" and "regret this decision," they call it "pirated footage stolen" from a presentation.
They're talking down to their biggest fans as if they were children caught with their hands in the cookie jar rather than the people they're hoping to keep happy enough to pay money to see the product.
These trailers are commercials, it's not like someone cut off someone's hand to steal the nuclear football. This sort of self-important puffery and tut-tutting aimed at your audience makes you look like the movie version of Superman you're so hopeful will find an audience: Dour and way too serious.
Marvel's reaction seems like it came from a company that would buy you a beer at the bar, while Warner Bros. sounds like it would sit next to you to ask if you knew just how many calories was in each glass.
Every trailer shown at Comic Con will leak. Bank on it. Fans are too hungry for this content, and the best thing you can do is to make sure you control the message, and that includes the tone in which all this happens.
The reaction to the Suicide Squad footage was mostly positive; this was a great thing for Warner Bros. until they had to stomp in and make sure we knew they didn't approve of the way we were excited about their product and everyone needs to cut it out at once or they'll turn this movie right around and drive home. This was an amazing PR win for a film that was seen with much skepticism, if only Warner would have embraced it.
Marvel's "oh well, here's the better version," is a much better response than "why can't we trust the fans to love us the exact way we want" from Warner Bros. I hope they're taking notes.
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