While X-Men: First Class may have been considered the black sheep of 2011 superhero films, multiple trailers and a plethora of images released have seemingly quieted criticism and turned many into believers. Naturally, attention has shifted to the next film with apparent shortcomings, and that is Warner Bros. and DC Comics’ summer blockbuster Green Lantern. Four months after the release of the initial teaser trailer and what I thought was the beginning of a viral marketing campaign, we have seen almost no marketing for the film. This week, we were told why. The movie is not finished, and the studio does not feel comfortable releasing promo materials until it is. In reaction, many have questioned what this means for the eventual marketing strategy, and the film itself? Hit the jump for my analysis of the events this week, and why, contrary to our hopes and desires, a consolidated and subdued marketing strategy might not be a bad thing for the film.
To recap for those that may have been out of the loop, it has been a roller coaster week of Green Lantern news. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times published an interview with Warner Bros. motion picture group president Jeff Robinov, who said that because the film’s intricate visual effects shots have taken longer than expected to complete, the studio has held off rolling out a major marketing strategy. Instead, he said to expect a second trailer to be attached to Thor when it is released May 6th. Commence fanboy panic, right?
Well, the day got a little brighter (see what I did there?) when just hours later, news emerged from Latino Review that Michael Clark Duncan might be voicing fan favorite Green Lantern Kilowog. On Wednesday, more news surfaced, as Geoffrey Rush was confirmed to be voicing Green Lantern Tomar-Re. And just a few days ago, four scenes from the film were screened at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, and then WonderCon on Friday. If Executive Editor Dan’s comments are any indication, the film looks visually spectacular. Now with some of that footage being officially released, Internet anticipation for Green Lantern just might end the week completely different than when it began.
Still, this news begs the question: how will this marketing strategy (or lack thereof) affect the way Green Lantern is received when it is released in June? At first blush, Warner Bros. should be worried beyond belief. The upcoming summer movie season is arguably the most saturated ever, with blockbusters being released every weekend. This makes capturing high opening weekend returns pivotal. With such a muted marketing campaign, it is possible Green Lantern could get lost in the June shuffle and post modest box office grosses. This would be disastrous for Warner Bros. and have major implications for their future superhero properties like the Flash and Justice League.
On the other hand, and I admit my unabashed excitement might be shining through here, Green Lantern could be that rare $200 million comic book movie adaptation that leverages its built in fanbase and word-of-mouth advertising to become a hit. The irony of this week is that despite the lead story being a delayed marketing strategy, Green Lantern has been the point of emphasis for many film blogs, whether it is discussing casting news or reporting on the screenings at various conventions. While I am sure everyone digs the Thor posters that are churned out seemingly every day by Marvel, Green Lantern might actually benefit by simply teasing the film, and then surprising audiences with a visual and emotional spectacle not seen before in the genre. In other words, if the film is really good, it will sell itself.
At the end of the day, despite the odd week and disappointing lack of promotional content, I am still greatly looking forward to Green Lantern. And while I would have loved to have covered a more expansive and engaging marketing campaign, I’ll settle for what I think will be a really good movie, and do my part to help spread the word. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so definitely leave your opinions below. Green Lantern hits theaters June 17th.