BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (AND DUSK FOR THE FINAL LAP OF ITS PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGN AS RELEASE DATE APPROACHES!)
Who said viral marketing was dead? Ok, so this one is technically ‘not’ viral in so far as it is clearly flagged up AND comes at the END rather than the BEGINNINGS of a movie’s race to the release date. In any event, awareness of BATMAN V SUPERMAN (BVS) was never a problem. Its first trailer landed almost a year ago and the film has been teased in glimpses ever since, like 3 monthly shifts, all punctuated by an excellent Twitter media management style c/o ZACK SNYDER.
And yet, one can NEVER take anything for granted in these fickle film markets. Yesterday’s sure thing Blockbuster can be tomorrow’s big flop. And anything less than one BILLION is now considered an under-performance. Let us not forget those who whispered (albeit wrongly) that this whole inclusion of Batman was a last minute bid to retrieve and reinvent a Superman franchise when MAN OF STEEL hit big but just not big enough.
Heck, even SUPERMAN RETURNS was NOT a flop! And for all the ‘ooo Chris Nolan saved Batman’ talk, it was in fact THE DARK KNIGHT and not BATMAN BEGINS that hit in a huge way, thereby crowning Batman as a Box Office force once more (I am alone in preferring ‘Begins’ and indeed ‘Rises’ but that’s another post).
(STAR WARS : still on general release. And we STILL cannot moan about THAT spoiler! Memo to BVS team: DON’T kill ANY heroes. Ever.)
Lesson: we just don’t know how big BVS will hit and even when it does hit respectably, there will be detractors who tell us it was a ‘flop’. Notice that STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS is still playing in cinemas and can still surpass AVATAR numbers and yet still there are people calling ‘failure’ on the initial predictions that Han Solo and co had just scored the biggest hit of all time over the blue 3d environmental fairy tale. And even dedicated Bond FANS berate SPECTRE for failing to top SKYFALL in the Billion Dollar Bond bracket (guys: SPECTRE did over $800 million and lacked a Jubilee / Olympics / 50th anniversary / 4 year gap / novelty value: ergo Bond series still in rude health!).
(We had to throw in James Bond..just in case they get any notions of doing Bond v Bourne v Ethan Hunt in wake of BVS)
So in short, whoever wins the Batman /Superman spat, the figures will never be big enough. Suggest an all time box office triumph to trump Star Wars and the fans will keeeeellllll you, online. Dare to consider that this one might even flop and just forget ever having a comic book movie loving friend ever again. Ever. You can’t win.
And THAT is precisely where the last minute, viral and traditional marketing come in. They remind us all that this will be a FUN movie, with cross generational and multiple demographic appeals with a lifestyle and merchandise spin off in the ‘real’ as well as ‘reel’ world. It also makes up for the phase 2 marketing by injecting a dash more humo(u)r, whilst retaining a serious tone and also backtracking on the notion that all had been revealed, prematurely.
So here we go. First up: new trailer.
It is fun. It is concise. It manages to pitch us the story without giving everything away. Affleck is already the BEST Batman, from a few glimpses. I think he’s a poor Bruce Wayne, though. Just on first impressions, mind? That sullen, designer stubble, petulant pup, tie pin sporting/ waistcoat wearing attitude is not the way to convey either the tortured brooding soul OR the suave man about town playboy veneer. Lacks Keaton’s complexity, Kilmer’s polish and Bale’s precision.
That said: did I mention Affleck is the BEST BATMAN EVER? With just one ‘look’. Seriously. LOOK at him: it is the comics, brought to life. And NO silly voices, either! Plus, the other actors were ‘my’ Batmen and for me the character is now living happily in a Cafe in Florence with Catwoman (this could be seen as the same iteration, at a stretch).
Jeremy Irons as Alfred gets a lot of footage here. He is seriously miscast, though. That military jumper is his way of saying ‘yeah I can be the action man, too!’. No, Jeremy, you can’t. You WOULD have been an AMAZING Baddie, though. Lex Luthor, perhaps? Oh no..some 12 year old is playing him.
Wonder Woman gets quite a bit of attention in every sense here and the film looks the better for it. Focus remains on the core conflict between Batman and Superman, but world building is going on alongside that for the JUSTICE LEAGUE. Superman IS in this film, somewhere (seriously, he is and we love him. Shut up).
Now: the ‘viral’ stuff..the interconnected marketing. Fly to Metropolis and /or Gotham City with TURKISH AIRLINES. Beauty of these is that they merge real adverts with fictional backstory to the movie. We get glimpses of both heroes and villains at work in owning their cities.
Curiously, Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor seem to have a similar profile and ‘MO’ in effectively rebuilding and thereby OWNING the ideology of the city brand. In itself therefore, one could argue that these mini movie adverts are every bit as curious and satisfying dramatically as any of the actual trailers. This is a universe that feels ‘real’, whilst also being heightened and fantastical. The only question remaining is: which city would you rather visit?
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is released in March and will be reviewed in MOVIE VIRAL.