WONDER WOMAN opens in one month(ish)! (Whither the marketing blitz?)


As has been pointed out by quite a few commentators and fans — most recently SyFy Wire and The Mary Sue — there has been relatively very little publicity push for the upcoming WONDER WOMAN movie. Actually, a pathetic amount of marketing. Given the veritable avalanche of teasers, posters, online, television and print advertising we were subjected to in the run up to Batman vs. SupermanSuicide Squad, all of the new Star Wars movies and even less-blockbuster-offerings, the paucity of Wonder Woman advertising is puzzling.

Given the poor reception (unfair of not) that Warner Bros.’s other, most recent DCU movies received, one can maybe understand why they might be gunshy about spending bucketloads of cash on advertising. As Alex Bledsoe reminded me on Twitter, nobody wants another John Carter financial fiasco. (It may be unfashionable to say so, but that movie was actually pretty good — way better than many movies who make a fortune.)

Also thinking about that reception, and if one was feeling charitable, one could conclude that the blitzkrieg of advertising for those movies was a reflection of the studio’s lack of confidence. Maybe — just maybe — they think Wonder Woman is good enough to not require such a sustained advertising attack? It would be nice if this was true. But I’m not convinced, because studios generally don’t like to leave things up to chance. It doesn’t make sense that there hasn’t been more of a marketing/publicity push.

Could it be that I and other commentators don’t consume the media in which WB is advertising? The sole marketing entry on the movie’s Wikipedia page is as follows:

“In May 2017, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick will drive her No. 10 car with a Wonder Woman paint scheme at the Go Bowling 400 in Kansas and at the Monster Energy Open in Charlotte.”

I do not watch NASCAR. Ergo, I have missed WW’s marketing campaign…? Given new online advertising algorithms, etc., one would expect to see it everywhere — I search once for socks on Amazon, and every page I visit thereafter features ads for socks. So, how come I can watch the trailer for Wonder Woman many times, but never be inundated with WW-related ads in my browser? (I’m not saying I want the blitz, but this certainly happened in the run-up to Suicide Squad and Batman vs. Superman.)

There is some evidence to suggest that Warner Bros. is targeting its marketing campaign more narrowly. In Forbes, Scott Mendelson broke down some of the marketing that he has seen/found:

“Since July of 2016, we’ve had three domestic trailers, two international trailers and (as of last night) six TV spots. We also got an online clip for International Women’s Day. Oh, and if you want to count them, we also got one “teaser for the trailer” thing for the second domestic trailer back in November and three “teaser for the trailer” bits just before the third domestic trailer debuted during the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. We’ve also had five gorgeous theatrical posters and, at a glance, a Dr. Pepper tie-in and plenty of tie-in merchandise, either for the movie itself or the quite popular DC Superhero Girls line.”

Aside from three trailers, and a couple of the posters, I haven’t seen the rest. Given the explosion of internet sites devoted to comic books, their movie adaptations, and geek culture in general, perhaps Warner Bros. isn’t being as indiscriminate with their online advertising budget?

For a fleeting moment I wondered if it was a case of a poorly-addressed scheduling problem: was Gal Gadot too busy on other projects? Well, yes and no: she’s working on Justice League. Playing the same character. With the same studio. (Her IMDb page only lists DCU projects as in the works.)

I think Vivian Kane got it right in the aforementioned Mary Sue piece:

“More likely: The studio just doesn’t know how to market this movie. This movie, which stars a female protagonist, but isn’t a typical female-oriented property, as they’ve become used to viewing them. Of course, as we all know, this very much is a movie women are clamoring to see…”

The fact that this is the most likely case is baffling. How could Warner Bros., of all studios, not afford to employ/sub-contract to people who do know how to market movies such as this? I also think Kane made a good point about the possibility that the studio was relying on a cross-promotional laziness with Justice League also on the way in about six months. Maybe they’re just trying something new, and Wonder Woman happened to be the guinea pig? (Not sure what that new thing might be, but I suppose it’s possible.) Maybe they have calculated that the excessive promotion of previous movies was more likely to make people irritated by the movie than attracted to it?

Maybe, given the tidal wave of abuse and sexist pushback Ghostbusters received, Warner Bros. desperately wants to avoid having their movie only written/spoken about in connection with internet-hate? If this is true, then it shows the studio to be gutless and quite stupid.

Who knows, maybe May is going to be wall-to-wall Wonder Woman marketing and advertising? As Scott Mendelson wrote for Forbes, “We’re five weeks out from release, which means Warner Bros. has plenty of time to make us sick of advertising materials prior to the June 2, 2017 release date.”

If that’s the case, then maybe we now have a good argument for spreading out the super-hero/comic book movie saturation? Why produce so many, in such a short time, if you’re not going to promote them properly? It’s just unsound (ok, kind of stupid) financial strategy.

But, again, nobody ever accused Hollywood business of making sense.

Of course, the proliferation of articles about the lack of Wonder Woman marketing and promotion… is doing a fine job of raising awareness of the movie’s pending release.

Well played, Warner Bros….?

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