Tale of two trailers

I wonder how much productivity was killed this week by the arrival of the Batman v Superman and Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailers?

In my office, where we have desk space reserved for action figure battles, everything came to a halt on Thursday when the latter was streamed online during Star Wars Celebration. I saw tweets from people I follow who said they’d put the trailer on repeat and spent the afternoon breaking down every frame. Ain’t nothin wrong with that.

The money shot from the "Force Awakens" trailer.
The money shot from the “Force Awakens” trailer.

But for me, Star Wars was just the appetizer. Although I got goose bumps during the trailer, I’m still having trouble channeling my inner Jedi. I loved the first trilogy as a kid, and got into the books in the 90s, but I’ve never been a die-hard devotee. The last trilogy may have cut me too deep. I have no doubt The Force Awakens will be a return to greatness, but some memories are hard to flush out of your mind. Perhaps it’s still too early. I haven’t even gone full Avengers mode yet, as I’m still coming down from my Furious 7 cloud.

It’s not too early, however, for me to freak out over Batman v Superman. That teaser wasn’t supposed to debut until early next week – a fact that I kept trying to erase from my brain so the wait wouldn’t bother me so much.

Batman revealed.
Batman revealed.

I’m sure a lot of people weren’t surprised when that bootlegged, subtitled version wound up online late Thursday night. I was surprised, however, by the amount of negativity thrown its way. Nobody can even see the thing and they’re hating all over it.

The blurry version was posted to the Now Playing Podcast page on Friday morning, igniting a daylong debate over whether the finished film is garbage. Fans who felt they were burned by Man of Steel are ready to hate Batman v Superman, and not being able to see the teaser in full context just gave them more (imaginary) ammunition.

That’s why it was even less of a surprise to see director Zack Snyder tweet a polished version of the teaser Friday afternoon, days ahead of a planned theatrical debut event. I can’t imagine how many studio, theater, marketing, and public relations folks are furious the event got spoiled. Hopefully, Warner Bros can make the same move Marvel did when the Age of Ultron trailer leaked, and release another trailer with additional footage in the coming weeks.

Although I had the same issues everyone else did with Man of Steel, I’m all in for this sequel, because it’s all about Batman. I can’t believe we have to wait another year for this flick.

Affleck. Unblurred.
Affleck. Unblurred.

Everything stopped in my office again when the teaser was released Friday afternoon, but this time the reaction was different. Some of my co-workers just gave it a “meh” and said Star Wars did it better.

I say they’re two different flicks. One is full of hope and nostalgia; the other is dark and ominous. They’re not selling the same movie, that’s why I don’t think you need to poll the public on which one is better, as if they were going head-to-head the same weekend.

Since I brought it up, a glance at Wikipedia’s 2016 in Film calendar shows Batman v Superman opening March 25 against a Beverly Hills Cop sequel that I can’t ever see happening. And if it does happen, it’s not getting released that same weekend.

That means a clear field until May 6, when Captain America: Civil War hits. I gotta start getting excited for that one too.

Around the Web:

io9 breaks down Every Key Detail and Killer Moment from the Batman v Superman teaser.

Blurry or unblurred, some Now Playing Podcast fans still split on Affleck.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Graeme McMillan wonders where to start with the new Star Wars trailer.

McMillan also penned this piece on fan reaction to the leaked Batman v Superman teaser.

Everyone picked up on the “My father has it” line from the Force Awakens trailer, and here Entertainment Weekly looks for signs that Darth Vader is still alive.

And, Furious 7 is the fastest film ever to $1 billion. Awesome.

‘Cap 3’ to challenge ‘Batman-Superman’

These are the kind of behind-the-scenes Hollywood moves I love.

Early this morning I read that Disney and Marvel Studios would not back down from a May 2016 release date for their next superhero tentpole, despite Warner Bros. moving its Batman-Superman flick to the traditional “Marvel May.”

Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel has thrown down the gauntlet. Not only will it not back off May, it’s deploying Captain America (the studio’s second most-popular character, after Iron Man) to challenge Batman and Superman on the very same day: May, 6, 2016.

Awesome.

Would-be blockbusters have gone head-to-head in the past, but in the era of the superhero, this is unprecedented. These are make-or-break franchises for both studios, and Marvel is packing more ammunition.

The buzz surrounding this year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier feels bigger than any Marvel flick since The Avengers in 2012. By summer 2016, Cap will be coming off an appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron and the Marvel Cinematic Universe will have expanded into Phase Three with Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man.

Marvel also has a television presence with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Netflix is set to debut its Defenders series’ in 2015.

Warner, despite being the home of Batman, has yet to launch the first sequel in its superhero series. There’s no question Batman-Superman has buzz, especially with the polarizing casting choice of Ben Affleck as Batman.

(For the record, I’ve always liked Ben Affleck, can’t wait)

Unfortunately, the studio doesn’t have any other hero franchises raising awareness during the long wait for the Man of Steel sequel — not unless you count television’s Arrow, and the yet-to-debut series’ The Flash and Gotham.

So who blinks first? Will there even be blinking?

I tweeted earlier today that no matter what happens, the publicity surrounding this faceoff will benefit both studios, and again, both movies should be blockbusters.

But really, Marvel is holding all the cards. Warner Bros. should quietly change the release date and get to work on world-building. Otherwise, the studio better have a serious plan to counter the Disney marketing machine.

This should be good.