Las Vegas faces a dilemma moving forward in the wake of a mass shooting, writes Jason R. Latham for The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter

How does Las Vegas put on a happy face in the wake of this week’s tragedy? It’s a dilemma I examine in my latest piece for The Hollywood Reporter.

As the Strip struggles to find normalcy — with an active crime scene at the Route 91 Harvest festival site and multiple memorials springing up along Las Vegas Boulevard – I went down to the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, where Elvis is still putting on a show despite all that’s happened.

“We have to become normal again and start to do the things we normally do to make Vegas happen,” explains Elvis impersonator Mark Rumpler, who has been down at the sign all week in his white jumpsuit and sunglasses.

The city’s chief concern, in the meantime, is assuring the public that its casinos, hotels, and concerts are safe. But Steve Adelman of the Event Safety Alliance says there’s a risk of overreaction to a tragic scenario that no one could have predicted.

“We’re talking about Las Vegas, which already does more than just about every other American city to keep its guests safe and secure,” he says.

You can read the article now on The Hollywood Reporter website.

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.

"Halloween 6" star Paul Rudd in the trailer for the trailer for "Ant-Man."
“Halloween 6” star Paul Rudd in the trailer for the trailer for “Ant-Man.”

I’m an admitted trailer junkie. Back in the days when I used to watch E! I was all about that show Coming Attractions with future Vegas Price is Right Live! host Todd Newton. When we had dial-up I used to wait at my computer for hours while downloading trailers and then I freaked out when the phone rang and stopped me from seeing 2 minutes of The Big Hit.

These days I’ll sit in front of my laptop for an hour watching the “red carpet premiere” for the Furious 7 trailer, knowing the whole time that I can do the laundry or practice juggling or run a couple miles and come back in 60 minutes to watch the thing.

I’m just kidding, I don’t run.

If you’ve ever watched Entertainment Tonight you know how they tease their viewers. You get a 30-second clip promoting some story about some reality TV person at the beginning of the show, then you get the same clip every five minutes until you finally get to the end of the show and the actual story is about 10 seconds long and told you something you already read on Twitter three days ago.

That’s what I started thinking about when Marvel’s “human-sized” Ant-Man tease showed up on YouTube today. It was a version of the 17-second clip that you could actually see, as opposed to the miniaturized (and from a marketing standpoint, very clever) clip that went online a day ago.

I wondered, “Have we gotten to the point where ‘teasing the tease’ is the norm?” In Marvel’s case, it’s actually teasing the tease of a tease with a miniaturized tease.

Marvel is promising the full trailer (if it doesn’t leak first) during Tuesday’s premiere of its Agent Carter series. And you know it won’t come during the first act. In all likelihood you’ll have to wait until the second hour and then Ryan Seacrest will have to read the results of something and there will be five more commercial breaks and then the trailer will be over before you know it.

When I posted the new Ant-Man clip to the Now Playing Podcast Facebook page it sparked a discussion on this topic, with a lot of fans annoyed by the new strategy.

Tonight I added this Hollywood Reporter piece to the thread. I think it sheds some light on the “why” question. The most-watched trailer of the year was the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer, with 93 million views.

So there’s your answer. It’s not just about getting people to watch Agent Carter.

I’m curious to hear anyone’s thoughts on the “teasing a tease” strategy. My guess is it won’t hurt Ant-Man’s box office.