Films are like Christmas – the real fun’s in the anticipation.
I love the Dark Knight, but when I look back at it, if I am truly honest, it is the buildup that I remember most fondly. I mean, when that first trailer dropped it was the most exciting thing in the world! First thing I talked about the next day in work: the trailer. And then pretty much every day after until the release of the film.
Equation: Time spent watching TDK trailer > length of film itself.
BVS (Bloody Very Super)
And now I’m starting to feel that anticipation again. For Batman Vs Superman. This is a brand new chapter. Shit, it looks like we’re gonna get a Batman that actually, you know, LOOKS like Batman!
So now everyone’s losing their shit over a trailer that might not actually be coming for quite a while now. In fact, for all we really know, it might not even exist at all. I mean, sure the sources all say it does, and I’m sure they’re on the money, but first it was coming with the Hobbit. Didn’t happen. Then it was attached to Jupiter Rising. Nope, no show there. And now…well, is it with Mad Max in May or isn’t it? Will Warner save it for Comic Con or not?
So I’ve been asking myself: Why do we get so obsessed over this stuff? And, clever souls that they undeniably are (some of them at least, surely, maybe?), how are the studios using us to their advantage?
Honestly, no, no one bet me I could make a Kenny G reference relevant
Did you know that Kenny G has a new album coming out later this month?
No, neither did I. That’s because I couldn’t give a shit about Kenny G. But, more to the point, if you are a saxophone enthusiast, you may well do.
Point is: Right now, how many people actually know that BVS is coming? If you’re reading this, you almost certainly do, but that’s because you’re a fan of the genre. Your average Jo and Joette on the street, they probably don’t. The anticipation for an upcoming release (in pretty much any medium), lies for the fans. The mainstream only becomes aware of it when it HITS.
When it hits is when the fans and the mainstream might, for a brief period of time, meet.
The studios know this. Industry knows this. When that product hits, they spend an awful lot of cash making sure everyone knows about it. And again, it’s not the fanboys they really need in those seats, it’s the masses, because a film that was only attended by fans will not be a success.
So why do they bother throwing us bones?
Pour on rocket fuel and step the fuck back
This BVS trailer, then, it might not exist. But let’s face it, all signs point to the fact that it does. And while they have not proven correct so far, those that have been pointing towards an imminent premier of it tend to know what they’re talking about. Or rather, they know the sources they can generally trust. This kind of promotion is almost sublimely subtle – they are building up expectation to fever point without WB ever even confirming the existence of a trailer.
Look back at the Nolan films – why the slow build up then? Why bother getting the fanboys involved in clues and quests and what not? Secret websites popping up, slow reveals of character images.
Because it gets the net buzzing. It gets hashtags happening. It builds up a swelter of excitement that makes a perfect platform for more mainstream advertising to sit on. The fan community is the foundation of the promotional efforts. Think of each fan as a little cancer cell (sorry – can’t think of a nicer metaphor) amongst a load of normal cells. Those normal cells are mainstream people, by the way. That little cancer cell is plugged into all those other nice normal cells via Facebook and Twitter and conversations in work and what not. And when a trailer drops, that fanboy cell gets all excited and talks about it, spreads the word, spreads the infection to the others.
The studios like giving us things to get excited about. It’s about more than good will and fan lip service, it’s building a sustainable and focused advertising attack.
So where exactly the fuck is this trailer?
So this thing with the trailer is getting as interesting as it is frustrating. Word is that Warner had planned to release it by now, but for whatever reason changed their mind. Or did they leak word that they were planning to in order get people talking? And then held it back to push that buzz up a notch?
Whether it was planned that way or not, that’s what’s happened. They are building tension, not releasing it. And all the time they are saying nothing – they don’t NEED to say anything, because fandom is doing it all for them, winding itself up into an ever-tightening ball that will explode with relief when the trailer finally premiers.
Are they playing us? Have they learned from the marketing of The Dark Knight (and Rises) that they can hold us in the palm of their hands?
Either way, enjoy it while it lasts. Ten years from now, as much as we will all hopefully love BVS, it will be the sweet, sweet build to it that will stick with us. We’ll have the Blu Ray of the film, we’ll have watched it too many times, know the dialogue too well, but this time of excitement-cum-frustration-cum-excitement again, will actually be a part of our lives that we look back on fondly.