Marc Alan Fishman: Guerrilla Marketing That Ain’t
Call me a silly fool, but did you really think you’d get away with it? Or were you just playing dumb, knowing full-well that we’d blog and post about it. You sly dogs you.
But who are you really kidding? Everyone knows you’re dumb as a box of rocks. Ever since the Harry Potter cash cow stopped giving milk, you knew the Brothers Warner would turn towards its in-house fiction generator to start making with the profits.
And guess what? As soon as they turned their steely gaze towards you, wouldn’t you know it… those rat bastards that used to be across the street scored a near two-billion dollar movie. Sure, you had the last Batman movie, and hey, no one is blaming you for that not banking on higher expectations. The franchise made you a small mint, and almost made all of us forget Green Lantern.
So, here you are, the Mouse already ramping up a second season of super hero flicks, and the only thing that’s been worthwhile from your studio just ended. You’ve got that Superman reboot coming. Luckily, most of us snarky a-holes have only politely ribbed you for letting Snyder make a trailer that looks like Supes is on an extended episode of Deadliest Catch. We’re on pins and needles that it works out for you. Seriously. The million-dollar question? What’s next?
And we’re back to the beginning again. You dress up a few interns in fresh Batman tee-shirts and send them to the local geekatorium with “casual questions” in hand. I can’t help but be honest guys – it’s not the best idea you’ve had. We geeks may not be fit to ask the cheerleaders out to the prom, but we know when someone is trying to sell is some snake oil. Hell, we buy that damn oil from you every week, without the need to be sly! I guess what I’m getting at is pretty simple; if you’re out of answers, it’s OK to ask us to help you.
But it won’t help.
Do you think, even for a moment, that your base will give you the insiders’ scoop on how to make a Justice League movie that will bank big buckaroos? It won’t. Because even if we told you exactly what we wanted, and you made it exactly like we asked, it doesn’t mean instant gratification. Ask Edward Wright. Scott Pilgrim looked great on paper. The trailer was tight. The San Diegons all reported nothing but geek-love. And the actual film was stupendous. But it didn’t blow the doors off the bank vault. The thing of it all is that a film like The Avengers, one that hits the zeitgeist, is a bit of right-place-right-time and the payoff to a 5+ year gamble. You took the same bet in 2001. It paid in spades. Lesson to learn: there’s no quick payoff for what you’re wanting.
And let’s not leave here today without being frank about Frank. Look, Miller is a legend, and we’ll not dispute that. And in context, some of his best work has been given amazing treatments on film. 300 and Sin City hold substantial places in many of our DVD collections. But, the ghost of the Spirit (heh) still leaves a very bitter taste in our mouth. That crime against celluloid has soured us all to the church of Frank Miller. Be warned. And if you still feel like he might be worth our praise, let me be blunt:
“We’re the God-Damned Justice League.”
Since I’m in a festive mood, I’ll leave you with what may be the answers you’re seeking. If you want to make a Justice League movie that topples Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes, the recipe is simple. And like all dishes that have only a few ingredients, this isn’t going to be easy. You need quality product to start from. Your director needs to be someone who is in-tune with us nerds, but can stand on his own. Brad Bird perhaps (Thanks, Uncle Glenn!)?
Perhaps I’m putting the cart before the horse though. What Marvel pulled off wasn’t rocket science; it was an assembling of feeder movies that each stood up on their own. That means if you want to bring together Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and others? Then you need to earn that right. You can’t skip past the preamble if you want the masses to love you. Simply put… the world at large doesn’t know your Justice League from Adam. If you start off well with Man of Steel, you’re on the right track.
Just don’t put the cart before the horse. And man up; if you have a question to ask the geek world at large, just put it on the Internet.
Sunday: John Puts Shingles on the Chicken Coop?
Monday: Mindy Newell