Dear unnamed studios (who showed your amazing trailers this weekend, but you were not ready to actually release them online)
You’re nuts. If this was 2005, maybe you could get away with showing a Batman Begins teaser at Comic-Con and then not immediately throwing it up online.
But this is 2015.
In just 10 years, the camera phones that were available in 2005 have been improved many times over, able to record in higher quality and upload before you’ve even finished your opening statement to show the doggone video we were clamoring for. And then we release them, because we didn’t just record them for ourselves, we wanted the whole web to share in it. I’m not condoning it and certainly, it raises a few more questions about rights during a live event. This was highlighted when crappy phone shot videos of the Suicide Squad, X-Men: Apocalypse and Deadpool get leaked online. And I hate what I’m about to say, mainly cause I’m worried this next film could still be a hot mess:
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice looked great and it did even better because it had no competition.
Yes, I know Suicide Squad is up now. I still haven’t heard when Fox will get on the ball with X-Men or Deadpool, but the point is: beat us to the punch. If I were a director and I saw my content being misrepresented by a crappy video, I would want to take the offensive. And not with my legal team, but with my post-production crew and ask them, “How can we crank out a decent trailer before *insert convention here*” Or you could do what Warner Bros did below:
“Warner Bros. Pictures and our anti-piracy team have worked tirelessly over the last 48 hours to contain the Suicide Squad footage that was pirated from Hall H on Saturday. We have been unable to achieve that goal. Today we will release the same footage that has been illegally circulating on the web, in the form it was created and high quality with which it was intended to be enjoyed. We regret this decision as it was our intention to keep the footage as a unique experience for the Comic Con crowd, but we cannot continue to allow the film to be represented by the poor quality of the pirated footage stolen from our presentation.”
– Sue Kroll, President Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures
And don’t even get me started on that foolishness up above. The same company that released the BvS trailer this weekend apparently forgot to get their other cash cow ready? Doesn’t make any sense, whatsoever. Why waste money on getting attorneys and various company representatives to get the videos taken down when you could have spent that same money getting the teaser or trailer done. Better yet, how about encouraging us to share the blasted thing when it’s finished. That would most definitely a better use of your time and energy. You’d make yourselves look better, we’d enjoy watching a better product, and we could all get on with the business of critiquing whether we still think BvS will be any good regardless of how great a trailer they made. We’ve been fooled before…..looking at you Prometheus.
I actually expect more studios will wise up and figure out the best way to actually handle these kind of shenanigans, but with better marketing plans during major conventions that could literally determine the outcome of their tickets sales and the like. Again, I’m not condoning piracy. But the open air of a live event isn’t a safe space any more. If you really desire to protect your product that much, finish it before you get to your next convention. Otherwise, you’ll get crappy images like:
You’re welcome for that last one (I’m not insinuating Deadpool will be bad, I just had to stop posting bad images before my eyes exploded). I’ll finish with a final comment for the adoring public. We do have a obligation, even with the argument I proposed above, to keep those viewing halls sacred. We have been asked to not engage in recording these rough cuts or however they end up in front of us and we still do it anyway. While I can argue that the studio should fix their crap until I’m blue in the face. If we demand great quality videos and quicker access online, then we should be honest enough to respect their wishes, regardless if that means we get to see the video when we get home or if it’s a week afterwards.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to re-watch the new BvS trailer about 10 more times.