DC Films is skipping this year’s San Diego Comic-Con because they can just as easily hype up their movies without the expense and risk associated with merely preaching to the converted.
‘Wonder Woman 1984’
Like the headline says, Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot’s Twitter accounts just dropped a new poster for Wonder Woman 1984. The reveal comes concurrently with word that It: Chapter 2 will be the only big Warner Bros. film getting a splashy Hall H presentation at this year’s SDCC. So, for those of you who were expecting trailers, sizzle reels and the like this July from the various WB biggies (Godzilla v Kong, The Batman, etc.), that isn’t going to happen. Come what may, that makes sense for Warner Bros., both in terms of their recent SDCC experiences and what value studios actually get from these splashy advertisements.
Jenkins explicitly stated that the marketing campaign will kick off this December, meaning that we’ll presumably get a teaser either with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker or Jumanji 3 (with that teaser also then playing with most Rise of Skywalker prints the next week). And while Jenkins and friends may or may not drop tidbits here and there over the next six months, the movie opens exactly one year from today, there really is no reason to not get the ball rolling at the end of this year. You’re not going to get a better launching pad than the gazillions of demographically-friendly moviegoers who will show up for Star Wars 9 or Jumanji 3.
There’s no rush to drown us in materials for a movie that is pretty close to a preordained mega-hit. Unless one of Marvel’s summer movies is, I dunno, Avengers 5, Black Panther 2 or, I dunno, Wolverine v Spider-Man v Black Panther: Dawn of Synergy, it stands to reason that Wonder Woman 1984 and Minions: The Rise of Gru will battle it out next summer for the «biggest grosser of the season» trophy. And yes, like two years ago, it’s possible that Wonder Woman ($412.5 million domestic and $821 million worldwide) will take the domestic win while the Illumination sequel/prequel (Despicable Me grossed $262 million domestic and $1 billion worldwide) will take the global win.
As for the whole San Diego Comic-Con thing, it’s no secret that Warner Bros. allegedly decided to turn Man of Steel 2 into what became Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice at the very last minute partially so they could «win» the 2013 SDCC. In the end, the film grossed a lot ($330 million/$873 million) but didn’t click with critics and audiences. And even the decent-enough receptions for Batman v Superman at the 2014 and 2015 panels, Suicide Squad at the 2015 panel (the respective sizzle reels for both were dynamite pieces of marketing) and Justice League at 2016 and 2017 weren’t enough to move the needle. DC Films came to Comic-Con in 2017 high on the breakout victory of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, but it still wasn’t enough to turn Justice League into a hit.
Yes, Mad Max: Fury Road wowed the crowd (and those of us at home) in 2014, and there have been plenty of success stories (Iron Man comes to mind, way back in 2007). Alas, generally speaking, the films that broke out from SDCC were the movie that struck a chord with general audiences through traditional marketing regardless of them being embraced by the geek culture. It’s a lot of time and money to preach to the converted, with the constant risk that poorly-received material will both get leaked online and spoil the narrative from the start. Like the online trolling or somewhat performative handwringing that occurs around big franchise movies before and after release, the flurry of geek-centric coverage doesn’t do much for general moviegoers and regular consumers.
That’s doubly-true with something like Wonder Woman 1984, which is a sequel to a much-liked and critically-acclaimed hit opening during a season where it’s arguably the biggest thing in town. There is no upside to offering sneak peeks of the DC Films flicks or the likes of Godzilla v Kong, and there is a downside if the stuff being shown doesn’t please the crowds. After all, excellent receptions for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and Kick-Ass in 2009 and 2010 didn’t make those movies into mainstream hits.

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