Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Difference in Marketing Thor and Green Lantern

I’ve found it quite interesting the different approaches the movies studios are taking in marketing Thor and Green Lantern. Obviously they’re different films with different characters, but both films are quite similar in the fact that they take place in different realms/worlds, with a much higher emphasis of sci-fi and fantasy to anything mainstream audiences have seen before in high budget superhero films.

Pretty much all the previous superhero films ever made (Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Iron-Man, X-Men, even Hulk) all focus on characters on earth in the (admittedly sometimes) “comic book” version of the real world. Therefore from an audience perspective these films have been grounded in a sense of reality despite having stories that focus on super-human characters.

Now Thor and Green Lantern represent something quite new to studios so they need to take unique approaches, not only does their marketing need to introduce a new superhero and origin story, they also need to introduce/explain the new worlds in which these films/stories take place.

The studios obviously recognise this challenge and have therefore taken different approaches to sell their films.

In the case of Thor, it seems Marvel wasn’t overly confident in audiences accepting the more mystical realm of Asgard (where Thor comes from and half of the film is set), so decided to focus the trailers almost entirely on the Earth segments of the film and the light-hearted comedy that arises from the human characters interaction with Thor. Asgard and the sequences on it are only shown briefly in the trailer for money shots or quick cut action.

Although I don’t think this tactic shows honestly the type of film you’re going to see, it seems to have been widely accepted by audiences.

Now Green Lantern initially took the same approach with the first trailer being focused on the comedic/human elements of the film. This didn’t go well and was pretty much ridiculed by all fans across the web.

Since then Warner Bros has taken the complete opposite approach with all the following Green Lantern trailers being very dark and almost completely focused on the sci-fi/fantasy elements of the film. Just see the new trailer that was released yesterday...

I haven’t seen Green Lantern yet so I can’t comment on whether this accurately portrays the film in terms of time spent in space, tone, etc, but I’d say this is almost going too far the other way. As based on the first trailer we know there are comedic elements to the movie and therefore based on this trailer alone, audiences who are looking forward to a dark and moody film may be disappointed if the film is actually quite light-hearted and comic.

It’s hard to nail the right balance, but in Thor’s case I was pleasantly surprised that although the trailer didn’t quite sell the film accurately, the film itself was good. I just hope the opposite isn’t true with Green Lantern because at the moment the trailers look awesome.

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