Did you know Wonder Woman arrives in theaters a little over a month from now? On June 2, 2017, Princess Diana of Themyscira will get her first live action movie. Wonder Woman will be the first superheroine to have her own solo film since DC and Marvel reinvigorated the genre and started their own Cola Wars™ for audience eyeballs and wallets. This is a big deal. Wonder Woman has been around for over three-quarters of a century. Yet, unlike the other two pillars of the DC Trinity (Superman and Batman), she’s been relegated to animated films, television, and a minifig appearance in The LEGO Movie franchise. Even folks who have never picked up a comic book in their life know who Wonder Woman is and that she stands for feminism. Or, if the F-word freaks you out because you bought into a toxic idea of what feminism is, she stands for equality.
But if you didn’t know Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot was coming out in 36 days as of today, no one could blame you. Warner Bros. has been weirdly reticent about the marketing campaign for one of the most iconic superheroes in the world. The hype should be off the charts. But, as Shana O’Neil points out over at SyfyWire, it isn’t. When Suicide Squad came out, you couldn’t escape the world’s worst heroes. They were everywhere, despite the average audience-goer knowing only who Harley Quinn and the Joker were due to pop culture osmosis. Everyone knows who Wonder Woman is. Yet a quick look at the playlist for Suicide Squad vs. Wonder Woman on the official Warner Bros. YouTube page is as different as night and day.
Approximately a month before Warner Bros. releases one of their biggest films of the year, one that will go down in entertainment history one way or another simply for being the first film starring Princess Diana, the company has released three trailers and two “Tilt Brush” videos explaining the concept art. At the same point in the marketing cycle for Suicide Squad, the villainous flick already had three trailers, four TV spots, a “Buy Advanced Tickets” promotional video, and fun little biographies for each member of the team. That’s a hell of a lot more promotion for a B-string list of heroes (at best) than for WONDER WOMAN.
Things get even weirder if you hop over to the official YouTube page for the upcoming Justice League film. The movie, which comes out in November 2017, already has six videos: one trailer and five “Meet the team” biographies. What is going on? How can a movie that is seven months away be getting more promotional attention than the one that is practically in theaters already? Do Warner Bros. and DC think audiences don’t want to meet the cast of Wonder Woman? Are they so certain of butts in seats they think they don’t need to spend the money? Or are they spiraling into a self-fulfilling prophecy that female superhero movies tend to flop (because they’re bad and not because they star women) and don’t want to throw marketing dollars into a perceived money pit?
That’s not to say there is no Wonder Woman marketing. The merchandise is out there. But while pop-culture bellwether Hot Topic may have a handful of items from the film on hand — mostly Funko Pops — the rest of their Wonder Woman gear is based on the comic, not the movie. Compare that to the hundreds of results that pull back on Hot Topic’s site for Suicide Squad and the difference is quantity is stark. Remember, merchandisers get official imagery to work from to create their products months in advance of the general audience. They then use those images as the baseline for what their products will look like. From all appearances, Warner Bros. didn’t give their officially licensed merchandise promoters a lot to work with for Wonder Woman. Odd.
So what’s a Wonder Woman fan to do in the face of this deflated balloon noise of a marketing push? Be a champion for Diana. Tell your friends the movie comes on June 2, 2017. Buy tickets. Show up. Because right now Warner Bros. is trying — intentionally or not — to bury the Amazon Princess and it’s up to us to make sure they fail.