The folks over at Slash Film caught up with Hutch Parker, X-Men: Apocalypse producer and former studio exec at Fox, and the big topic of discussion was the amount of leaks coming out of Comic-Con in San Diego this year. As we’ve noted, folks are shocked that these “exclusive” trailers and clips are leaked from an event that’s meant to be some closed door gulag for things the world is clearly clamoring to see.
Parker talks the problem with leaks from a purely marketing stand point, treating the Comic-Con crowd as a focus group barometer for what needs to change and what works well — a troublesome thought if you’ve ever seen the leaked footage and know how crowds react to certain things. But he notes that while leaks are troublesome on a marketing front, they also represent a clash against the plans of the studios and creative behind the films:
I’d say it really isn’t intended to be leaked. It’s really intended to excite a core. From a marketing perspective, what they want is to share it with the most discerning eyes that are out there for this material. It’s the biggest and probably most intense focus group any of us ever have.
You hope that you excite a level of interest that they will express and celebrate it. But it’s a scary-ass deal, because they’re not shy. If they don’t like it, if they aren’t feeling it, they’re going to let you and everybody else know…
The problem with the theory about the marketing is, I don’t actually think it’s good marketing. Leaking footage a year in advance of a movie’s release is not such a good thing. The reason you don’t see footage out that far is you run the risk of it getting stale. Generally speaking, and I can’t speak for other studios — I can’t even speak for Fox any more — but I don’t believe their intention is [for footage to be leaked]. I think their intention is to get the most important opinions and opinion-makers in this community engaged in the promise of what’s coming.
You hear that blogger working on a deadline and guy in a Pikachu outfit! You’re a tastemaker. A mover and a shaker with important opinions about million dollar productions that are already underway with no intentions of changing despite your hooping and hollering.
It’s been covered, very well mind you, and at least Parker is clear about the marketing connection for Comic-Con. That’s all that’s really happening and it is hard to classify why this is the end of the world for studios. My only conclusion is that it is a loss of control that they want to hold onto. Instead of looking at a leak as a helpful reminder that people really really want to see their product on the big screen, studios see it as a detriment.
Warner Bros. response is the best example of missing that boat and choosing one with a big hole in the bottom. If you can’t give fans at Comic-Con a true treat aside from some footage they’ll see online and in movie theaters at another point in the future, then you’re just not trying hard enough as a major studio. Look at what the folks behind Star Wars managed to do with their presentation.
Meanwhile, Fox and Warner are threatening to shoot their movies in the back of the head.
(Via Slash Film)