There is only one month left until one of DC Comics’ most well-known, beloved characters finally gets her own turn on the big screen after living in print for near a century. Of course I’m talking about the Amazonian warrior-princess and defender of Paradise Island, Wonder Woman. This is a movie fans have been waiting an incredibly long time to see, to show mainstream audiences why the character is relevant and close to their heart. So, where is the promotional push that usually accompanies a tent-pole blockbuster like this?
I am far from the only one asking this question. Fans around the world have been posting to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and other social media staples wondering this very same thing. Yet Warner Brothers/DC Comics, probably the biggest entertainment company in the world next to their rival Disney/Marvel, has stayed unusually silent on the issue. Their handling of the character has left much to be desired ever since the misleading marketing for Batman v Superman. Her brief screen time was disappointing to say the least, after the WB marketing machine put her in a pivotal spot in the trailers, not to mention her very own character poster, giving the impression that the Trinity would be equally featured in the most anticipated film comic fans would ever see, well, until Justice League at least.
This isn’t a new thing by far. We’ve seen it all before with Disney’s lack of Rey and Black Widow/Scarlet Witch promotional tie-ins with their respective films, with Rey being uncomfortably glaring. The backlash against the lack of Rey action figures when she was one of the leads in The Force Awakens was seen by many as odd at best, and insulting at worst. And now this. It seems that Hollywood is still having trouble figuring out how to market female leads in 2017.
Is this another in the long line of self-fulfilling bullshit prophecies where company A doesn’t promote heroine A, so heroine A performs poorly, leading company A to decide female lead properties just don’t sell, giving the fans less merchandise featuring heroine A, B, C, D, E, etc.? And what of Wonder Woman‘s director Patty Jenkins, or star Gal Gadot? Will they receive most of the blame if this film under-performs? Sadly, history shows us they just may suffer from the backlash.
There was a new trailer released this week featuring much more action than previous teases, maybe in a bid to appeal to the hallowed male 18-30 demographic, but is it enough? By this point in the marketing for both B v S and Suicide Squad there were multiple trailers, character posters, appearances by their respective stars on late night TV, and fast food tie-ins. Where is the Wonder Woman happy meal? When is Patty Jenkins going to tell funny behind-the-scenes anecdotes to Jimmy Kimmel?
While all of that is problematic, here’s another perspective from an industry insider (finger quotes). There may be a few reasons the marketing department is holding back a bit for the moment. There’s another highly anticipated comic book movie coming out this Friday. Something about a raccoon and a sapling guarding the galaxy or something. You’ve probably seen the advertising, since it’s fucking everywhere. Disney/Marvel is doing their own media blitz, and maybe WB is smart to hold-off on theirs so they don’t get buried. Next week, once Guardians talk has quieted down might be a better time. However, WB has another epic coming out before WW in Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur. I have a feeling that may be where we see a new trailer, and new TV spots to follow, especially if KA doesn’t perform as well as expected. The WB isn’t going to want to overshadow this, or Everything Everything, which both hit before WW. Now this isn’t me excusing the studios, but giving some food for thought. Devil’s advocate was never my strongest suit.
So what do we do about this problem? For starters, order your tickets early. Show WB that this film is popular, anticipated, and important. Buy tie-in merchandise wherever you find it. Tweet about the movie, and tag WB in those tweets. Let’s show the companies and studios that just making a female lead film isn’t enough; they need to stand behind it. It’s a new era for pop-culture, one which is celebrated openly by men and women, gay, straight, gender non-conforming, and people of all sizes, ethnicities, and ages. We need the studios to realize this, and promote accordingly. We want the world to see Wonder Woman the way we do, but they won’t if they don’t know it’s out there.
Just don’t hit that panic button yet. See you in the theaters.