Every year, fans who attend Comic-Con are given the chance to see unreleased footage of forthcoming blockbusters but, thanks to some fans with handheld smartphones, two major films have also seen their early trailers leaked online. On the Internet, fan response had been overwhelmingly positive and the excitement surrounding the leaked footage is almost unprecedented. It’s hard to imagine that Warner Bros. Pictures is really upset about shoddy, handheld video leaked of a movie trailer (after all, a movie trailer is in actuality, an advertisement — an advertisement which was viewed anxiously by their most hardcore fans). But today they released an official statement admonishing the leak.
“Warner Bros. Pictures and our anti-piracy team have worked tirelessly over the last 48 hours to contain the Suicide Squad footage that was pirated from Hall H on Saturday. We have been unable to achieve that goal. Today we will release the same footage that has been illegally circulating on the web, in the form it was created and high quality with which it was intended to be enjoyed. We regret this decision as it was our intention to keep the footage as a unique experience for the Comic Con crowd, but we cannot continue to allow the film to be represented by the poor quality of the pirated footage stolen from our presentation.”
– Sue Kroll, President Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures
Kroll noted that film is still currently in production and added, “Our presentation yesterday was designed to be experienced in that room, on those big screens!”
We understand the art of presentation better than most. We understand that art is meant to be viewed as those who created it intended. However, we also understand that grassroot excitement over any product is an elusive and precious thing. And the vast majority of fans online are upset with the tone of Kroll’s response. “It’s unfortunate and ultimately damaging that one individual broke a long-standing trust we have enjoyed with our fans at the convention by posting early material, which, at this point, was not intended for a wider audience.” Kroll remarked.
Of course, the previews for the eagerly anticipated antihero movies Suicide Squad and Deadpool were intended for Comic-Con attendees. But we live in an age where everyone has a camera in their pocket. Ardent fans who who put up with viewing terrible bootleg video of a concert, movie trailer or other live show aren’t going to skip going to see the real thing. It only generates excitement. Piracy is a serious issue — but this isn’t piracy. It’s enthusiasm — and press they could not have paid for. Perhaps in the future media companies will realize the age they are living in, and not berate those who support them the most.