Well… Marvel Has Had Quite the Week!

Tonight ended one of the craziest and most exciting weeks for anyone who has ever read a Marvel comic book or enjoys the current Marvel Cinematic Universe format. To think, it all started with a mistake…

Last Tuesday, rumors were traveling around the internet that a trailer for the Avengers: Age of Ultron had leaked online. While I was personally not able to see the leaked trailer, I had read that it followed the second half of the footage shown at this year’s Comic-Con. Marvel reacted to the “rumored” leak with the following tweet, confirming that the leaked footage was legit in a very appropriate way:

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This was the trailer that was originally supposed to debut during tonight’s Agents of Shield episode, in order to provide a ratings boost to a series that has dropped below five million viewers. Millions of Marvel fans would have made sure to catch this episode, thus providing a much needed jump for the fledging series. So, what would Marvel do? Would they just let the leaked trailer grow throughout the internet and everyone would have seen it before the episode’s premiere? No, they decided to release the full, high-definition trailer.

The trailer blew up! It broke the previous record that Iron Man 3 held for the amount of trailer views within 24 hours by over 10 million views (34.3 million vs. 23.1 million). It created an absolute buzz around the upcoming release, as well as allowing viewers to search for any easter eggs and hidden secrets (If you’re interested in these aspects, take a look at IGN’s Rewind Theater analysis). They took the plunge and released the full trailer, to the joyous reception of their fans! They even announced that they would release unseen footage of the movie during tonight’s Agents of Shield, in order to make up for the leaking of the original trailer.

The problem was, Kevin Feige wasn’t done with just showing off Age of Ultron. He and Marvel Studios invited fans to an Apple-esque event this morning, where they would be making some “ground-breaking” announcements. Many assumed it would something as simple as confirming that Benedict Cumberbatch was cast as Doctor Strange. However, it was way more than that!

marvel-02_612x380  Oh Kevin, you busy little bee!

He debuted the Phase Three schedule for the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

It was incredible! The third Captain America, confirming Doctor Strange (but not Cumberbatch… yet!) and moving up the release date for the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel. This three films confirmed the films that we knew were going to be released, but the best announcements were to come.

First came Thor: Ragnorak, the third film focusing on the Asgardian God which Feige described as the equivalent of what happened in Captain America: The Winter Soldier for Thor. This means that this film will change the course of Thor’s world, like the <SPOILERS> reveal that Hydra had control of Shield did on Captain America. Feige also described that Ragnorak is Norse for “The end of the world”, which can only mean terrible things for Thor, Loki (Hiddleston Returns!), Jane Foster and Asgard itself.

Next came four brand new movies, with three brand new heroes: Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Inhumans. These movies will increase the diversity of Marvel’s superhero ensemble with the first African-American and Woman solo films of the Cinematic Universe, addressing an issue that many criticizers have been bringing up about Marvel movies for a long time. Many analysts believe that Inhumans may turn into a X-Men type of franchise due to the main characters being a super-powered ensemble, each with their own individual abilities.

The fourth movie brought the big reason for the event, Avengers: Infinity War, which will bring to fruition the plan that Marvel started when Nick Fury broke into Tony Stark’s house at the end of Iron Man. Not only that, but it will be split into two movies! Also, check out the teaser for it below. How can you not be excited about this????

Thanos

This was the way to end an event! Feige had given the Marvel fans what they want… But he wasn’t even done there. He had one final movie announcement. The third Captain America movie would be titled “Civil War”, featuring the Superhero Registration Storyline that so many fans were clamoring for! To make it complete, Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. came out on stage and did a face-to-face pose against each other, giving attendees a playful tease to the serious lines that were going to be drawn between the two of them.

It got even crazier as they announced that Black Panther would debut and be a key character in Civil War. They even brought out Chadwick Boseman, the great actor who played Jackie Robinson in “42”, who had been secretly cast as Black Panther. After all of the leaks that occurred in the last week, how on earth did they keep this casting a secret? Let alone that he would be a featured cast member in the Civil War divide between Stark and Rogers!

The lineup is as follows:

So after all of the craziness that Marvel Studios had to endure in the past week, Marvel has seemed to take it all in stride and embraced the idea of getting ahead of leaks. Kevin Feige became the Steve Jobs of the movie industry on Tuesday, taking advantage of a leak and announcing something even better for their fans to sink their teeth into! 11 movies are scheduled for the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the next five years, which means that there will be 23 total movies within the Universe over Feige’s first three phases.

The announcement that Feige held on Tuesday was unprecedented, especially given that many of these movies are a couple years away. Most events like this feature a product that would be coming out at most six months from the event’s date (see Apple). The attendees loved it, the fans loved it, the actors loved it, oh c’mon who didn’t love it!

And then there’s this!

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How to Sell a Movie: X-Men DOFP

On Tuesday, the 14th one of the biggest films of the summer was released on Blu-Ray and DVD, X-Men: Days of Future Past. As a huge comic book reader growing up and a fan of the X-Men movie franchise (not The Last Stand so much), I was very excited for this movie and I followed the promotions associated with this movie from the beginning. Here a brief synopsis of what 20th Century Fox did:

TEASERS AND DEBUTS

Ever since the first posters were revealed, linking “James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart’s” Professor Xavier and “Michael Fassbender and Sir Ian McKellan’s” Magneto, it appeared 20th Century Fox was marketing the movie to tie First Class in with the original X-Men trilogy. After all, First Class’s focus was the beginning and evolution of Xavier and Magneto’s relationship. With Stewart and McKellan joining the cast this time around, these posters were a lot better than the ones used to promote First Class.

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For those that weren’t familiar with the Days of Future Past storyline, these posters provided the opportunity to show that this wasn’t just a sequel to X-Men: First Class, but that this movie was the next chapter of the original trilogy. This continued with the release of the first trailer, which illustrated to viewers how the two “franchises” were to be merged together.

Once the intrigue was set, that is when the heavy promotion around the stars/mutants themselves began:

The movie invaded the annual Comic-Con convention by revealing Trask Industries and their prototype Sentinel, the mutant hunting robots who look to destroy the X-Men. The entire cast was revealed in the infamous Hall H of the convention, bringing in the likes of Halle Berry and Ellen Page from the original cast and adding Peter Dinklage and Evan Peters to growing list.

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CENTER STAGE: WHY NOT WOLVERINE?

The opportunity to feature Hugh Jackman/Wolverine, clearly the breakout star of the entire movie franchise, was evident. He was heavily featured in the first two nationwide trailers along with the Charles and Erik dynamic, which is how we learned that the movie updated the storyline with him as the one returning to the past instead of Kitty Pryde (from the comics). Then the next couple of posters began to feature him prominently as the front man in the center of the mutant group.

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Not a surprising choice, considering they have a spinoff franchise about his character, but the studio couldn’t just focus its promotions on the Trilogy’s cast. So when they began to feature the First Class cast more in the promotional material, it was the choice of who they featured that made me ponder…

“THE WOLVERINE” OF FIRST CLASS

When she joined X-Men: First Class, Jennifer Lawrence was coming off her first Oscar nomination and this movie became her mainstream debut to the public. Since that movie’s release, she attained worldwide stardom through her Oscar win, the Hunger Games franchise and her all-around “quirkiness”. However, unlike the Hunger Games, X-Men was not a franchise that focused around her character. Which made it quite perplexing when she began standing side-by-side with Jackman. Sure, she was now an Oscar winner, but so was Halle Berry and Anna Paquin. Ellen Page was previously nominated as well. So was it simply the actresses’s popularity that made her special enough to overshadow Charles or Erik?

As mentioned, the first two trailers (Debut and Trailer #2) heavily featured the Charles and Erik dynamic and Wolverine. Then, as more and more posters began to release, the First Class mutant most featured was Lawrence as Mystique. She earned the coveted spot, evidence by being at the side of Wolverine when the double character posters debuted, along with the final poster featuring the entire ensemble cast.

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Lawrence’s rising star-power seemed to have won her this spot, but it wasn’t until the movie was released that viewers realized that there was another reason for this move by the studio. Without giving away spoilers here (besides, how may people will read this and not have seen it?), Mystique’s role in causing the bleak future proved quite significant. It seems that the studio was giving people a subtle wink that Mystique has a larger role in the X-Men universe for DOFP than expected and perhaps even for future X-Men movies as well.

WHIIIP… LAAAAAAASH

Fast forward to after the movie’s release, critics and viewers alike lauded the movie, giving it a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Another aspect that was praised was Evan Peters’s performance as the mutant Quicksilver and the studio took advantage. He was quickly added to the Hardee’s sponsorship commercial series and the X-Men Movies social media pages began to feature “homemade” videos of Quicksilver going about his life, from picking up tacos to playing tennis with himself. In short, many viewers fell in love with the snarky Quicksilver and studio wisely utilized him in continuing promotions.

Now that the movie is available for home video purchase, we see that the Blu-Ray and DVD box art features the ensemble of mutants, led by Wolverine. Interestingly Halle Berry/Storm and Ellen Page/Kitty are missing, but Peters/Quicksilver is featured on the artwork, obviously capitalizing on his praised performance.

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In conclusion, the marketing efforts for this movie not only promoted the movie, but also introduced a couple other mutants who may take the lead on promoting the future of the series. The question now is when and who will we see in the first promotions and marketing for the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse? I personally can’t wait!