SPOILER WARNING: I hope you have seen the films by now but if not this article contains spoilers for Thor Ragnarok, Avengers Infinity Wars and Deadpool 2.
Film Trailers are very important for a film marketing. It encapsulates the style of the direction of the film by showing us glimpses of the film before the film is out in theatres. But film trailers have always been a risky game for the entertainment industry because it always runs the risk of spilling the beans. The upcoming Chris Pratt starring Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a perfect example of such a trailer. If you go on YouTube and watch the trailers of the film, you are most likely going to understand the main outcome of the film and the very point of going to the theatre would lose its value. On the other hand, make the trailer too vague and you risk losing viewers as you are unable to capture their attention. (Think of all the film trailers you watched but never ended up going to the cinema hall.)
So, is there a way to make film trailers without spoiling the fun but also make it so engaging that people come to the theatres? Of course, there is. LIE. LIE to your customers but make it so subtle that you don’t risk an outrage after the film. I am talking about the art of misleading trailers where footage is deliberately added to mislead people. Recently one studio has championed this art- MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT STUDIOS.
Love it or Hate it- Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a success in a lot of ways. From character development to drawing both new and old generations of people who have comics or not to theatres and giving multiple box-office hits, Marvel Entertainment has proved a lot of people wrong. MCU has proved the people don’t always watch films to relate themselves to the characters but also the aspirational values one might have which they can know isn’t possible in real life. Chances are you have ended watching one of the 18 Marvel movies before Avengers: Infinity Wars. But often overlooked is that Marvel (with the blessing of Disney) has become champions in marketing themselves with misleading trailers. Let me use 3 examples from the 3 recent Marvel movies. (Though there are many I am using the very popular and evident ones.)
1. Thor Ragnarok
The scene from the trailers that feels like intentional misdirection. Thor is on the streets of New York City, encounter the Goddess of Death, Hela who properly destroys his hammer and blows up a city block in Manhattan. Except, in the film, it doesn’t happen. However, nearly the exact same scene does occur, only Hela and Thor and Loki are all in Norway. In other words, the backgrounds are all swapped out to be Norway instead of New York City.
2. Avengers: Infinity Wars
This scene blew up in social media and people got very excited. But this specific scene was not in the film. In the whole movie, Dr Bruce Banner faced some issues could not HULK out. Apart from the initial battle with Thanos, the green monster Hulk was never to be seen in the film.
3. Deadpool 2
Though technically Disney/Marvel Entertainment still does not own Fox yet people from both studios worked together on the said film. This is the reason Josh Brolin, the actor who played Thanos also played Cable in this film. This film has done a hell of a job to mislead people. Go watch any trailer for this film and you will be forced to believe that Cable is the main villain here and Deadpool is trying to save the boy from him. I won’t ruin how this film ended for those who haven’t watched the film yet but definitely, it’s not that. Those who have you get my point.
The question that arises now is, why does Marvel Entertainment mislead its audience?
We live in an age where every single footage that is leaked or the studio releases is ruthlessly analyzed for details and sneak peak to the story. Marvel Entertainment within these 10 years has been able to develop a cult-like following for their films. One can verify this by watching the sheer number of videos that are released just explaining plot points and Easter eggs of the films. There are channels on YouTube dedicated to just that. They are very much aware that one wrong move from their side and millions of dollars goes to waste. They are very tight-lipped about every project of theirs. Marvel has even banned Tom Holland, the actor who plays Spiderman in MCU who has a habit of leaking plot points in interviews from reading the whole script. From marketing standpoint having misleading footage in their films limit the ability of the audiences to read their main story but also generates excitement.
But what makes them the champion in this art?
In my opinion, Marvel Entertainment is one of those studios who is very focused on what they do. They know their product very well and that is at the end of the day superhero movies. They also understand their fan base. They know everything that needs to be known. Their president Kevin Feige is a comic book fan and understands what people expect from them. Having such tight control over their production and distribution, Marvel Entertainment with the help of Disney has championed the art of misleading people to their screens in a good way.