Recently the trailer that was shown at Comic Con for Suicide Squad got leaked on to the Internet and then shortly afterward got officially released. The only reason that it got officially released is because the WB did not want the shaky phone cam footage of the trailer to represent the film. They actually went so far as to admonish any fan who posted or shared the footage as it was illegal and they wanted to create a special or exclusive experience for the Comic Con attendees.
Exclusives can be great incentives for people to buy or attend something, but can some exclusives be either elitist or seem counter intuitive? A lot of times video games have exclusive content based on the console the game is on, which awards people who own that console. Other people still get to play the game, even if they miss out on that one piece. It is the same thing for exclusives during pre-orders that those who are willing to put down their money early can get extra features, but anyone can buy the game later and play the same game. These are very different types of exclusives than showing a trailer only at a convention and it makes me wonder if they really do anything.
Tangible versus Intangible Exclusives
One of the big differences between the exclusives that will come with a purchase (and an exclusive viewing at an event) is that they are something you own and take with you. When you purchase a movie or video game with exclusive extras added on you get to take them with you and experience them over and over again. When you get to view an exclusive video at an event then you only get to watch it once, unless you illegally record the screen showing the video. These videos are not something you can take with you and if you do not pay enough attention you could actually miss something. By not being able to take it with you then you are missing out on being able to keep consuming.
Being able to obsess over and consume something multiple times is a hallmark of many geeks online. We do not just want to watch something once, we want to watch it over and over again. On YouTube you can find any number of people doing a scene by scene breakdown of movie trailers, especially for many of these comic book, science fiction, etc. movies or video games. This makes sense because trailers are designed to get us excited about watching or playing the movie or video game. When we get really excited then we cannot wait to see more, but often more does not exist so we just have the trailer.
When companies provide exclusives only at conventions that a few of the fans get to attend then they only excite those fans – fans who. following the viewing, want to share because they want more people to get excited about whatever the exclusive is for. The way to get people excited is to give them a preview or sneak peek!
Sharing the Joy
One thing that most fans want to do is share the joy. When we get an awesome opportunity that excites us we want to share with others because we know they could not join in. If instead of making an exclusive trailer or sneak peek they handed out stills from the set or something then these images would end up online as well because people want to share.
Some of this I think comes from a fear of these movies not doing well. If the movie does not do well then it could mean that studios reconsider making those movies; same thing with video games. The way to help keep this from happening is to share the joy and get others just as excited as you are. I can completely understand why attendees at a convention would want to share a trailer they experienced to try and make sure that others get excited as well.
I understand the perspective of the WB trying to make a special experience for Comic-Con-goers, but also not wanting to leave a sub-par version of the trailer as the representative of the film. Fox on the other hand is just allowing the illegal recordings to continue to exist instead of releasing the HD versions (for now) for Deadpool and X-Men Apocalypse.
Personally I think it would be better to use the conventions as sneak peeks and then maybe in a couple weeks release the trailer to the general public. There was a comment about using the convention to excite the base, but the problem is that seems a bit elitist to me. I am a huge fan of a multitude of things especially comic book movies, but I do not have the luxury of attending many of these big conventions.
There are some movies, such as Suicide Squad and Batman v. Superman, that I am not so sure about. At the same time seeing the recent trailers has moved me in a direction where I might want to see these movies in theaters and I will watch the trailers multiple times as we move closer to the release date. Sometimes one good trailer is all it will take to make me want to see the whole movie (Guardians of the Galaxy, anyone?), but when those trailers are exclusives at a convention then aren’t you just getting those who already want to see the movie excited, instead of converting the doubters?