Open Letter: Stop “Leaking” Trailers

Monday, July 28 by

This morning I (and every other movie journalist on the web) posted about the "leaked" X-Men Origins: Wolverine trailer. It was crooked, blurry and the sound absolutely sucked, but we were excited just to see what was up. Of course, by now, the trailers have bee taken down and I’m left wondering why they would do something so stupid?

The first thing movie makers need to understand is that if you show a trailer at Comic Con, there’s a good chance that it’s going to show up online soon after. Having an exclusive clip of something so noteworthy gets you a gold star in the nerd community, regardless of quality. On the Internet, being first is almost always more important than being the best.


As soon as a clip like that hits the web, it goes to all the blogs, one of which makes a big enough push to make the homepages of Digg and Reddit. By the time the annoying studio watchdogs get it pulled from the tubes, tens of millions of people have already seen the trailer, including all the people who actually care about it the most.

Now it’s just about midnight eastern time and the official Wolverine trailer is still nowhere to be found. More that 24 hours after it "leaked," there’s still no legitimate way for people to watch the footage the studio is going to be paying TV stations millions to jam down your throats in a few months. The trailer is obviously ready to be shown, and they have literally millions of people trying to watch a commercial for their product and they won’t cooperate. No other industry would ever put up with that. If we were all clamoring to see the commercial for the new Raisin Bran, I bet Kellogs.com would be updated, online and ready to go.

But it’s not just 20th Century Fox. The same thing seems to happen with all kinds of movies. At least when the trailer for Zack Snyder’s Watchmen leaked, the official, HD version was right on it heels. But until Hollywood realizes how good they’ve got it when it comes to advertising, they’re going to keep losing eyeballs. Look at the comments on the pages where the trailers for Wolverine used to be. Plenty of them are negative (this is the Internet after all), but I’d be willing to be they would be more positive had the video not been shot by a cellphone from the late ’90s.

So, what’s the solution? Just put the friggin’ trailers on the web as soon as they’re ready. Make it high quality, and let it be embedded in other sites. People will talk about it, link to it and, most importanltly, analyzie it until their eyeballs bleed red tears of loneliness. It’s what I would be doing right now if the Wolverine trailer was available. But I refuse to beg for someone to let me watch their commercial. There are plenty of free commercials out there for me to watch….like that one with the gecko. That little bastard is hilarious!

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