Wonder Woman fans ask where all the marketing is

Is 'Wonder Woman' not being sold hard enough? (Credit: Warner Bros)
Is ‘Wonder Woman’ not being sold hard enough? (Credit: Warner Bros)

Were you aware that ‘Wonder Woman,’ the first big screen solo movie to star the original DC superheroine, is in cinemas from 1 June? If not – well, now you are. However, a vocal contingent of ‘Wonder Woman’ fans online are questioning the level of public awareness for the eagerly-anticipated feature from director Patty Jenkins.

Nowadays we’re well accustomed to upcoming studio tent pole movies, comic book adaptations in particular, being sold hard as their release dates draw near, but some feel that Warner Bros and DC have not been pushing as hard as they should with ‘Wonder Woman.’

Here’s a small portion of the complaints to be found on Twitter (beware of strong language ahead):

As we can see, this is for some very much a political concern. Not only is this the first solo movie for a DC character almost as old as Superman and Batman, it is also a comparatively rare instance of a blockbuster movie directed by a woman, being only the second feature from ‘Monster’ director Patty Jenkins.

It’s been 13 years since the last female-fronted comic book solo movies, 20th Century Fox’s Marvel movie ‘Elektra,’ and Warner Bros/DC’s ‘Catwoman.’ Given that both these films were critical and commercial disasters, they helped cement a notion that there was no audience interest in super-heroines.

This in turn may have helped kill off the ‘Wonder Woman’ movie which Joss Whedon, future writer-director of ‘Avengers Assemble’ (and soon ‘Batgirl’), was working on at the time.

Halle Berry in 2004's 'Catwoman,' which along with 'Elektra' killed female-fronted comic book movies in the 2000s (credit: Warner Bros)
Halle Berry in 2004’s ‘Catwoman,’ which along with ‘Elektra’ killed female-fronted comic book movies in the 2000s (credit: Warner Bros)

As such, many are concerned that if ‘Wonder Woman’ similarly under-performs in 2017, this will result in further shunning of female-fronted comic book movies. On top of which, there are fears that it would also mean even fewer opportunities for women to direct major motion pictures.

So, on what grounds do the fans argue ‘Wonder Woman’ isn’t get the promotion it deserves? Well, as a number of editorials on the matter have noted, the Warner Bros Youtube page has seen no less than five ‘Justice League’ videos posted in the past month; fairly heavy promo for a film which isn’t out until November. ‘Wonder Woman,’ however, has only three from the past month, two of which came online today. And this is to say nothing of the slew of ‘Justice League’ posters to have been released, next to comparatively few for ‘Wonder Woman.’

However, others argue that Warner Bros are promoting ‘Wonder Woman’ perfectly well.

Addressing the matter, Time Warner’s chief marketing officer Kristin O’Hara remarks, “we do want the release of ‘Wonder Woman’ in June to be a heroic moment for our company, but I think in a data-driven world, the heroic marketing moments aren’t those big huge moments, they’re an aggregation of tiny, little moments that happen over a long period of time that help us get smarter and smarter about our customers, that help us to create better experiences for them.” (Quotes via Heroic Hollywood.)

Whether it’s in response to the controversy or not, ‘Wonder Woman’s promotion does seem to be ramping up. Director Patty Jenkins tweeted a new 30 second trailer this morning, and has started giving more interviews in relation to the film. In one with the Toronto Sun, the director remarks she already has plans for a sequel, which might see the character “come to America and become the Wonder Woman we are all familiar with,” moving into the later 20th century after the World War 1 setting of the upcoming movie.

The director may also have more blockbusters on her plate soon, as Dwayne Johnson reportedly wants to work with her on his future Disney movie ‘Jungle Cruise.’

Poster design by B O N D (Warner Bros.)
Poster design by B O N D (Warner Bros.)

Whatever happens, there are definitely more superheroines coming to the big screen in the near future. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman will return in ‘Justice League,’ and Warners/DC have another female-centred film in the works, ‘Gotham City Sirens,’ which will team Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn (of ‘Suicide Squad’) with an as-yet uncast Catwoman and Poison Ivy.

Meanwhile, Marvel will introduce two new female leads in 2018’s ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ and 2019’s ‘Captain Marvel,’ the latter of which will be directed by a woman, Anna Boden – albeit in collaboration with a man, Ryan Fleck.

Will the perceived lack of marketing hurt ‘Wonder Woman’ at the box office – and subsequently hurt female-fronted comic book movies again? We’ll see when it finally hits screens on 1 June.

Watch the most recent ‘Wonder Woman’ promo spot below.

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