One of the interesting things about Comic Con is how it skews normal time tables for releasing promotional footage. A good example this year is the teaser for X-Men: Apocalypse which was apparently shown at a panel last night. While It’s not surprising that they would have the entire main cast there, they’ve only been shooting for a few weeks. One of the biggest frustrations audiences have with trailers is that they’re frequently cut from unfinished versions of the film, and material used in the trailer can be cut from the final version of the movie. If this happens with films close to release? What does it mean when you slap together a “teaser” with only about a month of principle photography under your belt?
Well, we don’t know, because they haven’t released the footage online yet. There are leaks, but they’re being shut down fairly rapidly. Screen Rant has a pretty thorough description of the teaser, which hints at the plot of X-Men: Apocalypse while also showing a lot of the characters, new and old. It sounds like they also reveal some information that may be spoilery, which is a bold move given that the film isn’t coming out until next May. There are some good descriptions of character looks, but again I’m not really going to trust anything that’s released this early to tell me what the final film will be like. Rogue had been in Days of Future Past up until final editing, but if you’d cut a teaser from early filming that audiences trusted in you might have some very confused fans.
X-Men isn’t the only franchise playing this game, Suicide Squad and Deadpool also tried to do Comic Con exclusives which have also been leaked to the internet. Given the near ubiquity of smart phones (particularly among Comic Con attendees) it makes you wonder why studios are still trying to screen exclusive footage at Comic Con rather than just admitting that it’s a slightly earlier view. There’s enough ways to make a panel interesting and engaging for fans without promising footage that can’t be seen anywhere else, since most people know that it’s going to get leaked immediately. Again, both those movies are a long way out from their release dates and haven’t been filming for long. Is now the best time to show off footage to fans? Is it worth getting the buzz from early teasers released online with material that’s grainy, unfinished, and subject to change, or would they be better off waiting until they had a more complete product? I’m inclined towards the latter, I want to see footage from the finished or near-finished version of the movie because it feels like a better indicator of what I’ll be paying to see. But SDCC only happens once a year, and it doesn’t always line up nicely with release dates. What do you think?