Turns out last Friday’s leak of an old Godzilla 2014 Trailer did a lot more good than harm for fans and for Warner Bros., and especially for Legendary Pictures, the movie’s producer and those who worked on it.
The Godzilla 2014 Trailer leak was the product of an overall and widespread displeasure with Warner Bros marketing and publicity efforts, so much so, that if the movie has any hint of a box office hickup, Legendary would be right to consider suing Warner Bros, who has dropped the marketing and buzz ball for Godzilla 2014.
The climate that caused the first leak was born at Comic Con 2013 in San Diego, when Godzilla fans wondered why the great footage that was shown in Hall H that Saturday morning of July 20th 2013 didn’t make its way into a trailer, while a trailer for Catching Fire that was shown at Hall H was released to the public and eventually was the catalyst for Catching Fire reaching both Twitter Trend status and Google Trends status.
Still, many Godzilla fans expressed faith that both Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures knew what they were doing, so, being unaware of the many political problems the relationship between the distributor and the maker of Godzilla and of Pacific Rim before it have had, they sat and waited.
But the patience of Godzilla fans – who just want to see a realistic Godzilla movie using the same state-of-the-art special effects that brought King Kong and more recently The Hulk in The Avengers to life, and that stays true to what Godzilla was depicted as in the original 1954 version – wore thin when a trailer for would-be 2014 box office competitor RoboCop was shown.
And while that RoboCop trailer was panned, the simple fact that it was released, and a trailer for Godzilla wasn’t, was the last straw.
It must be said that there are a lot of Godzilla production people, from special effects artists to set designers, who have a lot riding on the success of the movie. They rightly expect it to be huge, but are also nervous that in a hyper media climate, even established entertainment brands need to make sure they get huge buzz. The brethren who have worked on Godzilla, lost faith in Warner Bros. , and it’s for that reason these leaks are coming.
Already, another leak of what appears to be a real trailer was posted over at AceShowbiz and its a Facebook page installment, which is harder to take down than if it were over at YouTube. What it shows, according to AceShowBiz, (2nd trailer here) is…
…military forces on a plane preparing to jump into the city which has been wrecked by the giant monster. It seems that David Strathairn who plays The Mayor provides the voiceover to the scene as he can be heard greeting the troop, “Gentlemen, you are being sent in by a HALO jump.”
“Now I realize not all of you have had hands on experience and frankly, none of us have ever faced a situation quite like this before. But I would not be asking any one of you to take this leap…if I did not have complete faith in your ability to succeed,” he continues his speech. “Your courage will never be more needed than it is today.”
But there’s more, including a number of scenes from inside some kind of plant, a train that suddenly becomes badly damaged, a shot of Bryan Cranston in some kind of radiation suit, a woman gasping as she looks skyward, and the same clip of a silhouette of Godzilla turning to roar that was in the first leaked trailer.
What we haven’t seen, yet, is his atomic breath.
The impact of the leaks has caused the online search for Godzilla 2014 to reach levels not seen before. Prior to last week’s action, the Google Trends search ranking for Godzilla 2014 was 10 on the average.
The Godzilla 2014 trailer leak caused online search for “Godzilla 2014” to jump to 70 on Friday of last week, then 100 (A-list territory) on Saturday. And while it’s dropped since then, the decrease hasn’t been much – into the 40s and the 30s – because of the power of the first trailer, the fans desire to see more, and Warner Bros staffers running around online trying to take down videos as soon as they discover they’re posted.
Here’s the chart, thanks to Google:
And for comparison, the leak caused Godzilla 2014 to beat Kris Jenner in Google Trends ratings until her separation from Bruce Jenner put her on top. Here’s the chart:
And from this, you can see that Godzilla 2014 is part of the pop-culture conversation on Google.
So, in closing, these periodic trailer and video leaks are providing a buzz for Godzilla 2014 that was sorely needed, and really do set up fans for the real marketing campaign Warner Bros. is expected to launch in November.
All of this adds up to a big digital media marketing fail for Warner Bros (not the first one this year) and for several reasons.
First, Warner Bros should have had some kind of 15 second trailer or commercial all ready to go right after Comic Con. Second, there should be, and to this writing still is not, a Godzilla website. Third, Warner Bros. has effectively lost control of the online marketing process for the movie, and it’s now under the influence of Godzilla’s core fan-base, plus new those new ones who’s imagination has been captured by the leaked trailers. The more tech-savvy fans are using ways to distribute the leaked videos that are out of the reach of Warner Bros – they can’t make a call or send an email and have them removed.
A brave new World.