Warner Bros. appears to have quietly removed a promotional video for Justice League's upcoming Blu-ray release. The lighthearted video, which strongly invoked the classic Super Friends cartoon, was met with immediate hostility from DCEU fans.
Justice League has quickly become something of a cautionary tale of how not to promote a shared universe blockbuster. After the dark, morally complicated Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice were met with polarizing audience reactions and slightly underwhelming box office returns, Warner Bros. was looking for a tonal course correction with Justice League. When director Zack Snyder was fired from his role as director, Avengers director Joss Whedon was brought in to oversee extensive reshoots that resulted in a film that was something of a mishmash of Whedon and Snyder's decidedly different styles, failing to fully please either director's fanbase.
But beyond the actual movie's flaws, perhaps the biggest reason for the film's financial failure was a truly baffling marketing campaign that inexplicably tried to pretend Superman wouldn't be a major factor - despite the fact Henry Cavill was on the promotional trail with his fellow castmates, and the end of Batman V Superman made it explicit Superman would be returning. In a more recent marketing head-scratcher, the Blu-ray marketing included a lighthearted Super Friends homage video was a complete misreading of the current mood of the DCEU's outspoken fanbase, leaning into the sort of MCU meta winks that soiled so many on the final product of Justice League.
After the tweet and Facebook post were met with backlash and mockery from fans, the posts were eventually deleted, a rare move for Warner Bros. after months of unflinching reactions to the movie's negative reception. Fortunately, the video was already downloaded and is still being passed around for any who care to remember the cheesy promo video.
Now why would they go and delete this? pic.twitter.com/6Zq65RcEY7— ☕Stephen M. Colbert (@smcolbert) March 15, 2018
The Blu-ray release of the film is somewhat marred by the ongoing war being waged over demand for a "Snyder cut" of the film to be released, something Warner Bros. denies exists. For whatever it's worth, Snyder and his creative partners seem to be quietly encouraging that campaign.
Justice League was supposed to be Warner Bros.' victory lap after the unqualified success of Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman, but Justice League's soft box office and behind the scenes drama ended up resetting the narrative of the DCEU as a franchise without a creative center. Early indications suggest that Aquaman and Shazam! might be stronger products than the beleaguered team up film, but the fact that Warner Bros. still can't foresee something like a Super Friends tinged promo video as being provocative right now suggests the studio still doesn't quite understand what people are looking for with these movies.
Justice League is available to purchase on Blu-ray now.