In this age of social media, it's very difficult for a highly-anticipated blockbuster film to operate completely under the cover of darkness. David Ayer's Suicide Squad knows that all too well, as many set photos and videos of the on-location shoots leaked online while the director was filming in Canada. Ayer promised that the surprises were still under wraps, but then the comic book movie was hit by a different kind of leak altogether.
During San Diego Comic-Con 2015, Suicide Squad was a big part of the Warner Bros. panel, and footage from the movie was shown to those lucky enough to be in Hall H. And even though panel moderators endlessly request that attendees do not record the screens, people managed to take video of the Suicide Squad trailer and post it on the Internet for all to see in its raw quality. As a result, WB was forced to put the official video online, and the studio is none too pleased about that.
WB president of worldwide marketing and international distribution Sue Kroll issued the following statement addressing the leak and the studio's "regretful" decision to officially release what was shown:
Warner Bros. Pictures and our anti-piracy team have worked tirelessly over the last 48 hours to contain the Suicide Squad footage that was pirated from Hall H on Saturday. We have been unable to achieve that goal. Today we will release the same footage that has been illegally circulating on the web, in the form it was created and high quality with which it was intended to be enjoyed. We regret this decision as it was our intention to keep the footage as a unique experience for the Comic Con crowd, but we cannot continue to allow the film to be represented by the poor quality of the pirated footage stolen from our presentation.
Lately, there's been a trend of new trailers leaking early and the studios quickly putting the HD version online. Similar incidents happened with Avengers: Age of Ultron and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where there were special events planned for their debut, before someone (perhaps Hydra) got a hold of the preview and showed it to everyone. And with all the modern technology that's available to us, it's difficult to see how studios can control this in the future (outside of collecting smartphones at the Hall H door, which would not go over well).
Some may perceive Kroll's words to be a bit salty, especially since Marvel Studios had a much more light-hearted response to their trailer leak, but you can understand why WB would feel frustrated by the turn of events. It costs a lot of money to put together a Hall H panel, and the companies want to ensure that the experience is worth it for all the fans who spend days waiting in line. One of the perks of going to Comic-Con is to be among a select group of people who get to see the "exclusive" footage that's shown. However, if the footage is going to leak right after the panels, then there's less incentive for people to attend in-person, which hurts the event as much as the studio.
It will be interesting to see if there are any serious ramifications in response to the sheer amount of Hall H leaks that took place this year. Perhaps the most damaging thing that could happen is studios opting to not host panels. That's a tricky situation though, since the studios would be shooting themselves in the foot by blowing a golden opportunity like Comic-Con to promote their projects. Even in its poor quality, the Suicide Squad trailer got an enthusiastic response, starting the hype train for DC's villains team-up well in advance. Hopefully there's a compromise to be had and Hall H can continue to deliver fun and exciting things for moviegoers.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman – June 23rd, 2017; Justice League – November 17th, 2017; The Flash – March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman – July 27th, 2018; Shazam – April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 – June 14th, 2019; Cyborg – April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern – June 19th, 2020.
Source: Warner Bros.