Venom's Trailers Spoiled The Ending (And Post-Credits Scene)
As already mentioned, that “turd in the wind” moment that was so mocked from the trailers is also the end of the film. It’s not unusual for trailer companies to take key moments out of context and turn them into the big sell of the movie; if done well, audiences won’t mind the bait and switch. The problem with Venom’s trailer is that it strips a deliberately comical moment of its context and tries to position it as "badass" and it simply doesn’t work.
This isn’t the only spoiler moment the mishandled trailers reveal. The second official trailer opens with Eddie Brock arriving at San Quentin Prison on his motorcycle and being escorted through the hallways by a prison guard. In context, this moment isn’t in the film: it’s from Venom's post-credits scene that acts as a sequel hook, wherein Eddie goes to jail to interview Cletus Kasady, a.k.a. Carnage (played by Woody Harrelson). The scene seems to have been used for the trailer to emphasize that thriller-like tone more than add anything substantive in terms of the story the film has chosen to tell. In order to further sell the film as something it isn’t, the marketing team of Sony spoiled Venom.
Did The Trailers Hurt Venom?
Questions remain over what kind of Venom film Sony, Ruben Fleischer and Tom Hardy originally wanted to make and the one they actually ended up creating. So much of the talk around production focused on how Venom would be a truly adult comic book film akin to Logan or Deadpool. The trailers seemed more in line with that sort of film. Yet the final product is very different: it’s much funnier, less concerned with scaring audiences and more focused on Tom Hardy’s debates with the voice inside his head.
Given how many of the film’s reviews note its unexpectedly comedic shifts as a negative, one can’t help but put some of that blame on Sony’s mishandling of the marketing. Early bad buzz and confusion over Venom's PG-13 rating could have been dealt with more efficiently if Sony had given the film the marketing that made the most sense. Yet this may also have been something Sony couldn’t have avoided. While Fleischer claims the film was always intended to be a PG-13, he had already given interviews talking about how Venom would take advantage of the R-rating. Speculation remains that the film was cut or remodeled in the edit in order to meet the PG-13 requirements as well as add more humor to the movie, but none of that is reflected in the trailers or marketing, which is stalwartly focused on the anti-hero angle and darker tone.
The marketing for the film was never able to keep up with its vision. While this confusion doesn’t seem to have hurt Venom’s opening weekend, it’s still a problem that Sony will have to deal with in the long-term should they wish to continue with their planned Spider-verse.
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018