Director James Mangold's The Wolverine is the next step in 20th Century Fox's campaign to rekindle fans' faith in the franchise, after the one-two punch of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine wasted much of the good will earned by director Bryan Singer's previous two installments. Mangold and Hugh Jackman's 'definitive' take on the character aims to keep the momentum of X-Men: First Class going, setting the stage for Singer's ambitious followup X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Speculation about how Wolverine connects to Days of Future Past on a narrative level - coupled with general interest in seeing Logan's dangerous trip to Japan - has only elevated demand for a trailer even higher. Well, it seems that an official preview is arriving at last, but not as soon as everyone has been led to believe.
Two weeks ago, reports began circulating that a Wolverine trailer would, in fact, be premiering online February 12th (today, at the time of writing this). It seemed a reasonable proposition, what with X-Men movie studio 20th Century Fox's A Good Day to Die Hard opening this weekend - and, thus, providing an excellent vehicle for launching the teaser in theaters, given that both films are gunning for the same male demographic's attention at the box office.
However, that was before Mangold Tweeted the following:
Take a deep breath. End of March.
— James Mangold (@mang0ld) February 11, 2013
Nonetheless, the decision to delay Wolverine marketing is a curious one. As was discussed on the '5 Big Questions for Movie Geeks in 2013' episode of the SR Underground podcast, Warner Bros. isn't doing much to hype Zack Snyder's Man of Steel right now; not to mention, by the time the last days of March roll around (when the G.I. Joe sequel arrives in theaters), Marvel's going to be cranking up the hype-building meter to 11 to assure that Iron Man 3 kicks off the summer with a bang. That's to say: there's little competition for earning The Wolverine attention right now, so why not take advantage of the opportunity?
It's feasible that Fox is mostly waiting things out until Iron Man 3 opens, before employing a blitzkrieg marketing strategy; that move would resemble what WB did last year, by holding off getting the masses pumped for The Dark Knight Rises until after The Avengers arrived. The Wolverine, similar to the Batman trilogy finale, is a dark and artistic treatment of comic book material with meditative elements. That might make it less of an easy sell to those wanting good summer blockbuster fun, even when compared to the serious trailers for self-proclaimed "not dark" superhero movies like Man of Steel and IM3.
That's all to say: the decision to wait a whole additional month before initiating any Wolverine marketing for a broader audience (re: those who don't read movie/TV news sites like Screen Rant) might, in part, stem from Fox studio's concerns about not having a product as action-packed and fun as other impending blockbusters. Then again, heavy marketing for X-Men: First Class didn't start until four months prior to its release, like The Wolverine, and things worked out well enough there. So, maybe this is just business-as-usual for Fox and the X-Men series, much to the frustration of its fans.
The Wolverine is directed by James Mangold, from a screenplay written by Mark Bomback and Christopher McQuarrie. It stars Hugh Jackman, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Will Yun Lee, Brian Tee, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Rila Fukushima.
The Wolverine hits theaters July 26, 2013. X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theaters on July 18th, 2014.
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