As one TV executive said to me recently “Is any leak really a mistake in the media business?” It stands to see. HBO Max, which is set to have a big March with the debut of Godzilla VS King Kong and the launch of the Snyder cut of the Justice League on March 18 accidentally released the first hour of the film to people clicking on Tom and Jerry this Monday. The adage that no news is bad news and that it is always a positive when people are talking about you tells me, that maybe HBO Max and Warner Media wanted people to start talking more about the upcoming release of the 4-hour version of The Justice League and maybe stop talking about Ray Fisher, Wandavision and the rest of the entertainment world. Need any evidence. Variety quoted a man who has “never been a huge DC movie fan,” including of the 2017 theatrical version of “Justice League”. The man Doug Bass posted a screenshot of the movie playing was super hyped.
“I planned to watch it after the 18th at some point,” he says. “But now I’m ready for the 18th.” On Twitter, Bass also said the footage he got to see “is the best DC film I’ve ever seen.”
What kind words from a skeptic of the whole DC Movie Universe. If he likes it we must be heading towards something great right? That’s certainly the impression a reaction like this gives off. And the thing is that it comes off as organic. Heck, it probably is. But Bass might have just been part of a gorilla preview screening of the movie with HBO MAx hoping to get people excited. But maybe it was just bad/good luck on their part.
I recall a similar situation when the CW had a new series on the way to build on its already successful show Arrow. A few weeks ahead of the official TV debut of The Flash the full first episode appeared on servers and people scooped it up and watched it. This is not to say that the show would not have been a success without such an event but it gave people a feeling of notoriety to be able to say “they don’t want you to see it but you can anyway”.
The thing is that if people saw enough of it to say that they are looking forward to seeing more and give fuel to the many comic book and movie-based websites that traffic in stories about upcoming shows movies and fan theories then something like this becomes almost free advertising. If there were a true Sandiego Comic Con you would have better believed there would have been multiple sessions on the topic. But all of that interaction was taken from us because of the pandemic.
So while we should not expect to see more previews, I mean leaks, the job has probably been done. In a world, without big screen, pre-movie trailers film projects need any boost they can get. And while nobody would ever admit it, I bet this is exactly what happened.