By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Time was purchased on Lost, CSI, Law & Order, Criminal Minds, WWF Smackdown, NFC/AFC Playoffs, 24, The Mentalist, Fringe, The Office, 30 Rock, all the late-night shows on every network, and on and on. Watchmen has also been everywhere online: MySpace, Yahoo, Facebook, YouTube, IGN, Moviefone, NBC, For Your Imagination, Flixster, Hitfix and Fandango.
But the Warner Bros. team resisted the obvious tag line for Watchmen that “someone is killing off superheroes” in order not to oversimplify or oversell it. (As close as the marketing came was, “We want our superheroes.”) That meant doing something movie marketers rarely do: accepting that Watchmen is an acquired taste based on a restrictive idea and written as an inaccessible story, then made into a movie that isn’t for everyone.
But what about the following weekend, when Watchmen’s negatives are water-cooler talk? “I hate to think that, after two fucking years of marketing, we’re a one-weekend movie,” a Warner Bros. exec confessed to me.
But that’s exactly what’s happening here. “Either you were familiar with the source material, or you had trouble following the bouncing ball,” one studio marketing exec analyzed for me. “Alan Moore always said that Watchmen the graphic novel couldn’t be made into a movie. So, at the end of the day, Zack Snyder’s slavish attention to detail in making this a literal translation is what ultimately doomed the film. He cared more about the appeasement of the fanboys than [about] a cohesive, coherent movie meant for everyone.”
Funny, isn’t it, that even a sizable faction of fanboys railed online that Snyder’s take was too beat-by-beat faithful, with many expressing the wish that the Paul Greengrass version, which would have been set in the present day (instead of 1985 America against a Nixon-Kissinger backdrop) and involved multicultural terrorism (instead of the Cold War), had been made instead.
Oh, and they thought Zack’s music selection “zucked” by using all-too-obvious tunes like Hallelujah, Sounds of Silence, and Ride Of The Valkyries.
Others blame the Warner Bros. brass for — get this — being too hands-off. “This may have been one of those times when you second-guess,” another Hollywood bigwig opined. What distinguishes a great studio exec from every other studio exec is that they manage these filmmaker egos without letting them know they’re being managed. “But,” the bigwig says, “not everyone is Chris Nolan.”
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