16 June 2006

MARKETING: Superman Joins MySpace

The Superman Returns marketing onslaught continues...

Man Of Steel Seeks Friends

AN AMERICAN CULTURAL ICON HAS landed in the leading American social networking site with the posting of a MySpace profile to promote the new "Superman Returns," premiering June 28.

By Thursday evening, just five days after the site quietly went live, the profile had attracted 12,719 MySpace "friends," many responding to the site's slogan, "Show us your 'S'," with photos of themselves striking the iconic shirt-ripping pose to reveal the well-known symbol--including at least one fan who had the "S" tattooed directly on his chest.

The Web site also offers a basket of downloadable extras like "Superman" wallpaper, ring tones including the famous theme as well as songs from the new soundtrack, buddy icons, and official photos. Visitors can watch 5 TV ads and view photo galleries of other MySpace members showing their Superman loyalty.
As of this posting, Superman Returns has 18,422 friends, including Lois Lane, Lex Luthor and, oddly enough, Superman himself. A quick glance at his friends list suggests the Big Blue Boy Scout isn't nearly as white bread as some might think; ie: check out namsucker's [possibly not work safe] profile.

As marketing plans go, hooking up with MySpace like this is a smart viral effort, if a bit overly corporate and contrived, but I don't imagine it will make a significant difference in the film's opening box office or how good its legs are moving forward. Barring any high-profile scathing reviews, my guess is that it will open big, in the neighborhood of $90m over the first 5 days, and then fade relatively quickly, ending up somewhere around the $200-215m mark. (As a Batman fan, I'm hoping it comes up short of $200m!)

The most disappointing aspect of the promotion, though, is that there's not a single reference to the comics, neither the ongoings (understandable) nor any TPBs of note. I'm not a big Superman fan, but even I enjoyed Superman: Birthright. Plus, there's the movie tie-ins DC's publishing, which would seem to be the "Duh!" thing to plug, but no dice.* There's not even a prominent link to DC's web site!

The more I've seen of the movie, the less interested I am in it, similar to my response last summer to Fantastic Four, which I still haven't seen. None of the leads work for me as Routh and Bosworth are both too young to be believable in their roles, and I still haven't forgiven Spacey for his part in the overrated American Beauty. I do like Bryan Singer's past work, though, and there's the usual combination of fanboy curiosity and the possiblity of witnessing a train wreck firsthand, so I'm still on the fence.

* On a related note, DC really missed an opportunity by waiting this late in the game to publish the tie-ins in serial form, with #2 just coming out last week and #4 scheduled for release on the same day the movie opens. They should have released the floppies a couple of months ago and then had a TPB in stores a week or two before the movie's release in order to capitalize on the promotion around it in mainstream bookstores. How much more compelling is a prominent Superman display at Barnes & Noble when it's centered around a direct movie tie-in instead of a bunch of random TPBs?

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