Marvel movies are so big that they have a gravitational pull unto themselves, leading studios to make unprecedented deals, move toward expanded universes, and draw in filmmakers that one might not think are particularly interested in comic book movies. What they usually don't need are needy, public demonstrations of how much people really, really like them in advance — but that's what was behind this new trailer for The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Earlier this morning, the official Twitter account for the film asked followers to tweet out the hashtag #AvengersAssemble, after which it would "unlock an epic new #Avengers #AgeOfUltron Trailer!" (Sadly, those hashtags are not a satirical flourish.) Sure enough, legions of Marvel fans complied, and now we can see the new footage in all its glory. While a lot will look familiar, it's the most comprehensive look at the film we've seen yet, including a number of new action sequences and a brief close-up of Vision himself.
Of course, there's something to be said for #engaging a fan base by asking them to partake in #promotions that will then deliver them #rewards (those were satirical). But we already live in a culture where movie trailers show up a year before a release, and said teasers are then given their own seconds-long teasers across a variety of social media platforms. Those are then followed by an avalanche of new trailers and TV spots in the weeks leading up to a movie's release.
Hey movie studios: ease up
The best-case scenario is hype, sure, but more often the result is burnout — and the reveal of every single interesting element in a movie, all before it ever hits theaters. Maybe studios should ease off the gas a little — because I'm pretty sure a bajillion people are going to see The Avengers: Age of Ultron whether Twitter and social media is flooded with trending hashtags or not.
Vox.com Video: Small hints featured in the first two Avengers trailers