Why Fox Hates When Footage Leaks From Comic-Con

Comic-Con is no longer a safe place to screen footage. From Deadpool to Suicide Squad, the sneak peeks shown in Hall H for the event’s biggest releases were leaked online, thanks to fans discreetly recording them on their devices. David Ayer and Warner Bros., specifically, made their disappointment known, while some have said this is just for show. If you ask Fox producer Hutch Parker, though, the frustration is all too real.

Cinema Blend joined a group of journalists on the set of X-Men: Apocalypse, during which time we heard Parker’s reaction to the leaked trailer featuring low-res footage of Oscar Isaac as En Sabah Nur. As the former Fox president and a current producer on the studio’s films, he has some strong opinions on the matter. He said:

I’d say it really isn’t intended to be leaked. It’s really intended to excite a core. From a marketing perspective, what they want is to share it with the most discerning eyes that are out there for this material. It’s the biggest and probably most intense focus group any of us ever have.

Comparing the audience in Hall H to a focus group is pretty accurate when you think about it. People on social media and sites like Reddit are quick to bash comic book movies. Just ask anyone involved in Fantastic Four. Parker continued:

You hope that you excite a level of interest that they will express and celebrate it. But it’s a scary-ass deal, because they’re not shy. If they don’t like it, if they aren’t feeling it, they’re going to let you and everybody else know. [Showing footage] is something people do with trepidation, but with hope. We make a movie and you want to believe it’s going to be great. The reality is, not all of them are. But you have to believe that going in. We go in wanting to be accepted and embraced, and ideally even acknowledged for having done it well.

In speaking specifically to the claim that leaking footage is all part of a secret marketing plan, he explained that this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The problem with the theory about the marketing is, I don’t actually think it’s good marketing. Leaking footage a year in advance of a movie’s release is not such a good thing. The reason you don’t see footage out that far is you run the risk of it getting stale. Generally speaking, and I can’t speak for other studios -- I can’t even speak for Fox any more -- but I don’t believe their intention is [for footage to be leaked]. I think their intention is to get the most important opinions and opinion-makers in this community engaged in the promise of what’s coming.

X-Men: Apocalypse doesn’t open in theaters until May 26, 2016. Despite Bryan Singer’s active Instagram account and the latest feature from Entertainment Weekly, there is still quite a long time to go.