xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

Warning: MAJOR spoilers ahead for xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

Marketing a movie is a seriously tough task. You have to know what footage to show, as well as when to show it. On that note, many of you already know that xXx: The Return of Xander Cage's marketing campaign spoiled the presence of Ice Cube's Darius Stone earlier this month when a trailer dropped featuring the badass super spy. I recently had the chance to talk to xXx 3 director D.J. Caruso about the spoiler, and he admitted that the cameo was supposed to be a secret from audiences. Caruso explained:

Don't get me going on that. Here's the insight. I wanted it -- and we all wanted it -- to be a secret. The good news is, for me as a filmmaker, when they screen the movie a lot and have audience screenings in order to generate word of mouth, the movie plays well. So you know the movie plays well. So, once they started to do that, and it got out, and it was on the Internet, then it's like, do you own it or do you not own it? Do you know what I mean? So I'm completely disappointed. Not disappointed but the way that it plays in the movie. It should've been something that was a complete surprise.

D.J. Caruso's comments about the Darius Stone spoiler seem to highlight the fundamental disconnect between a film's production team and its marketing team. As the director of the movie, Caruso wanted the secret to remain intact for as long as possible to maintain the effect. However, as the film screened for more and more crowds, it became increasingly evident that they wouldn't be able to keep it a secret forever, at which point the decision was made to own the spoiler and save face. We could likely debate that decision until the end of time, but D.J. Caruso ultimately seems to wish that he could've played coy about the cameo a bit longer.

XXX Ice Cube

Of course, there's an argument to be made that the Darius Stone cameo never even needed to be a secret in the first place. His presence in the movie doesn't have a huge influence on the plot of the film, and Ice Cube is still an insanely bankable star. In the eyes of the folks at Paramount, it probably felt like a smarter bet to get people excited about the cameo rather than worry about whether or not it would be spoiled. There's credence to both stances on the issue.

Full disclosure: we're surprised that the secret stayed hidden for as long as it did. During my conversation with D.J. Caruso about the latest xXx film, he told me that the project was conceived with Darius Stone's cameo in mind, and Ice Cube joined the project relatively early in its development. The fact that we were not able to definitively confirm the spoiler until that TV spot came out earlier this month is somewhat commendable when we consider the numerous movies that are often spoiled by leaked set photos.

What do you think? Should Paramount have kept the Darius Stone cameo a secret or were they wise to get ahead of the potential spoilers? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage is currently in theaters.

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