MARVEL’S “INHUMANS” is going to need awfully positive word of mouth when the ABC series’s expanded pilot hits theaters next month. Because its word of marketing so far is positively awful.
And the harder the show’s sales force tries to scrub the early stench, the more the entire enterprise stinks to some Marvel fans.
“Inhumans,” of course, is showrunner Scott Buck’s new series based on the superpowered royal-family race created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby a half-century ago. Once upon a time, Marvel eyed the Inhumans as a contender to join the studio’s post-“Iron Man” cinematic universe on the big screen, before shelving the idea. Now, instead, Marvel/ABC’s “Inhumans” — with Black Bolt (Anson Mount) front and center — will debut on IMAX screens on Sept. 1 in hopes of ramping up interest for the Sept. 29 debut of the full eight-episode TV series.
So why can’t Marvel — that nearly unerring master of movie marketing — seem to strike the right tone and look in selling its fans on “Inhumans?”
Concern certainly has spiked this summer, when the show’s off-kilter trailer hit the Internet. Worse than muddled, the trailer looked oddly cheap and cheesy — as if “Inhumans” had been relegated to the bargain bin. (By the time Comic-Con arrived in July, some fans were laughing at the trailer footage, Business Insider reported.)
Fan reaction was justified over the weekend, when gifted “Inhumans” director Roel Reine told Metro that his own sense of the first trailer was “mixed” at best, as it didn’t represent “the scope” of the series. Reine also acknowledged that the trailer landed too early — “the visual effects,” including Medusa’s (Serinda Swan) hair, “were not ready” — as he distanced himself from its release: “As a filmmaker, as a director, you’re not involved in the marketing of those things.”
Also over the weekend, Marvel’s TV chief, Jeph Loeb, was left emphasizing a similar caveat to Television Critics Association media gathered in Los Angeles: The show is not done, he said, so it’s too soon to judge.
Of course, Loeb, as a top geek-industry veteran, knows better than that. When comics properties are involved, fans long ago decided that it’s never too early to begin judging — and worrying.
So if the head of Marvel TV doesn’t know what the business model is on this, I have legitimately no clue why this is happening. https://t.co/x2kxKq7tAV
— Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint) August 6, 2017
And the executive’s defensiveness regarding a film that debuts just several weeks from now is only inflaming fan apprehension about a movie that, as Deadline Hollywood reported, has criticism for not looking “IMAX-centric.”
Which means Marvel and ABC have their work cut out for them before Sept. 1. The immediate mission must be to provide fans with “finished” footage to entice them to a pilot-on-steroids that merits an IMAX run.
Time is running short. Let’s hope Team “Inhumans” can assemble something soon that has the power to dismantle the alarm bells — before the series’s chances are all but finished.