Kudos to Terminator Genisys director Alan Taylor for not avoiding the question when recently asked about what seemed to be incredibly spoiler-filled trailers and marketing for the upcoming sequel. If you’re unsure of what I’m referring to and would like to remain in the dark you’ll want to stop reading now, otherwise, let’s forge on.
The trailers have given us not only a peek at old Arnold Schwarzenegger battling with a CG version of his 1984 self from the original The Terminator, but given away the fact Jason Clarke‘s John Connor in the new film is in fact a Terminator. In an interview with Uproxx, the interviewer says they wished they hadn’t known these plot details from the trailer to which Taylor says, “Yeah, it’s funny; I certainly directed those scenes with the intention that no one would know. One of my favorite moments – and I think Jason Clarke did a great job with it – is when he walks into the hospital in 2017 and everything from there until the turn, you’re supposed to think, Oh man, this is great.”
As for how it happened, Taylor adds, “I know there was kind of a challenging calculus going on in the heads of those who market this thing to decide that this was the right thing to do. I think they felt like they had to send a strong message to a very wary audience that there was something new, that this was going to new territory. They were concerned that people were misperceiving this as kind of a reboot, and none of us wanted to reboot two perfect movies by James Cameron. I think they felt they had to do something game-changing in how the film was being perceived.”
The fact it is now considered “game-changing” to spoil a film’s twists and turns in its marketing is an interesting way to look at it, though I have a hard time believing that’s what Taylor meant. Though, if that’s not what he meant I have no idea what he was getting at.
The parts of that quote that bug me the most I placed in bold, where he suggests the marketing was based on a “very wary audience” that was “misperceiving this as kind of a reboot”. Go figure, paying attention to reactions on the Internet from people bound to see this movie no matter what led a studio to say, “Fine, I guess we have to prove this isn’t a reboot.” What was gained? Not much, other than the same people saying, “Now they’ve spoiled a major plot point!”
The first trailer for Terminator Genisys didn’t allude to Connor as a Terminator, though it did reveal the Arnold vs. Arnold fight. A poster that gave it all away. The unanswerable question now is whether or not it would have mattered (and by “mattered” I mean affected the box office) had they not spoiled the reveal.
Will more people go see the movie now that they know the John Connor plot point going in? It doesn’t appear to be from the end of the film, but Taylor’s quotes do suggest it’s less than just a passing moment in the film.
Of course, the marketing for this movie has had more than just a few ups and downs. Remember those pictures in Entertainment Weekly? Well, Taylor says that was all EW‘s doing. “I hope everybody understands that was EW doing what it was going to do,” he said. “I was surprised they went off and did that and we didn’t see it until it was on the cover and we thought, What the…?”
I am seeing the movie tonight in real deal IMAX 3D, which is exactly how I saw Jurassic World, a film I was also approaching with lowered expectations. My expectations for Terminator Genisys are probably even lower and early reviews aren’t helping much. Then again, I disagreed with many critics and had a lot of fun with Jurassic World, we’ll see how Genisys turns out soon enough.
Terminator Genisys hits theaters this Wednesday, July 1.