Media Buys for Comic Book Films
Wonder Woman Box Office Receipts
In truth, Wonder Woman's opening weekend grossed $103 Million which is nothing to complain about. However, last summer's Captain America blockbuster had a lot more media buys and an opening weekend of $179 Million, making it one of the top-grossing opening weekends ever.
Fewer Media Buys?
Wonder Woman's first trailer was released at the San Diego Comic-Con in July of 2016 to a 96.8% "like" vs. dislike rating on Youtube. Despite the appeal of the trailer, concern arose when there was a conspicuous lack of TV spots and media buys supporting the film's release. Blastr contributor Shana O'Neil blamed this on sexism and discrimination towards a film with a female lead. Her article raised the questions but when Vanity Fair did some data digging they discovered that at five weeks before the opening, Warner Brothers Studios had spent just over $3Million on ads for Wonder Woman. By comparison, at five weeks out, the studio had spent $2.6 Million on ads for Suicide Squad. I think we can rule out sexism.
Smarter Media Buys
There were indeed fewer TV media buys for Wonder Woman but to my thinking, the ad campaign was going for quality over quantity. Wonder Woman's ad money went towards targeting smarter ad buys like running the spots during the NCAA Basketball Championship and the Kids Choice Awards. Those are high-eye-ball events and the right place to run comic strip action film Wonder Womanspots, as opposed to spraying the ads across time slots with smaller audiences.
It should be noted that while Wonder Woman topped the box office on its opening weekend, and did much better than the predictions from many sources, it is still the “worst” opening weekend for a DC Extended Universe film. Man of Steel's opening weekend grossed $116 Million; Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice grossed $209 Million, and Suicide Squad brought in $133 Million. So, while $103 Million is more than respectable, for the genre it is a smaller share.
In the final ad analysis, Warner Brothers displayed a quality over quantity ethos when choosing ad spots. Wonder Woman is a proof of concept for an advertising ethos, that less is more and precision beats out broad strokes.
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