Green Lantern to Battle Thor in Special Effects Showdown

Mar 29th, 2011 | By | Category: Art and Entertainment

With Warner Brothers’ upcoming DC superhero film Green Lantern quickly approaching its June 17 release date, the studio finally announced plans to release a new trailer, the first to be shown since November 2010. The new trailer will be shown to audiences attending rival superhero movie Thor, due out May 6. So far the trailer has been delayed by a slight problem: the special effects for the movie haven’t been ready.

E68 GreenLatern1 300x117 Green Lantern to Battle Thor in Special Effects ShowdownThe delay is making insiders anxious. A lot is at stake for both Warner and DC. With Disney and Marvel’s rival superhero line set to explode in growth as a series of second-tier characters like Thor receive big-screen adaptations over the next year, Warner and DC are under pressure to catch up, and everything is riding on Green Lantern.

Green Lantern tells the story of Hal Jordan, a human test pilot selected by an intergalactic brotherhood of warriors to protect the universe from a villainous threat named Parallax, who is even more powerful than Superman. To fight Parallax, Jordan receives a power ring that can transform the desires of his will into green energy, assuming any shape or function he can conceive. He can use his ring to fly, pummel foes with energy mallets, shoot laser blasts, and protect himself with a force field, among numerous other powers limited only by his willpower.

With Green Lantern, Warner is making its first major effort to dig deeper than DC’s already-well-known Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman franchises and start tapping into the company’s huge library of secondary characters, enormously expanding storyline and revenue potential. This strategy has proven highly successful for DC rival Marvel, which has so far grossed over $1 billion worldwide by introducing its previously-minor character Iron Man to the big screen, paving the way for several sequels and spinoffs. Warner hopes Green Lantern will open up the same opportunities for DC adaptations.

Warner views this as an essential part of its strategy to replace revenue from the multibillion-dollar Harry Potter franchise, which is about to wrap up with the last movie in the series due out July 15, 2011. With a goal of maintaining this revenue level, Warner has invested $200 million in production on Green Lantern.

But marketing for the expensive film has been held up by 3D special effects. Depicting the power of Green Lantern’s ring requires star Ryan Reynolds to be outfitted with a special digital costume. Additionally, the movie includes numerous scenes set in space featuring aliens. Special effects to support these scenes are taking longer than expected, and longer than Warner’s marketing team had planned on, delaying both publicity still shots and trailers.

“We are on a learning curve in getting 3-D materials and marketing materials on the same schedule,” explained Warner Brothers president Jeff Robinov. But now that Warner has made this costly mistake and learned from it, “We won’t be in this position again,” he vowed.

Other Warner executives are echoing the message that repeating this mistake is not an option. Commenting on fan reaction to the previous Green Lantern trailer released in November 2010, Warner worldwide marketing president Sue Kroll said, “Part of the reason the response to the first trailer was lukewarm was that the big-scale sequences weren’t ready to show, and we suffered for it. . .We can’t afford to do that again.”

Warner will show new promotional material for the film to exhibition executives at CinemaCon in Las Vegas this week, and to fans at the WonderCon convention in San Francisco this weekend, prior to premiering the new trailer at showings of Thor in May.

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