Trek vs. Wolverine: The Claws May Bring in More Scratch

First off, is Patrick Stewart in either of them? Well then.

According to AdAge, Wolverine is on track to pull in twice as much money in its opening weekend as Paramount’s Star Trek reboot. The article talks about differences in the films’ marketing strategies, and it does seem like 20th Century Fox has done much more broad-appeal marketing than Paramount.

How did “Wolverine” claw its way to such a commanding early lead? By not making a direct play to its comic-book-loving “fanboy” base.

Fox was careful to introduce “Wolverine” to those unfamiliar with the character via a contiguous, three-part trailer that aired on highly rated Fox TV shows in February, then embarked on a broad-based promotion of its superhero and his iconic weapons — retractable metallic claws — to mainstream audiences.

This weekend, for example, “Wolverine” will be promoted heavily on TNT’s coverage of the NBA playoffs, with “Inside the NBA” commentator Charles Barkley sporting the claws in the studio this weekend. [And on] CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother” the characters sparred with toy “Wolverine” claws…

…on the other hand…

Paramount, by comparison, elected to focus its early efforts on re-energizing the older, core “Trekkie” fanbase before firing up a more mainstream effort aimed at convincing younger moviegoers that “This is not your father’s ‘Star Trek,'”… It made substantial media buys in sci-fi-themed TV shows such as NBC’s “Heroes” and ABC Family’s “Kyle XY” in early March.

But 43 years of Trekkies alone won’t be enough to recoup on a $160 million CGI extravaganza…

All good points. And of course buying ad time during “Heroes” doesn’t really count as reaching beyond the fanboy demographic, does it?

Then there’s this:

  • With the recent success of Watchmen, Iron Man and Dark Knight, there seems to be more excitement around superhero movies than sci-fi movies lately.
  • Hugh Jackman is a big star and “Star Trek’s” (arguably) biggest name is Simon Pegg? Hey, no offense to Simon Pegg; in my opinion he’s dreamy. But hey, Jackman was People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive last year:
  • “Wolverine” also enjoys a 20-percentage-point lead among women under 24: 38% expressed a “definite interest” in seeing Hugh Jackman on the big screen, while only 18% of young women expressed a “definite interest” in seeing “Star Trek.”

    So, uh, yeah, there’s that. Something to be said for a handsome movie star that can draw viewers.

  • The three “X-Men” movies came out in this decade, the last “Trek” film with the original cast came out in 1991 and most teenagers are too young to identify with classic Trek. And oh yeah—the last couple of TNG Trek films completely tanked.
  • Don’t get me wrong; I’m as excited about the new Star Trek as the next fanboy. I just wonder if the wider world still cares. And it looks like Paramount isn’t really reaching out beyond the Trekkie fanbase as much as they probably should in order to resurrect a franchise that’s been effectively dormant for most of (more than?) a decade.


    About toxicbag

    Toxic Bag Productions, Inc. provides sound effects and music for independent films, animated shorts, theatrical productions, dance performances, podcasts and video games. They work out of their studio on the north side of Chicago.

    Posted on April 16, 2009, in Film and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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