It’s been a rough couple of days for Zack Snyder’s 2016 release, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. First, it had the misfortune to have its trailer leaked the very same day that J.J. Abrams debuted the latest trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens at this past weekend’s Star Wars Celebration convention. You remember, right? Every geek’s nerdboner grew three sizes that day.
The comparison was not kind. Nor could it be, really: That Star Wars trailer was like pure, unrefined nostalgia. And it didn’t help that the leaked BvS trailer was grainy and handheld and clearly shot on a cell phone in a Spanish screening room.
That forced Warner Bros. to release a HD version of the trailer online, days before their “IMAX theatrical teaser premiere event.” (Which, if you’ll remember, we at Playboy found dumb as shit. But whatever).
Nothing quite like a leak that forces a billion-dollar company to do a thing they don’t want to do earlier than they want to do it.
And if all of that wasn’t bad enough, then came the news that Warners’ erstwhile Bruce Wayne, Ben Affleck, asked the producers of the PBS program Finding Your Roots to edit out the revelation that he is descended from slave owners. (Those Sony email hacks are the gift that keeps on taking.) In an exchange between executive producer/host Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sony chief Michael Lynton, in which Gates asked for advice, the Sony honcho responded:
“I would take it out if no one knows, but if it gets out that you are editing the material based on this kind of sensitivity then it gets tricky. Again, all things being equal I would definitely take it out.”
Should we care who Affleck’s relatives are? He clearly does, or he wouldn’t have asked for one particular branch of his family tree to be sawed off. And that’s fair. Does it impact your decision to see his giant superhero movie? That’s for you and you alone to decide.
Does the fact that Batman v Superman’s teaser was released in the shadow of the emotionally hefty Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer color your feelings about it? Does the hamfisted way in which it was released matter? Time and box-office returns will tell.
One thing can we said for certain: Warner Bros. would absolutely like to do the past four days over again.
Marc Bernardin is the Deputy Editor of Playboy.com. He, too, has a slavery-related past. Because, you know, America.