Marvel: Please don’t watch our movie

Update:

Apparently this was all the result of a misunderstanding involving Oracle, who talked to Marvel and was planning a similar screening, and a lack of communication with Paramount. Too bad — I was hoping to see Mike and Marvel go toe-to-toe on this one 🙂

Original post:

In yet another example of how not to do customer relations or PR of any kind, Mike Arrington has a stunning exhibit from a lawyer representing Marvel, the comic powerhouse whose Iron Man character has become a major motion picture. Mike wanted to put on a social event for TechCrunch fans, so he booked a theatre and planned to show the movie for free — although he asked for $1 per ticket to cut down on the no-shows. Wham! That is apparently verboten, according to Marvel’s lawyer.

“You have not been authorized to exhibit, sell tickets to, nor invite the public to an Iron Man screening.”

As Mike points out, the whole process began with a phone call to the number listed on the official Iron Man movie website for “group sales.” So what is the Marvel guy’s problem? Hard to say. Obviously, movie studios and content companies like Marvel have an interest in holding publicity premieres, etc. and also have relationships with movie-theatre chains, who don’t want to see just anyone rent a theatre and go into competition with them. But still — is that any way to handle such a thing? It just makes Marvel look stupid, and mean.

7 thoughts on “Marvel: Please don’t watch our movie

  1. well, you can criticize them from a distance and label them as PR naifs, but they are well within their rights to dispose of their IP in any manner they wish. whether you or mike arrington are displeased really isn't relevant to the law. if push comes to shove, marvel is in the right. but arrington wins too: he got the PR he was looking for. you wrote about it.

    • Thanks for the comment, Calvin — notice that I didn't say that Marvel
      was wrong. I just said they were dumb. What is to be gained by
      sending C&D letters? Nothing but negative publicity. I'm sure they
      could have worked something out that satisifed whatever legal
      requirements they are concerned about. Instead, they look like
      morons.

      • Yes – while they may not be in the wrong legally, it's such a bad PR move that you wonder who authorised it. Certainly, if anyone in their PR or marketing teams was consulted prior to this email going out, they shouldn't be working at the company for much longer.

  2. ………..and after a decade of working in the biz- that's exactly why i do not go to the cinema anymore. stupid pricks!

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