This one falls squarely into the realm of “utterly bizarre promotional stunt,” so see if you can follow along.
Come June 15 Walmart stores will be screening a single scene from the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man. According to Bleeding Cool, the stores will air their first screening at 12:01AM on June 15, with repeat airings at 10AM, 3PM and 8PM. The same will occur on June 16. Those who miss the screenings (or fall utterly in love with the scene) will then be able to purchase a DVD containing that single scene for $3. That small chunk of change will also net buyers a bit of behind the scenes footage, a promotional spot for the Amazing Spider-Man video game, and a reprint of The Amazing Spider-Man #6 (the comic book that saw the debut of The Lizard).
While we have no idea what might be contained in this scene, it seems quite likely (based on the comic book included with the package) that it will feature both Spidey and the film’s reptilian antagonist. Will it be a fight scene? An epic throwdown to determine which animal-themed freak will rule/protect Manhattan? Or maybe a verbal battle, matching Spider-Man’s wit against The Lizard’s repertoire of guttural snarls. Whatever it is, Walmart and Sony Pictures seem to believe it’s pretty special if they’re willing to charge viewers $3 a pop to take home a single snippet from a film they’ll be able to catch in theaters in less than a month’s time.
Then again, maybe this advertising scheme is a brilliant move. With all the hype surrounding The Avengers and the upcoming Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man has been overshadowed in the collective consciousness of the average person. Sony knows that all the comic geeks will be out in force to see the movie, but it has to do something to ensure that John Q. Public wants to drop $50 on taking his family to the theater as well. And what’s the best place to reach out to the stereotypical “common man?” Walmart of course! As for that $3 asking price for screeners of a single scene that will almost definitely be available on YouTube moments after the scene first debuts in stores? That’s just simple greed (or, failing that, Sony is hoping to capitalize on the idea that the stereotypical “common man” is likewise a stereotypical consumer drone that will lap up anything put in front of him as long as it has shiny packaging and an attractive, futuristic font).
So, how many of you will be lining up at your local mega-store chain, just dying to catch a glimpse of Spidey and toss money into Sony’s coffers?