Here’s the scene:
After a busy day of work, getting kids to soccer practice, and watching my oldest play baseball, I took two of the kids to Walmart. Our mission was simple: secure a 4K Ultra HD copy of Marvel’s Black Panther.
Unfortunately, Walmart was sold out of the 4K version, which shocked the hell out of me. I knew the movie would fly off the shelves, but around where I live, 4K is still not a massive hit. I have never gone to purchase a new movie and found less than 10 copies of the 4K edition in stock, so my brain literally could not process the empty rows that had held Black Panther on 4K Ultra HD. Instead of seeing the store was out of stock and doing what a normal person would do – leave – I spent a few extra minutes desperately searching for a 4K version, looking behind the regular Blu-Rays and even behind, below, and on top of the other Blu-rays and DVDs in the movie section, just in case someone had put the movie down, if a kid had knocked one out of place by accident, etc.
Essentially, I turned into the movie nerd equivalent of a junkie crawling around a dirty floor on his hands and knees, looking for some leftover cocaine or whatever the hell those losers are addicted to . . . and as ridiculous as I might have looked at the time, I am super glad I did not just leave, or else I would not have stumbled across the most brilliant marketing scheme I have ever seen in my Whole. Damn. Life.
Initially, the stunt went right over my head. See, last week Walmart had one entire side of a rack of movies devoted to Blu-rays from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Pretty every movie since the original Iron Man was on display with brand new cover art, an obvious attempt to cash in on the Avengers: Infinity War craze. Last night, that display had been relocated, and in its place was a collection of Blu-Rays distributed by 20th Century Fox, including all the movies in the X-Men Franchise and the first Deadpool movie.
At first glance, my brain recognized the covers of X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse, so I kept looking for Black Panther . . . and then my brain realized that there was something off about the cover of X-Men: Apocalypse, so I went back for a closer look. Here is what I saw (give or take – this Tweet isn’t mine but the display I saw is almost identical):
guys look at the movie rack at walmart! brett just sent me the photo. the promo for deadpool is unbelievable pic.twitter.com/eDSL05MLbg
— semi-stable centenarian 🖤🔪⭐️ (@rainbowslinky) May 15, 2018
That’s right: the geniuses in charge of promoting Deadpool 2 decided to revamp the cover art of classic 20th Century Fox titles in order to feature the Merc with a Mouth. Instead of seeing the face of Apocalypse, then, I had actually seen Deadpool, but my brain had not registered it because it happened so fast. The same goes for Days of Future Past . . . and Logan . . . and Terminator . . . and Castaway and Fight Club and so on and so forth in what is THE GREATEST MARKETING STUNT EVER.
Hyperbole? I think not. Prove me wrong in the comment section below, but don’t expect me to answer, because you’re wrong and I still have a 4k Ultra HD copy of Black Panther to track down.