The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 9/11 gaff shows why previewing in context is paramount. Or not, as the case may be.
The upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is set to revive a beloved franchise, especially for adults who enjoyed Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo’s pizza-eating, crime fighting New York antics.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
But the TMNT resurgence has been stunted by a marketing goof: the four turtles are seen hurtling towards the ground from a burning tower, which probably wouldn’t have sparked so much controversy had the September 11 release date been absent.
What’s more, the group of mutant turtles are famously New York dwellers, indulging in the city’s natural love for cheesy pizzas and traversing its iconic skyline with their ninja prowess. Bottom line, this is how not to market a movie, and the production company behind the film – Paramount – has emerged, its tail fixed firmly twixt its legs, brandishing a soggy letter of apology.
“We are deeply sorry to have used that artwork for the marketing materials promoting the September 11 opening in Australia," said the Australian leg of the company in a statement. "Combining that image and date was a mistake. We intended no offense and have taken immediate action to discontinue its use."
The film, which stars Megan Fox and Johnny Knoxville, is released in August in the United States and October in Europe. In Australia, its release falls on the thirteenth anniversary of the deadly September 11 attacks. Out of the 2,996 people killed in the four coordinated attacks, 11 of them were Australian citizens.
It hasn’t been all bad press for TMNT recently. Director Jonathan Liebesman recently opened up at Comic-Con about some of the characters in his reboot. He explained that he wanted to give the Foot Clan a new look for the film. "To make it believable in today's world they have to be trained in a paramilitary way," he said. "They have to be formidable."
On top of that - Kevin Eastman – one of the original TMNT crew - explained how he came up with the name Shredder for the arch-villain. He was doing the dishes one day when he slipped and grazed his arm on a cheese grater. Hence: Shredder. Nasty.