For years now, no matter however much money that any given superhero movies makes at the box office, they often significantly add to their financial intake with licensed products that tie-in with the movie. We’re not just talking the normal stuff like toys and Lego sets. We mean all sorts of products. You practically can not go down a single aisle at a supermarket without running into at least one product that is tying into Avengers: Infinity War in some capacity.
The problem with doing so many licensed products is that you have to give the marketing teams some information about the film so that they can make their product an actual tie-in. That information often carries with it spoilers. Over the years, the most dangerous place to learn spoilers about upcoming superhero movies has been at Toy Fairs where the newest tie-in toys for the films are unveiled, often showing characters that people did not realize were going to be in the film in the first place. However, the world of spoilers is not just relegated to action figures and other toys (like Funko Pop or Lego). No, all sorts of different products have accidentally spoiled superhero movies. Here are 15 examples!
15. VENOM BRISK ICED TEA
The lead up to the upcoming Tom Hardy-starring film, Venom, was surprising in that the trailer specifically avoided actually showing Hardy bonded with the alien symbiote that formed the creature known as Venom. The logo for the film was the closest we came to seeing Venom himself.
The film seems to be using the mystery of what Venom will look like as a selling point for the film.
This is sort of like how the ads for Jaws back in the day did not actually show the shark (or how the ads for Superman didn’t show Superman flying). Therefore, it was quite a surprise when the design of Venom was spoiled on, of all places, the bottles of Lipton’s Brisk Iced Tea, which was doing a special Venom-themed series of iced tea drinks!
14. PEPPER POTTS HALLOWEEN COSTUME
Every Halloween, costume stores are filled with off brand versions of famous characters, close enough to work for people’s party outfits but different enough so as to not get sued. One of the funniest ones was one company’s description for Batman – “Dead Parents Hero.” However, for every bootleg Halloween costume out there, there are plenty of officially licensed ones.
When Iron Man 3 was coming out, a number of licensed costumes depicted Pepper Potts wearing Iron Man’s armor. This spoiled the fact that in the film, Pepper does, in fact, temporarily don Iron Man’s armor when the bad guys try to blow up Tony Stark’s house while he and Pepper are in it. Tony sends his Mark 42 armor (the costumes even call it Mark 42) to protect her from the attack.
13. IRON MAN ZIP-LOC BAGS
Iron Man, as you might imagine, is always coming up with new designs for his armor in the comics; that impulse has carried over to the films, as well. So with Avengers: Infinity War coming up, it was likely that Iron Man was going to debut a new design for his armor.
Oddly enough, though, the new look was revealed early on, of all places, a Zip-Loc bag package!
Yep, Zip-Loc, maker of fine plastic bags, did officially-licensed Infinity War packaging for its brands and on the package with Iron Man on it, and revealed his new armor design before the first Infinity War trailer was released. Zip-Loc bags are apparently great for keeping odors in, but they are awful at keeping secrets from getting out!
12. JUSTICE LEAGUE MOVIE THEATER MERCHANDISE
When you think of places where you expect to see a movie spoiled, you typically don’t think of the movie theater in which you’re going to see the movie. And yet, that was precisely what happened with the various movie theater merchandise that was used to promote the recent Justice League movie. In the marketing of the film, Warner Bros. decided not to reveal that Superman was going to be coming back to life, even though it was obvious that was exactly what would happen. C’mon everyone, it’s Superman!
The movie theater industry, however, decided that it would buck from that angle and just include Superman prominently in tie-in merchandising for the film (like on commemorative cups, popcorn tins and the ever-popular decorative soda toppers).
11. ULTRON FATHEAD
Fathead is a company that specializes in unique wall displays. They are really big vinyl die-cuts that you affix on to your wall. The company is owned by Dan Gilbert, who also owns the Cleveland Cavaliers, interestingly enough. When Lebron James left the Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat, the Fathead of Lebron in a Cavs uniform suddenly was sold for $17.41 (1741 was the year that Benedict Arnold was born).
But what does Lebron Have in common with Ultron, other than rhyming names? Problematic Fatheads.
While that revealed more about Gilbert’s mind than anything else, the Fathead that his company made for Ultron as a tie-in with Avengers: Age of Ultron told us more about Ultron than we knew before. The description that came with the giant decal revealed that Ultron came to life as a result of Loki’s scepter, information not otherwise revealed until the film itself was released.
10. BIG BANG THEORY JUSTICE LEAGUE GEEKSTAKES
The Big Bang Theory is a TV series produced by Warner Bros. Television. Naturally, the show (about some nerdy scientists and their significant others) used a lot of DC Comics merchandise on the series (since Warner Bros. also owns DC Comics). Therefore, when the Justice League movie was set to come out, the Big Bang Theory was a perfect choice to help promote the new film.
The syndicated reruns of the show were used to do a “Geekstakes.” You would spin a wheel which would land on a hero; you would then see a clip from the series where they reference that character (this would then enter you for the contest). The Geekstakes noticeably featured a Green Lantern symbol on it before anyone knew for sure that there would, in fact, be a Green Lantern in the film. Sure, it was a small cameo, but it was in there!
9. LIZARD PEZ DISPENSER
Like Venom, the marketing for Amazing Spider-Man made it a point to hide what the Lizard would look like in the final film in the trailers and commercials for the movie. We knew that Dr. Curt Connors definitely transformed into the Lizard at some point, we just didn’t know what he would look like.
That is, we didn’t know what his face looked like… until we saw it on top of a Pez Dispenser!
Yep, the company famous for putting pop culture characters on the tops of the dispenser of their little candy pellets, had a licensing agreement to make Pez dispensers that tied in with Amazing Spider-Man. The company did one with Spider-Man and another with the Lizard. The Lizard dispenser was the first people saw of what the character would look like in the film.
8. SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING JUNIOR NOVEL
Novelizations of films have long driven film studios nuts. Producers like the extra money that comes in from the novelizations, but they hate the idea that perhaps people could choose to just read the book instead of seeing the movie. This has become less of a problem over the years as people read less and less novelizations of films. However, one trick that was used in the past is still being used today. For 1990’s Dick Tracy, the novelization was cut off before the ending, so as to not spoil the movie.
Similarly, the Spider-Man: Homecoming novelization ended before we learned that Liz Allan was the Vulture’s daughter and that Michelle’s last name was Jones, hence her name being “MJ.” However, the novelization told you every other last little detail up until that point, which still spoiled a whole lot of the movie!
7. JUSTICE LEAGUE HAT
This is a weird one in that the merchandising technically spoiled the movie, but then the movie was changed, so it didn’t really end up spoiling the movie. However, at the time that it was created, producers thought that they were spoiling the movie! New Era had the license to make Justice League-related hats for the film and the company did one based on Superman’s iconic black and silver costume.
Of course, the hat was designed based on the costume Superman wore when he was resurrected after his death, which sort of spoiled the film!
The cap’s description notes that he comes back to life wearing this costume in Justice League, really cementing the spoil. However, the film was then edited by Joss Whedon, who replaced original director, Zack Snyder, so there ended up being no scenes with Superman’s black costume in the final film.
6. IRON MAN ROCKET MORTGAGE COMMERCIAL
New footage from Avengers: Infinity War is being treated like little slivers from heaven. Whenever a new clip from the film is released into a commercial, many online news outlets are all over the story and fans devour every little new morsel of information. That was why it was such a shock when there seemed to be a new clip from the movie… in a mortgage company ad?
Yep, the concept for the Rocket Mortgage ad is that it protects you so much that you can happily go about your day even though there is a big superhero battle going on behind you. One of the scenes in the commercial show Iron Man’s new repulsors for the first time in action. Yes, the first time that we got to see Iron Man’s new repulsors (which appear to be based on Wakandan technology) was in a mortgage commercial!
5. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 KELLOGG’S GAME
One of the biggest supporters for the Spider-Man films, from the Sam Raimi trilogy to the Marc Webb Amazing Spider-Man films, was Kellogg’s. The company did cereal tie-ins as well as an online video game that tied in with the movies. That support continued with Amazing Spider-Man 2, where Kellogg’s developed an app that you could download that would let you play a video game based on the movie.
Cereal fans got a big leg up on other viewers of the big sequel!
Leading into that, there was a trailer for the game, narrated by Stan Lee. In the trailer, it revealed that Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper) had died and that Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) had taken over OsCorp. This was not information that was made public otherwise, so cereal fans got a big leg up on other viewers of the big sequel!
4. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 SOUNDTRACK
Of all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, the ones that have perhaps done the best job at hiding spoilers are James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Even when it seemed like toys were spoiling the plot (like Iron Man, Nova and Darkhawk being part of the toy line), they turned out to be red herrings (or, in the alternative, not intended as anything at all).
Even when some toys kind of spoiled the fact that Kurt Russell’s Ego was a villain in the film, it was through some vague descriptions on the back of the packaging. Meanwhile, though, in the soundtrack to the film, there is an original song, “Guardians Inferno,” where the singer shouts, “My daddy was a planet!” which at least fills people in on that much of the film’s plot!
3. IRON MAN 3 T-SHIRTS
In Iron Man 3, the villainous Aldrich Killian turns out to have invented the terrorist organization known as the Mandarin (including hiring an actor to play the Mandarin himself), all to hide his own nefarious schemes that revolve around the Extremis Virus. Killian has a company called Advanced Idea Mechanics. In the Marvel Universe, Advanced Idea Mechanics is a group of evil scientists who typically go by the name A.I.M.
Well before the film was released, we knew that A.I.M. was going to be involved in the movie because T-Shirts were released for both Stark’s company and Advanced Idea Mechanics, even keeping the basic visual design that they used in the comic books to make it clear to everyone that these guys are going to be the bad guys in the film.
2. AVENGERS INFINITY WAR MUGS
As noted before, every little piece of new information about Avengers: Infinity War was treated like a feeding frenzy! That was certainly the case when a mug came out to tie in with the film and on the mug, there was a new character that appeared to be grouped with the villains of the film, the others of which had already being identified.
Websites were falling over themselves to identity who the new villain was.
Ultimately, it was revealed that this was merely the head of Thanos’ group of otherwise uniform drones known as the Outriders, known only as “Outrider General.” So, rather than being another member of Thanos’ Black Order or perhaps someone else from Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers run, it was simply a slightly more important pawn in Thanos’ larger game.
1. JUSTICE LEAGUE SOUNDTRACK
There is nothing quite like the release of the first Star Wars prequel in 1999. At the time, the internet was still fairly new to the general public, so this was the first major pop culture work that people could use the internet to obsess over, while Lucasfilm guarded the plot of the film well. Then, there was the soundtrack, which plainly showed a track referencing Qui-Gon Jinn’s funeral!
The track listings for the Justice League soundtrack aren’t even close to being that obvious with their spoilers, but a close reading still gives you a pretty good picture of how the plot of the movie will go.
13. “The Tunnel Fight”
14. “The World Needs Superman”
15. “Spark of The Flash”
16. “Friends and Foes” (includes elements of John Williams’ “Superman Theme” from Superman)
17. “Justice League United”
See what we mean?
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