Watchmen’s opening credits staying offline

waMovie studios and TV networks are always asking how much content to give away online for publicity without giving away so much people won’t bother buying a ticket or tuning in.

Warner Bros. has apparently decided that the super stylish opening credits sequence of “Watchmen” is a step too far. Motionogrpher, a website that covers filmmaking and motion graphics, posted the sequence on its blog, only to see it taken down by WB. The blogger left the note “I will never understand Hollywood’s approach to free publicity. Persistent souls will still find the titles elsewhere online.”

Business Insider, from which I got the link, concurs, stating, “Bad move, Warner. The sequence, which probably used less total footage
from the film than any of Warner’s poorly produced trailers, wasn’t
anything but free publicity for a film that needs help at the box office.” (A questionable assertion after a solid if not spectacular opening weekend, but we’ll leave that aside)

Although right now the “elsewhere” link takes you to a page that doesn’t work. And I couldn’t find any working links to the sequence on YouTube either. WB seems to have the kibosh on it, for the moment.

Motionographer can’t understand why, but I can. I think it’s pretty reasonable not to give away such a great sequence from the film, at least this early in release. Studios often wait until a movie has been out a week or two to put more clips on the Web, partially to deal with the inevitable piracy and partially to draw audiences who aren’t part of the fanboy crowd that pays lots of attention and rushes out opening weekend.

There’s one other small matter: The opening credits of “Watchmen” are set to a song called “The Times They Are A’Changing” by an artists named Bob Dylan. You might have heard of it and of him. I’m going to guess that’s an expensive song to license and WB may not have the rights to just drop it the Web for publicity purposes.

Update: This post previously said that the blog belonged to f/x firm yU+Co that worked on the sequence. That was incorrect.

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