Courting the fanboys

Working with the online fanboys, especially on a comic book movie, is always a risk for studios. Denything them access or showing them something they don’t like can start early bad buzz from which a poor film never recovers (see “Catwoman”). But getting their early blessing, while potentially an instigator of good buzz, can also give you confidence that a wider audience is going to embrace something that ultimately doesn’t appeal to the mainstream (see “Serenity”).

Warner Bros. has apparently decided to let the fanboys not only see “Superman Returns” early, but allow (or not strictly forbid) them to post some early reviews. And according to Rotten Tomatoes, they’re universally positive.

The not-always fair-minded Aint’-It-Cool News noted that “the pacing is a bit off” but said SR will “should satisfy almost all kind of audiences” except impatient teenagers.

The uber-fanboyish Comic Book Resources has high praise for the new Supes himself, writing “”Brandon Routh turns in a performance that at many times plays as an homage to Christopher Reeve’s legendary portrayal of Superman while managing to prove scene-after-scene that he now owns the role.”

And the praise goes on. There’s absolutely no way to tell whether these devoted comic book and movie fanatics will be in sync with mainstream critics or the general public, who often don’t pay attention to either (see “X-Men: the Last Stand” which most fanboys and critics hated but has already become the year’s highest grossing movie).

Still, getting journalists to write things like “early buzz is good” never hurts when the promotional articles and news reports pour out in the next couple of weeks, and WB has already smartly helped to make that happen.