Movie Marketing

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The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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The James Bond Files

James Bond is no longer merely a name, nor even just a character. James Bond is an international cultural icon. His legend extends from one corner of the planet to the other, and 007′s world-wide popularity has seldom waned in half a century. Over the years, hundreds of companies have vied to get a piece of the lucrative James Bond pie by releasing merchandise and memorabilia designed to capitalize on the spies’ craze. In some cases this yielded tremendous collectibles on whose value a monetary price cannot really be placed; despite what those greedy jerks at eBay say. I NEED that Oddjob nosehair trimmer dammit! Anywho, that brings us to the other side of the coin, in which some rather shoddy and sometimes incomprehensible wares are pushed on fanatics. Let’s take a look at some of the things you’d better buy us for Christmas or else.

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Non-spoilery Trailer

Translation?  “In order to ensure that its various plot elements and surprises remain unrevealed, this trailer is only based on the first half of the film.” It’s a hell of a sentiment, but as you might have guessed (from the headline and all the French words), it comes from France. The image and translation comes from friend of the site, Sleepy Skunk, who recently gained fame for his Amazing Spider-Man in 25 Minutes video which criticized the sheer amount of marketing available now. The result of that onslaught, as well as the general need to explain everything possible in an advertisement, is that we’re getting a lot of trailers that spoil almost everything. They draw from the second act liberally and sometimes from the third. Fortunately, the trend is seeing at least a small reversal as proven by this new placard that’s begun to spring up in front of a handful of trailers in France. With any luck, it’ll spread and make it’s way to our shores. The people demand it. Way to go, France!

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How much movie advertising is too much? What’s the number? When 25% of the movie is online in ads before it comes out? 10%? 2%? Are you ready to go back to a world where the magic and mystery happens when you’re in the theater instead of at your laptop? Louis Plamondon’s (aka Sleepy Skunk) “Amazing Spider-Man in 25 Minutes” is an awesome look at the movie, but it’s also a critical middle finger to movie marketers for stealing that magic. We spoke with the mash-up editor about finding 20% of a blockbuster online before it hit theaters, what that means for piracy and how that’s deeply unfair to the people who worked on the movie. Download Episode #139

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The Amazing Spider-Man

It’s the oldest, three-year-old joke in the book: ubiquitous movie marketing means we know everything about a movie before it comes out. It’s resulted in many fans shunning trailers altogether or, gasp, avoiding Twitter. Here finally, Sony has given Vimeo user SleepySkunk the ammo to prove what we all already know (which is too much). The result is a 25-minute version of The Amazing Spider-Man cobbled together from advertisements and featurettes. At first, watching it is sort of funny – a video middle finger to an overzealous marketing culture – but after a few minutes, it starts to feel like you’re watching the movie itself. That’s a creepy feeling, knowing that the movie is almost completely out there in the world, waiting to be assembled with a little editing magic. What’s even crazier is that it features a beginning, middle and end. At 25 minutes, it’s missing a lot, but it’s like watching a plot outline version of the final product. Check it out for yourself:

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The Dark Knight Rises finally breaks into theaters on July 20th (shortly followed by it getting away in a school bus with everyone’s money). The advertising so far hasn’t been nearly the effort put in for the second film, which makes sense considering that everyone on the planet will see it even without a dime put into television ads. However, the final trailer for the film is about to be seen by millions. According to NolanFans.com, Christopher Nolan‘s forthcoming Batman flick is utilizing Marvel again by playing the trailer before The Avengers. Just as they did with Inception before Iron Man 2 and as they did with The Dark Knight before Iron Man. Superheroes love hanging with other superheroes. It’s true. Of course, the trailer will no doubt be online right around the same time (just in case…you weren’t…planning on going to see The Avengers…for some reason).

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Alfred Hitchcock was born in the 19th century but gave birth in the 20th century to the age of modern filmmaking. Famous for his wit, inventive appreciation of the macabre, and a firm belief that suspense involves bringing a victim out from the shadows into the light he crafted the kinds of movies that made you care about characters even while reaching for your cholesterol medication. He also has a lot to teach. To fellow filmmakers and fans alike. Which is why we’ve chosen him as the first teacher in a new series of weekly articles where master movie-makers share their insights. Throughout his life, Hitchcock was candid about his methods and philosophies (amongst other things he flung around freely). Here’s a bit of free film school from a true visionary.

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Hooray! On May 25th, Wes Anderson‘s latest movie Moonrise Kingdom will enjoy the warm glow of the silver screen. The movie stars Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman and Bob Balaban, and it tells the story of young love that leaves town and causes a search party to form. No doubt, Balaban is looking stately here. Like a young Santa Claus. Ahead of the release, Focus Features has released a team photo of the whole crew, and if you didn’t know it was from Wes Anderson before, this photo definitely isn’t hiding it. Check it out for yourself and click it to make it even bigger:

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Talk about giving back. With 26 directors and 26 short films making up the horror anthology The ABCs of Death, you’d imagine that they’d have their hands full, but the fine folks at Magnet, Timpson, and Drafthouse Filmshave decided to give back to the community. Their first poster promoting the project is a vibrant public service announcement celebrating the FUNdamentals of reading. It does it with a crow-winged Angel of death and a tiny toddler, but the sentiment is the right one. Check it out for yourself:

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It’s been a long, shaken-not-stirred run, but according to AdAge, James Bond will be enjoying an ice cold Heineken “at least in one scene.” Skyfall is part of a larger marketing campaign by the booze brand, but there’s a question of whether this changes Bond’s image. But why should it? Bond is the prototypical man’s man. The new slightly-more-Bourne-like era of action where Daniel Craig has taken the reigns has done more to change the character than a simple sip will. Now, if they start having him introduce himself first name first, that would be a real travesty.

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There are least two sides to this whole Bully MPAA rating mess. Maybe it’s a valiant outcry against the hypocrisy of an organization that treats sex and language differently than violence. Maybe it’s a huge public relations stunt orchestrated by Harvey Weinstein in order to get more butts into seats. Maybe it’s both. Either way, Lee Hirsch‘s movie is caught in the balance, and it looks like he’s ready to cut off his entire head to spite his face. Shortly before the Los Angeles premiere of the movie, he made the decision to release it unrated into theaters. Because if your goal is to make sure as many children see it as possible, the best move would be to make it impossible for them to see it, right?

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Movie studios have been using testimonials to market their films for years. Most frequently, they rely on professional film critics to supply pull quotes for use in advertising. While some of these quotes are genuine, some are simply generated on demand by media hounds who just want to see his or her name on a movie poster or in a TV spot. In the industry, we disrespectfully refer to these folks as “quote whores.” Quote whoring is big business to some, giving them attention from the studios with perks and junkets. Being in the inner circle of quote whores is kind of like being in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. There’s lots of benefits and little responsibility. However, there’s a disturbing recent trend in Hollywood that jeopardizes the institutionalized quote whore’s well being, and it comes in the form of social media.

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I’m not sure if there’s an award anywhere out there for thoroughness in marketing, but if it exists I would have to imagine the team promoting The Hunger Games has it in the bag. Back when the film was in pre-production they were sending out casting announcements seemingly every hour on the hour. It got to the point where they were releasing info on which local pizza delivery guys they were picking up to do extra work and which aspiring young nephew of a producer was coming on as a grip. Over the course of a couple of months “The Hunger Games” went from being just a series of cult novels to stoking the fire of revolution and becoming a genre movie blaze of passion sweeping across the dry planes of the World Wide Web. And now that the film is getting closer to release, their efforts have become even more refined. Case in point, these five district posters that Lionsgate has released on the Hunger Games Facebook page. If you remember, the crux of this story is about a future world, made up of 12 districts, that holds an annual tournament where two children from each district battle to the death on a big crazy game board. In order to hammer that point home, it looks like we’re going to get a poster countdown with a seal from each and every district being released over the course of the next who knows how long. And to support these efforts […]

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Homecoming writer/director Sean Hackett discusses a brave new distribution technique, and Koran By Heart documentarian Greg Barker takes us to Cairo during Ramadan. Plus, Landon Palmer culture wars against Movies.com‘s dapper senior editor Pete Hall in a Movie News Pop Quiz that will probably cause your living room to burst into flame. Download This Episode

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As we all know, alien lifeforms will soon reach the planet and destroy us all in a feverish, blinding light or a hail of laser blasts. As usual, our only hope is a reckless pilot with magic jewelry. I’ve mentioned 3D Sound before, and this gem comes from Newton and District Astronomers. Give a listen and geek out a bit. The movie it’s promoting should be insanely easy to figure out (if you haven’t already). Pro tip: wear some headphones.

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In this season of meta (Rubber, Scream 4), Morgan Spurlock trumps all. Leave it to the Super Size Me documentarian, who has made a career out of sacrificing his mind and body for his projects, to humorously sell out his dignity to corporations for the most painstakingly self-reflexive movie of any sort since Adaptation. His POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is, yes, exactly what that above-title sponsorship suggests it to be. Rightfully disturbed by the ubiquity of product placement in modern entertainment, Spurlock sets out to spoof that synchronous blend of corporate schilling and art by crafting a documentary about his attempts to accrue corporate sponsors for a documentary about his attempts to accrue corporate sponsors for a documentary. And on and on we go.

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Since the most recent character posters for X-Men: First Class were so abominably bad, we decided to sponsor a little contest to see which of our design-minded readers could do better. The bar was low, but everyone went far above and beyond the call of duty, and the result was a squad of really great posters. Some went with Saul Bass inspiration, others played off the comic books, one found inspiration in The Social Network, one changed the director (see above), and still others chose to go their own way entirely. Sadly, no one chose to improve on the floating head in crotch concept. That’ll be a new contest entirely, but without further ado, here’s the winner (who will receive a 1999 lithograph recreation of the first “X-Men” cover done by comic artist/legend Alex Ross) and a gallery of some especially great runners up:

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as BlurryProjector and TheGeneralRulz in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, they ponder the wildly wide-spread Mark Harris article, “The Day the Movies Died,” alongside the new infographic proving movies have gotten worse. We really need a scapegoat, huh? Is marketing really to blame? Are movies really getting worse? If so, how do we, the fans, fix them?

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Since Halloween is over, people are already decorating for Christmas because Thanksgiving never got around to choosing official colors. To get in that holiday spirit, we’ve got a look at two new movie posters that are painting the town green and red. The first is for Kevin Smith’s long-promised horror film about religious zealots, Red State. The other is for the Seth Rogen-starring adaptation of the classic television show, Green Hornet. Deck the halls. It’s November.

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These are just gorgeous. It’s amazing when the art of film advertising seeks to design something that will carry the tone of the film correctly while actually aiming for a bit of artistic merit. These new character posters for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 may be simple, and the name may be unusually long, but the effect is strong. The latest film (and beginning of the end) boasts the usual suspects all returning with the addition of Bill Nighy to what amounts to a roster of the best British actors in the business. Expect even more promotional materials, because after the Summer release of the trailer, Deathly Hallows will probably inundate fans with even more reasons to head to opening night in November. As if people needed more reasons.

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