Editor’s Blog: The Varying Levels of Exposure

The Editor's Blog

This week’s editor’s blog is a two partner. In fact, its two parts would normally be completely unrelated, but thanks to my wicked skills and my intense laziness, I am going to somehow tie these two thoughts together.

We begin with a story that I read earlier today written by Carl DiOrio over at The Hollywood Reporter titled “Megawide releasing a foolish film trend”. The article explores the upcoming summer movie season by looking at the increasingly wider and wider releases of the summer’s biggest studio tentpoles. DiOrio cites Iron Man as a prime example of a film that will run on so many theaters, it will be almost inescapable for the American moviegoer. This, as the article explains, is the point of the exercise. Studios want to over-saturate the film venues of America in an attempt to bring home the box office booty, just as Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End did when it became the widest film release in the history of man, playing in over 4,300 theaters.

Back then (as in, last summer), 4,300+ theaters was a ludicrous number. Prior to that, studios were targeting 3,000 as the measuring stick for their biggest jewels, but last summer seems to have changed the game. And of course, we expect it to get even bigger this year, with 4,000 theaters becoming the standard.

The real question brought up in the article, the argument that I find most interesting, is whether or not we have reached the point of over-exposure. It reminded me of the other day, when I was sent a gaggle of new production stills from Iron Man. After filing them in my special Iron Man folder on my computer, I realized that I now have over 70 production stills from the film, which is unheard of. As well, even with weeks until the release of the film, we are seeing a barrage of marketing unlike anything we have seen since, well, Spider-Man 3, the film that kicked off the summer movie season.

It is a lot, that is true, but I don’t agree with anyone who says it is too much. As well, I don’t think that we’ve reached a point of over-exposure with our summer movies. This is a position that movie studios have put themselves in, through the age-old capitalistic methods of competition. When we look at the summer movie slate of 2008, we see probably the tightest, most jam-packed schedule of blockbusters that we have ever seen. Take May for example: Iron Man, Speed Racer, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Sex and the City: The Movie all drop into theaters in consecutive weeks. Every single one of these films is gunning for a $200 million plus box office. These studios have no choice but to put on a marketing blitz and do whatever it takes to get their film into as many theaters is possible, or they run the risk of getting completely buried by the competition.

So as you can see, it might feel like over-exposure, but in reality it is the summer movie season itself. The whole thing has continued to grow year over year, increasing in size at an alarming rate. For the die hard movie fan, it is fun, we get an onslaught of huge films for three solid months. As a journalist (and I use that term loosely), I fear that if it gets any bigger, we will all end up in the looney bin. Someday it could get to be too much, but for now, at least as I stand in the looming shadow of the biggest summer movie season in the history of cinema, I’m not ready to say that things have gotten too over-blown. At least not yet.

On to under-exposure. To the sun, that is.

I will attempt to keep this part short, as it has almost nothing to do with movies, just blogging. When you combine the two (movies + blogging), you most accurately describe what I do every single day, thus it is relevant. Last week The New York Times ran an article about the stressed of blogging in the on-demand world. As the article would have you believe, when it comes to the upper-echelon of blogging, it is a 24/7, blog-or-die world that has blood pressure rising and unhealthy bloggers dropping like flies.

At first, I rejected the notion that blogging as a profession could possibly cause health problems. I would like to think that I live a relatively healthy lifestyle and that I don’t take myself so seriously as to lose sleep over whether or not my site is missing out on any news. But after a short period of reflection, I realized that the piece in the NYT isn’t too far off. Blogging can be stressful, mostly because we live in such a fast-paced, on-demand world. Blogging about movies, much like blogging gossip or technology, can create a flood of information that often causes 18-20 hour workdays, all spent in one spot: right in front of the computer.

But ask any blogger and they will tell you that they wouldn’t have it any other way. In general, we live for this lifestyle, we enjoy what we do. Even still, the story, though sensationalized to the nth degree, got me thinking. Thankfully in my case, I have the web’s most brilliant team of writers to help relieve some of the stress, or share in the pain, however you look at it. In fact, that reminds me, did anyone catch my awesome quote in the AMC.com feature of Film School Rejects as Site of the Week? Not to gloat, but it was a damn good one. Good enough that it is the note upon which I have chosen to leave you:

“[I’m] 24-years-old, sitting on top of a pretty cool movie website, working with some of the best writers on the face of the planet and meeting famous people all the time. [It’s the movie geek’s version of the American Dream.]”

Check out the full article over at AMC.com’s Future of Classic Blog.