Monday, July 25, 2005


The Follow-Up, such as it is

Perhaps I should explain to you what I mean by an underexposed film. You put $10 million bucks of marketing behind a $100 million tentpole, no one knows it’s even in the marketplace. Why? Because $10 million only buys so much marketing. It’s fine--in fact, more than adequate--for an indie film made on maxed-out credit cards and the family contribution (or a couple of angel investors), but something that Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. or New Line (or even DreamWorks) have risked considerable capital on needs to have every wheel working overtime for it.

That means (but is not limited to) TV spots around the clock one week prior to release, internet advertising (banners on every site which counts), giveaways, talk show appearances, in-building omnipresent hawking (okay, just kidding about that last one)--but you get the idea. In the case of Michael Bay’s The Island, the film may have had more than $10 million in ad dollars but for the past couple of weeks I watched TV almost non-stop, and with the exception of two, maybe three ads on two of the big three networks The Island has been AWOL. That’s bad.

However, on the Web it seemed that every other major website had Island banners on it. Except mine. Not bad, but exactly how much of an audience can one studio expect to have if advertisements for their film are primarily focused on the netsurfing crowd?

I prefer to be of the mind that believes The Island was done in by atrocious timing. The marketplace is wayyyy too congested with movies such as the Fantastic Four, War of the Worlds, Wedding Crashers, the Bad News Bears remake (or, as director Dick Linklater puts it, “remix”), and the critically excoriated The Devil’s Rejects, Rob Zombie’s sophomore flick. Not to mention Batman Begins and the aforementioned flavor of the weekend Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As head of distribution for 20th Century Fox, Bruce Snyder, puts it: “The business was there. It just got spread pretty thin among a lot of movies.” (Thanks to for the majority of the information presented above.)

Total box office for Batman Begins stands now at $191,108,000 smackers. The audience showed up for this one, at last. . .


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