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we saw wut u did thar, paramount
Does Advertising Matter... 
13th-Jun-2010 10:52 am
An interesting article I found over at Spinoff Online which touches on something we've looked at a couple times on this community. Does a studio throwing masses of money at something guarantee it's success?

From their June 12 posting:

How much advertising is too much? That might be the question Hollywood executives find themselves asking with the news that Prince of Persia has so far failed to earn back its own advertising budget in the US.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Prince of Persia has only earned $63 million dollars domestically, for a movie that cost $75 million to release and market.

Possible reasons for this? Word of mouth about what were apparently some pretty cheesy effects? Disinterest in the story? Well, maybe in this more media savvy times it was because of one thing: Buzz. Or lack of it.

But buzz doesn’t behave the way marketing should; sometimes, in fact, it’s just the opposite – Right now, for example, I think the summer movie with the most buzz is Scott Pilgrim… A movie that has barely started to be advertised, officially. Or, last year; District 9 didn’t have anywhere near the advertising budget of GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra, but which one were people talking about most excitedly, ahead of release?

Think about it, "Prince of Persia" was being marketed out the yin yang, but it wasn't the film that had people waiting in anticipation for it. Even with all the trappings of a by the book summer blockbuster it has come in way below studio expectations being beat out by an animated sequel that had already been out for a week and a movie aimed at women (hmmm....sounding familiar to a certain release week?)

13th-Jun-2010 07:32 pm (UTC)
I think so. I see these huge marketing budgets for some films, but awareness =/= interest.

I think more than stupid ads online and posters the art of the trailer is more important than ever. I think someone once said that a good trailer can only trick people into thinking the film is good, but a bad trailer is one nail in the coffin. There are exceptions, of course.

So I'm really curious about TLA. The trailer is likely being shown before The Karate Kid, which is poised to be a box office smash, apparently. People who were indifferent to the generic fantasy feel from the trailer may now check it out due to enthusiasm about martial arts films. I hope not, though...
14th-Jun-2010 12:46 am (UTC)
I just went and saw the Karate Kid, and the trailer did indeed come before it. Even before the previews where theaters have those 'fun fact' kind of things go on, there were two for the Avatar that were played constantly.

But speaking from an older point of view, the Avatar trailer didn't feel so powerful, and the bending felt a little weak. Especially when Karate Kid starts and you see that's how martial arts should be (as to how well executed at least). I don't know how a child would see it, but I didn't hear much reaction from any adult or child during the trailer, compared to a little reaction during Despicable Me and Karate Kid's trailer. (Didn't help that they tried to slow down and matrix out the bending basically every single time, which made it just seem awkward.) But that's just my own opinion.
14th-Jun-2010 02:54 am (UTC)
Hopefully the mediocre martial arts in the Airbender trailer will look silly after they see how Jackie Chan does it!
13th-Jun-2010 09:11 pm (UTC)
It has been mentioned that Hollywood has a penchant for wanting the flashy kicks from TaeKwonDo and MMA over real representations of martial arts. That has been lost with TLA and the cast members lack of knowledge.

The Karate Kid series did encourage children to take up KArate and other martial arts and the new Kungfu Kid film may do the same.

Still remains to be seen whether that would translate to more people becoming interested with TLA.

14th-Jun-2010 04:57 pm (UTC)
If I had a little kid I'd love to use the new Karate/Kung Fu movie as a selling point to convince them to take wushu classes.
14th-Jun-2010 05:12 pm (UTC)
I have a few kids in my Eskrima classes and they tend to be Anime fans, along with the scruffy hair al'a Goku.

We adults have warned them that we might just hold them down, whilst they get given a crewcut.

One of them is the one on the right of the photo.

Really tempting to cut his hair...lol
13th-Jun-2010 09:34 pm (UTC)

I headed over to one of the major review sites for film soundtracks, Filmtracks.com, where they have just put up a new review for TLA's score/soundtrack.

The reviewer/critic does mention about the racebending controversy briefly at the start but he has apparently given the soundtrack and the film's composer, James Newton Howard, glowing reviews with the highest rating on the site, five stars.

So building on what foxtree said, there is the potential that the film will also attract another batch of "indifferent" fans, that is film score fans/aficionados who might also be indifferent to the fantasy film genre but might watch it purely due to being enthusiastic just for a good musical sound behind it.

That's the power or should I say problem with huge marketing. There are multi-pronged ways that the advertising of a movie can appeal to all kinds of folks in spite of its potentially craptacular plot and even more craptacular acting, not to mention the message of social ill will that this movie upholds.

Advertising is not just relegated to essentially attracting folks just by a blip of movie shots in a 30-second trailer, but it's a composite or a series of components where every aspect of the film is broken down and marketed to attract potential customers depending on what aspect they are attracted to and whether they hope to appreciate the film for whatever potential niche that film has in its particular aspect. Hence whether there is appeal to martial arts fans or soundtrack fans.

Which is why it's important for us to be aware of the many ways this movie and the marketing campaign behind it can potentially reach all to kinds of people without them knowing about the social problems behind it but can potentially tinkle their fancies because of the multi-layered artistic appeal a blockbuster movie can give to the movie-going public. In this sense, the movement is many ways a concerted way trying to contain a social virus from breaking out!
14th-Jun-2010 06:39 am (UTC)
Good point. Although if the score is good, I find it interesting that all the marketing clips/trailers I've seen have been using pretty much the same music that they're using for the "Jonah Hex" movie trailers. Swear to god it's the same riff.
14th-Jun-2010 07:39 am (UTC)

That's interesting about the same riffs being heard over again.
It's to be expected though, as suffice to say, most film score music has been lackluster these years, as most studios have streamlined their movies with a derivative sound and as a result, there is a lot of financial restriction/pressure by producers on film composers that stops them from being too original and from going too far away from the approved "marketable" sound.

As a trained orchestrator myself and someone who delves into film score appreciation, I can tell you from the sentiments of many other aficianados that the particularly generic synthetic Hans Zimmer Remote Control sound (as sharkman jhones brought recently with his review of the trailer) has becoming a pariah sound of sorts and is leaving traditional film score fans wanting more. They might very well latch on to something like TLA if the movie's score is not of that mold and promises to be different.

Then again, the film score fans demographic is hardly a sure-fire marker to gauge success because the crowd is too small in the movie market. The same Filmtracks reviewer Christian Clemmensen also gave full five star ratings to James Newton Howard's score for Shyamalan's Lady in the Water prior to its release. And Lady in the Water completely tanked in the BO. So perhaps attracting this particular crowd is not a measure of success for Shyamalan or TLA whatsoever.

One personal grip I have always had about this movie was how much of a wasted creative opportunity it was for myself as a music fan to hear how a composer like James Newton Howard (who actually is incredibly talented) would approach and score music for an East Asian story like Avatar.

Howard, to my knowledge, is one major Hollywood composer who has never scored the martial arts and East Asian mythology or East Asian cultural genre for that matter. So it would have been incredibly fascinating and tintillating to hear how Howard would have artistically approached the orchestral sound with his own style and motives, while incorporating the classic traditional Chinese/Korean/Japanese/SouthEast Asian etc instrumentation that we would expect to hear from the story's musical sound in film form (just as how the Track Team did with the show in TV form).

If Shitmalan (sorry for the vulgarity but it's pretty close to the impending date of release!) had stuck to the original source material, that path of musical exploration could have been realised for Howard and for film score fans.
14th-Jun-2010 02:10 pm (UTC)
Shitmalan (sorry for the vulgarity but it's pretty close to the impending date of release!)

Bzzzt. The warping of Shyamalan's name for the sake of mockery is not appropriate for this comm, at any time.

14th-Jun-2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
Have to say that it is getting very tempting to do the same with that person.

M. Night is a sell out to the Hollywood machine and should be named as such.

14th-Jun-2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
I understand the temptation but I stress again that on this community, it is not appropriate. How you vent outside of racebending is your perogative.
14th-Jun-2010 10:14 pm (UTC)

Point taken. Pardon the outburst but as nemo said, it's incredibly tempting. The racefail in this movie goes beyond the cultural insensitivity. It was also from a creative point of view, reckless of Shyamalan to do what he did with the movie project.
14th-Jun-2010 02:23 pm (UTC)
It probably IS the same riff. Movie trailers tend not to feature music from the actual film, but rather re-use soundtracks from other films. I believe one of the reasons for this is because the trailers are often put together before the movie's soundtrack is finalized.
14th-Jun-2010 02:53 am (UTC)

*continues the buzz*
14th-Jun-2010 05:39 am (UTC)
Kind of off topic, but it would be kind of cool if a competing studio picked up the racebending/whitewashing story and ran with it in hopes of bringing down TLA. LOL
14th-Jun-2010 06:40 am (UTC)
That would be a sort of ironic justice wouldn't it?
14th-Jun-2010 02:53 pm (UTC)
i'm becoming increasingly frustrated with the way movies are still being marketed, so this doesn't surprise me. the music industry is at least catching on a little bit that viral marketing is so much more effective in creating buzz (nine inch nails and the
iamamiwhoami project are two examples of this working brilliantly), but the film industry has been way slower on the uptake, and that's saying something. not that i mind when it comes to tla - they can drive that one straight into the ground for all i care.
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