Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Utilizing Hugh Jackman for Publicity

Drake defines publicity as media coverage for which no payment by the studio is made. While a member of the marketing department essentially, it functions at a very different frequency. Instead of being handed budgets and creating campaigns, publicity looks to utilize the talent of their movie through media use. Interestingly, Drake notes that reviews, television appearances, and interviews do not usually involve a direct payment to the media, and therefore may be more trusted by audiences. Trailers, and ads for movies are clearly attempting to spin and sell something to the consumer, but a late night interview with the star in which the movie is not the sole topic can spark peoples interest in a unique way.

Real Steel starring Hugh Jackman, took full advantage of its ability to utilize film publicity. With an estimated budget of eighty million dollars, turning a profit for this action oriented film based around the simplistic theme of robot boxing seemed imperative. While the marketing campaign was certainly high budget, a similarly strong publicity campaign was happening. Hugh Jackman was pushed as the loveable character who brought depth and importance to a movie revolving around robots boxing. Jackman appeared on most late night television shows, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Jay Leno, and Conan O’brien. During interviews Jackman clearly was attempting to show that this film had heart, and while very Hollywood in its nature, it contained some layers. His attempts seemed valiant, he was charming, friendly, and very optimistic about the movie.

Despite excellent differential promotion efforts from Jackson and the publicity team to create a dichotomy of messages from the trailers, the film still has not grossed enough to make a profit. Currently at approximately 66 million dollars, the film had a strong opening weekend but has cooled off sense. Much of this may be due to mixed reviews and not the strong publicity campaign which utilized the television media incredibly well.

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