Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Lengthy Process of Hyping a Movie

Drake’s third peculiarity of Hollywood states that film revenues are streamed across a long span of time.  In essence, movie marketing is essential in the continued strive for public consumption.  To begin, marketing is paramount in attracting the public to see the movie in theaters.  Drake explains that opening weekend is now huge, accounting for nearly 50% of the movies revenue during its time in theaters.  Furthermore, a successful opening weekend likely ensures a lengthier stay in theaters, which in turn continues to help ticket revenue.  That being said, the movie must have thoughtful and well-planned marketing, advertising, and publicity to generate a “buzz” for the film.  Whether this is through hyping a particular star like Brad Pitt, another film in a series such as Toy Story, or promoting an acclaimed director, there is an obvious necessity to generate a public excitement toward the release of the film.
The importance of movie marketing doesn’t end after opening weekend.  After the first four days, almost every movie changes their marketing strategy to reflect either the success of the film or critic’s reviews.  I can’t think of seeing a movie that didn’t have a commercial stating it was, “now the number one comedy in America”! Or “Roger Ebert calls this movie a timeless classic”.  No matter the case, each film attempts to continue to get the public in the theater through this second-round advertising.
Still, advertising and publicity attempts do not end when the plug is pulled on movie screenings.  After this stay in theaters, the publicity and marketing team must discover the best way to develop excitement for the DVD release, or movie’s soundtrack.  DVD revenue accounts for a bulk of the success of the film, and successful marketing is likely to lead to a more successful revenue stream.
Quite clearly, choosing the correct marketing strategy is very important to establishing a successful film.  Using a solid strategy such as publicizing the known stars of the film help to minimize the risk associated with a film’s production.  In this regard, the die-hard followers of this actor or actress will be likely to attend the theater, no matter what genre of film it may be.  However, there are certainly some risks that still hold true.  For example, the 2005 average cost of marketing was nearly 36 million.  It is important to be able to manage this money in an intelligent way.  If you market the movie in a way that generates little buzz, you will have wasted that money without generating success at the box office.  Furthermore, there is also the prospect of under-marketing.  Some films hit theaters with relatively few ads, and few interviews with popular TV shows or magazines.  That can be equally as troubling, as the public may be less inclined to see a movie they have heard almost nothing about.
Therefore, it is truly a balancing act.  The publicity and marketing team must analyze the framing of the film and determine the best way to market the picture to the public.
I thought this link was perfect, as Will Ferrell recently went on Conan to announce Anchorman 2.  Fit perfectly with trying to already generate a "buzz" for the film.

1.) As a publicist, have there been any stations or people in particular that you or the production crew has steered clear of?  Was there ever a time when the publicity department knew to stay away from a particularly hazardous interview or one that could generate negative buzz?
2.)  How much say does the talent actually have in the publicity department?  Specifically, do the stars of the film get to decide whom they want to be interviewed by, or how much they want to publicize the movie through TV shows, magazines or newspapers?
3.)That being said, is there one particular medium that you prefer to channel your publicity through?  Do you think magazines, per say, are better publicity than TV or is it all relative?

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