The problem with marketing: what you see is NOT what you get

10/14/99

It's nothing new in the movie biz, I suppose. Pictures are poorly marketed, or not marketed at all, and they never find their true audience. Some get noticed, for all the wrong reasons, and some fade away too soon. Either way, a lot of great movies wind up under-appreciated or just plain unrecognized.

The way this picture's being sold, I wonder why they didn't title it American Booty. Moviegoers are expecting some sort of Lolita-esque comedy, instead of the rather dark and ominous tale it actually is. Same thing with Three Kings. This is NOT a comedy, although it starts out looking like one. These are both good movies. Why can't they be advertised for what they are?

The Iron Giant represents the other side of the same coin: a buck forty-nine ad campaign. This is a superb movie, and not just a kid's movie either. It just won a bunch of industry awards. Where's the promotional effort? Why did the studio give up on it?

The reason for the above is obvious: comedy sells, and if you can't get away with selling a picture as a comedy, then don't sell it at all. That would appear to be the thinking of the people who make decisions about marketing campaigns for mainstream movies. But is comedy the only thing that sells? Do dramas not get box office any more? Perhaps not, and if that's the case, then we are reaping what we have sown.

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