Women Coming to the Forefront in Movie Marketing

Women Coming to the Forefront in Movie Marketing

Without question there is still much, much progress to be made when it comes to representation and inclusion on film. It’s great that so many of this year’s Sundance Film Festival award winners were women, but female characters in 2016 only accounted for 38% of on-screen speaking roles and too many studios are not making significant progress on improving that number this year. Both Fox and Paramount have no films by female directors on its release slate for the rest of this year, for instance.

Still…there are shafts of light appearing in the cracks formed by the recent shifts in conversation that hold men accountable for their terrible actions instead of rewarding them while blaming, shaming or dismissing the victims. Those signs of hope are coming from a few recent movie marketing efforts.

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Marvel Sells Characters, DC Sells Heroes

Marvel Sells Characters, DC Sells Heroes

A new study, reported by Adweek, breaks down a key difference in the movies being released based on Marvel Comics characters and those from DC: Audiences immediately, when the trailers are released, connect with Marvel characters on an emotional level they just don’t with DC characters. Here’s the key graf:

ZappiStore says the data shows the DC trailers received a positive response from their special effects and explosive action, rather than from their characters. However, fans show a strong affinity toward Marvel’s superheroes and react positively toward its trailers’ humor, driving the higher levels of emotional engagement with its trailers.

What’s interesting about the results of the study is that this sounds so familiar. If you’re at all aware of the history of Marvel Comics, you’ll know that Stan Lee (and plenty of others, including Jack Kirby) set out to create characters that were very different than the heroes published by DC Comics at the time. Those heroes – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Shazam, Hawkman and others – were seen as being too godlike to be relatable. They were a kind of new Roman Pantheon, great and powerful beings who could do anything, without the kinds of real-world issues and personalities people could easily relate to.

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Upcoming Film Adaptations, February 2018

Upcoming Film Adaptations, February 2018

February brings with it, as most months do, plenty of new movies based on previously-published works.

Peter Rabbit (2/9)

I remember listening to a Nerdist podcast in mid-2016 with Domhnall Gleeson where he said he didn’t have much on his plate in the near future. That changed at some point because the guy is now everywhere. This month he plays Farmer McGregor in the hybrid live-action/animation adaptation of Peter Rabbit and the subsequent books featuring that character from author Beatrix Potter. James Corden voices Peter, one of several anthropomorphized animals who live on McGregor’s farm in a story that it seems involves…well…elements that aren’t in the original.

peter rabbit pic

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Dundee Was Too Beautiful For This World

Dundee Was Too Beautiful For This World

Two weeks ago the film and entertainment press gasped and clutched its collective pearls when a strange teaser video appeared out of the blue. As the camera pans across a lush landscape, captions tell us “This summer…a legend returns home.” Eventually we settle on actor Danny McBride, standing on a cliff and decked out as if he’s ready to explore the Outback, who goes on to give us his own version of the “That’s not a knife” scene from the 1986 classic Crocodile Dundee.

What was this? The video was posted to a YouTube account named “Dundee Movie” there was an accompanying Twitter account, leading to speculation original star Paul Hogan had finally found a way to continue the story of Mick Dundee, the Australian outdoorsman we first met over 30 years ago and haven’t seen since 2001’s Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles.

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Winchester – Marketing Recap

Winchester – Marketing Recap

winchester poster 2The great Helen Mirren takes a break from playing either royalty or assassins to take on the real-life role of Sarah Winchester, the widow of William Winchester, a member of the family responsible for the Winchester rifle, in the new movie (of course) Winchester. In the story Sarah is still grieving after the death of her husband, channeling that grief into the endless construction of her San Jose mansion, which she believes is occupied by the ghosts of those killed by the weapons manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.

While most think her mad for her obsessive work on the house sans direction or overall vision, she believes its hundreds of rooms are necessary. Alongside her are her niece (Sarah Snook) and Eric Price (Jason Clarke), the doctor looking after Sarah as she seems to descend deeper into madness. The movie takes Sarah’s conviction she’s being haunted and makes it literal, turning the story into one of a massive, imposing, chaotic haunted house that was built to house ghosts who are no longer content being locked up.

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Movie Marketing Is On the Cusp of Major Changes

Movie Marketing Is On the Cusp of Major Changes

As January 2018 winds down, the entertainment finds itself with a number of notable events happening.

First, nominations for this year’s Academy Awards were just released. As usual, there were notable omissions, including Wonder Woman being snubbed. Thankfully there were also some great inclusions such as both Jordan Peele (Get Out) and Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) receiving directorial nominations.

Second, the Sundance Film Festival has finished up. This year’s Park City, UT gathering has been more low-key than it has been recently. While films are still being acquired, neither Netflix or Amazon Studios have been active buyers, reversing a trend from the last few years where they’ve outbid traditional specialty distributors for heavily-buzzed films.

Third, the Super Bowl is coming up quickly, traditionally a big platform where studios debut trailers for high-profile releases coming out in the next several months. We already know Universal and Paramount are going to be promoting some of their films. Marvel’s Black Panther will also be included in a spot that’s actually for Lexus.

That’s a lot of movie marketing-related activity right now. And it’s all taking place when there are some notable marketing and entertainment industry trends that will upend many long-held beliefs and tactics.

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I Just Don’t Have An Oscars Nominations Opinion

I Just Don’t Have An Oscars Nominations Opinion

After almost a week of consideration, my tradition of being able to conjure up any strong opinions regarding what has or has not been nominated for an Academy Award – or any other award – continues unabated, it seems.

Don’t get me wrong. I love that Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig were nominated for Best Director but also would have been happy to see Patty Jenkins take Christopher Nolan’s slot. I also would have accepted Edgar Wright, whose work with Baby Driver is some Fred Astaire level stuff.

It remains difficult for me to get worked up about who was or wasn’t snubbed, though. Sure, I have my opinions and you’re going to have yours and we can debate that. That’s what you do with art, not rate it as if its values can be extolled numerically.

In Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams’ John Keating dismisses out of hand that poetry can be analyzed and measured to determine its value. “I like Byron, I give him a 42 but I can’t dance to it!” he says, mocking that such a scale is even possible. And he’s right.

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