What happened to Idiocracy?

idiocracy-movie-poster-reviewA couple weeks ago – August 13th – it was announced that 20th Century Fox had decided to postpone the film Idiocracy indefinetely, a nice way of saying it would never see the light of day. Since the film was the latest from Mike Judge, the creator of “Beavis & Butthead”, “King of the Hill” and Office Space, this news was not exactly welcome to fans of his work. Then, just a couple weeks later, the studio decided they would go ahead and release the film as scheduled on September 1st.

What’s that? You didn’t know that? That’s because they shuffled it off into a handful of theaters and basically did no marketing for the movie.

I really don’t know how to explain this. Judge has a built-in fan-base and the movie stars Luke Wilson, who’s pretty popular right now. The only marketing material I could find is this poster for the film. That’s it. No trailer, no website, no nothing. I can’t imagine the movie, about someone (Wilson) who’s cryogenically suspended for 500 years and awakens to a society of morons among whom he seems a genius, is too “dumb” for release. After all, studios keep bank-rolling Rob Schneider movies and someone even gave the “OK” to two movies from the less-talented portion of the Wayans family. Likely it was too smart and, satire being satire, no one knew how to market it. I’ve read nothing but positive reviews of the movie so I don’t know what the problem is.

This has all the earmarks of a movie that wants to be exposed to a larger audience. I’m not saying it’s going to do Pirates of the Caribbean money, but it could find its niche if it was marketed in the right manner – or, in this case at all. As Kate says, were it not for a couple of random blog stories, it’s likely most people wouldn’t have found the movie at all. And a bare minimum of advertising likely would have boosted the awful box-office results. Gordon MacAlpin actually give the best commentary on the marketing of the movie I’ve seen to date in one single panel of his “Multiplex” online comic strip.

This whole thing seems to me like a bit of a purposeful self-fulfilling prophecy. Someone decided the movie wasn’t deserving of a large release or a marketing campaign for its smaller release. So when said movie is dumped into a handful of screens and does poorly that person gets to say “See, it didn’t do well at all. I was right!” This person is an ass.

Does every movie deserve a huge release platform with a huge marketing campaign? No, of course not. But when they come from someone with an existing fan-base like Judge they deserve a chance to find the niche success they might warrent.

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Jackass 2 urinal ad

Over at AdJab we have something of an obsession with urinal-based advertising. Up until now, though, there’s never been actual footage of a urinal ad. Thank goodness, YouTube and this gentleman have now filled that gap. You can see a urinal ad being “activated” by someone…well…pissing on it to show the ad for Jackass: Number Two.

[via AdFreak]

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Studio ad accounts in play

20th Century Fox and Lions Gate are just two of the studios who have put their huge ad accounts up for review. The primary thing they – and everyone else – are looking for is help in a new media world.

“The studios are launching 25 movies a year, and each one is a brand with a very short shelf life,” said Bill Cella, chairman-CEO of Magna Global Worldwide. “They have to figure out how to hit the target in a very short time.” Network and cable TV are still vitally important, but so are viral marketing, online and emerging media. “The studios are trying to find different ways to market themselves,” he said.

Crew Creative, a Hollywood ad agency that works with HBO, Universal, Sony, Warner Bros. and others, said its clients have increased online spending 25% this year, though with funds diverted from other media, not new money. “We’ve had clients tell us to stop building print ads in midstream because they wanted to redirect the money to online,” said Damon Wolf, a founder. “Everyone’s getting bolder because online doesn’t just appeal to niche audiences anymore.”

Brad Agate, senior VP-research, Horizon Media, said changes in the movie business — flat DVD sales, competition from Netflix and burgeoning download services — might be among the causes for the media upheavals.

There’s also the fact that people are exposed to more and more advertising that isn’t relevant to them than ever before. Breaking through that clutter is hard, expecially when the product being advertised is being buzzed about well before its release.

I do appreciate that the Magna exec in the quote refers to each movie as a brand, something I said months ago.

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Unstable celebrities

Yeah, I’m as surprised by the fact that companies, including movie studios, might not be that eager to attach their valuable brand names to a bunch of ass-wacky celebrities as you are. The inherent problem movies have is that they are built around those ass-wacky celebs and their drawing power has been the hook so many campaigns have been built around so far.

What to do…what to do…

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Once more to the SoaP well

I’m not going to comment – since I think I’ve said everything I can about Snakes on a Plane – but instead just encourage you to go read the latest from Todd Copilevitz and Mario Sundar both do one more post on the movie and the citizen marketing efforts that heralded its arrival.

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This is your brain on religion

Some might call it a brain that’s “hardwired” for religion, I call it the ability to see God in places both large and small and know he’s beside and inside us. I’m a little offended that people who believe certain things are represented – through inference more than outright statement – as irrational fanatics who can’t overcome their programming, but that’s my own thing. I think it’s important that we think of this as being able to “know” God without ever being able to divine His thoughts.