Quick Takes 7/31/07

  • filmstrip2.jpgSeems that the success of The Simpsons Movie is proving to be good for 20th Century Fox as a whole. That’s good news since Fox pulled out all the corporate stops to promote the flick.
  • Blockbuster is looking at revising their bricks-and-mortar store strategy. The chain is playing with the idea of smaller stores that just carry the hot titles since that’s what in-store customers are most often looking for. It actually makes a lot of sense – you don’t browse the older releases for niche, indie flicks.
  • Lad mag Maxim is getting into the movie production business, commissioning a series of branded films meant to appeal to the same demographic as the magazine.
  • NBCU’s Jeff Zucker weighs in on the rebranding some divisions have seen and what has or hasn’t worked movie-wise in his short tenure as president and CEO at the media company.

It hasn’t gotten better

Two weeks after going off on a rant about the horrible email pitches I got from people who obviously just plugged my email address into a blast email program, I wanted to update that and let you all know it has not gotten any better. This confirms my suspicion that the people pitching MMM aren’t reading MMM. Argh.

Expanding the community

block-761281.JPGOver the course of the last two years my view of Movie Marketing Madness has evolved quite a bit. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, MMM exists at the intersection of the movie and marketing worlds in terms of online communities. But most of the links to the site, I’ve noticed, come from marketing sites. I’d guesstimate that 70 percent of the incoming links to MMM come from folks who regularly write about marketing, with the entertainment sites providing the remaining 30 percent. Kind of interesting, right? Certainly a different position than I envisioned when I started MMM.

But what I always thought was cool about MMM was that I approached movie marketing not only from the perspective of a movie fan but also as someone who lives and works in the marketing/communications industry. A good portion – probably about half – of my daily reading is made up of marketing blogs and sites and linking to their posts/articles provides, I think, some context as to how movie marketing efforts relate to the marcom field as a whole.

I bring this up as a long-winded introduction to something funny that happened today. Kevin Dugan forwarded me an email he got saying that someone had added him as a friend on Facebook. The note the guy attached to Dugan mentioned that he had become a loyal reader of his Strategic Public Relations blog after I had linked to it here.

I’m extraordinarily proud of this for some reason. I think it’s because I’ve fully drunk from Mack Collier’s philosophy that building a community is the most important thing in the world we can do. I do not always have all the answers on a particular issue and my point of view is my own. But even beyond that – there are some incredibly smart people out there who are putting up fantastic content. If I get one person to start reading Dugan, Collier, Pepper, Armano, Oberkirch, Holtz, Scirreta, Campea, Billington or any of the other people I link to on a regular basis then I feel like I’ve added something to people’s overall knowledge. That, for me, is just as rewarding as feeling like I’ve added something to the conversation with my own stuff.

We should all look, as we’re blogging, at what we’re doing to expand the community. The last thing I want the online world to do is mimic the old-media model of trying to turn one outlet into the one thing for everyone. We thrive here by embracing and utilizing the micromedia model. So I think the fact that someone I don’t know found Kevin and started reading SPR very cool, and a great example of the power a community wields actually being utilized.

Quick Takes 7/30/07

  • filmstrip2.jpgThe producers of The Simpsons Movie say the excellent viral and experiential marketing efforts for the movie helped to make it a success. Meanwhile The New York Times finally gets around to writing about the 7-Eleven marketing partnership.
  • Both Chattaway and Wells (as well as the guys they link to) continue the discussion of why exactly Evan Almighty flopped at the box-office. Speculation continues to swirl around whether or not it had to do with the overt Christian themes in the movie.
  • There’s a contest being run to promote Vin Diesel’s Babylon A.D. that’s looking for people to submit futuristic-esque ads or news stories.
  • Disney is planning to cancel the line of Ratatouille-branded wine it was offering as part of the more upscale products it was using to market the movie. The studio is concerned it could run afoul of restrictions on the use of cartoon characters to market alcohol to underage audiences.

Quick Takes Trailer Round-Up 7/30/07

A number of new trailers hit the net while I was out-of-touch. I promise this will be the last of the huge round-ups for a while. Everything is just about caught up.

The new international trailer for Beowulf, director Robert Zemeckis’ latest meshing of live-action acting and CG animation, is heavy on showing off the epic locations that computer programmers can create but also dives into the main part of the plot quite well. Oh, and there’s a bit of virtual skin being shown by Angelina Jolie, which has everyone a twitter.

Wes Anderson’s latest movie about a dysfunctional family unit, The Darjeeling Limited, finally got a trailer that is as awesome as the poster. The camera style and deadpan delivery of the lines by the actors immediately make it identifiable as an Anderson movie and the trailer moves along nicely, bringing new, fresh stuff pretty consistently.

This new trailer for the big-screen version of Alvin and the Chipmunks was in front of The Simpsons Movie when I saw it. I couldn’t believe it then and I kind of can’t believe it now.

This trailer for the CGI Horton Hears a Who also preceeded The Simpsons and was likewise as dumbfounding.

Resident Evil: Extinction has a new trailer that dives more fully into the movie’s plot than the teaser version did and sets it up as a logical extension of the franchise. It’s not bad but needs to be judged on a curve.

It’s in Spanish but that doesn’t make this trailer for Orphanage any less genuinely terrifying. And that’s coming from someone who is so very very done with the “weird child in danger” genre.

This trailer for Dedication, starring Billy Crudup as a kid’s book writer and Mandy Moore as his new illustrator, makes the movie seem really smart and fun and likable. Dammit.

Ethan Hawke has directed a big screen version of his own book The Hottest State and you can watch the kind of interesting trailer here.

The Kiera Knightly period-drama Atonement has a new trailer that makes the movie actually seem comprehensible, unlike the first effort. It sets up more of the plot before shifting from the countryside estate setting to images from the warfront, which helps tremendously.

How is it I’ve never heard of Drillbit Taylor before? This trailer looks awesome.

Quick Takes 7/29/07

  • filmstrip2.jpgBoingBoing links to a gallery of very cool Polish movie posters, a good number of which were made for American films.
  • The NYT covers the Film Forum’s NYC Noir series and the themes explored in these darker, grittier films.
  • Regarding the Chicago Film Critics/20th Century Fox flap, it appears the CFCA has come out and said that the LA Times story on the issue is wrong. You can read the correction the LAT published here. Peter Himler also offers his take on how reviews/access/embargoes are all tied together and how it’s all just one big mess.
  • Ford has signed a product placement deal with a new studio venture from the Weinstein Brothers and others.
  • Peter Chattaway puts way too much thought – but it’s good thought that might not have occurred to me or you – into the Star Trek series and how various plot holes keep appearing because Spock and Kirk pop up throughout the franchise.
  • Jane Austen’s stories remain popular because the issues she wrote about are truly timeless. In case you didn’t already realize this you can read the New York Times piece on the matter.
  • Cinematical says the studio behind Fanboys is holding an “Ultimate Star Wars Fanboy” contest.
  • David at AdFreak passes on yet another movie poster alteration effort, this time turning one-sheets into their fishy equivalents.
  • BloggingStocks declares Disney’s purchase of Pixar to, in the wake of Ratatouille, be totally worth the expense. The micro-studio, it says, is doing a better job than anyone else in carrying on the larger studio’s tradition of entertainment.
  • I’ll believe that Southland Tales is actually getting released when it finally hits theaters. I maintain my skepticism despite the fact that the Richard Kelly film has been given a release date.
  • Kevin Dugan passed on someone’s post that analyzed the color usage in movie posters to me a while ago but I never got around to doing anything with it. Sorry Kev. I’m glad that Karina picked up the story.
  • Matt Damon got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame just in time for the heart of the Bourne Ultimatum promotional push. Nice how those things usually work out like that.
  • Disney has decided to cut out smoking in its main studio films and will strongly discourage scenes with cigarettes in its Miramax and Touchstone films. But gratuitous sex and violence are still fine.
  • Dragon Wars, Saw IV, Bee Movie and The Mist all have new posters.
  • The makers of the Bratz toys say sales are up on the back of the film, a movie which Cinematical says is admittedly just a long-form commercial. James also has an online ad for the flick.

Quick Takes 7/27/07: Comic-Con round-up

comiccon.JPGYou know, in a way I’m glad I was gone while Comic-Con, something Nikke Finke called “the ultimate Hollywood orgy,” was going on. I think I would have felt too much pressure to cover all the really cool announcements – and swag – that were coming out of the event as they were happening. But now I get to cop out with a round-up post here, culled from the links I found while catching up on my reading.

And awaaaaaayyy we go…

  • Warner Bros. unveiled an initial poster and a brand new website for the Watchmen adaptation they’re producing, along with making an official cast announcement.
  • Audiences got a sneak peak at the trailer for Walk the Talk, which will reportedly debut in front of Superbad when that hits theaters.
  • Another comic adaptation, Whiteout, also got a poster and a trailer that debuted at the convention.
  • Former Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider unveiled a trailer for his new horror flick Hatchet.
  • The Iron Man official website got an update with some new images that debuted at the event.
  • New Line sneaked trailers for Jack Black’s latest, Be Kind Rewind, as well as The Golden Compass.
  • Dark Horse (owner of the Star Wars comic license) announced it will be creating an Indiana Jones 4 comic. Paramount also confirmed rumors Karen Allen will be back in this fourth installment. And you can watch the whole Indy 4 panel session here. Finally, LucasArts released a trailer for the new Lego Indiana Jones video game.
  • Marvel revved up a new official website for The Incredible Hulk revamp/launch/do. On an only somewhat related note, Newsarama has some fun with the stuff that you can buy on one of the official Hulk websites from Marvel.
  • Marvel also tipped its hand a bit, confirming that Samuel L. Jackson’s appearance as Nick Fury in the Iron Man flick will set the stage for a number of future films bringing characters from across the Marvel universe together.
  • Also from Newsarama comes word of this really cool limited edition 300-branded Xbox 360.
  • Paramount took the wraps off some casting news and a new teaser poster for the next Star Trek adventure.
  • Sony launched the official website for the vampire flick 30 Days of Night.
  • CinemaBlend has a bunch of other posters such as Sweeney Todd and others that were unveiled.

In addition to all the specific news that came out of Comic-Con, there was a host of stories on how big the event was for the studios that participated.

Friends of MMM Update 7/28/07

  • static4.jpgKarina Longworth is reminding her readers that she hasn’t completely forgotten her main personal blog, it’s just that being sooooo famous is taking its toll.
  • Todd Anderlik is announcing that his Power 150 roll of marketing-related blogs is joining up with Advertising Age. This is fantastic news and a big bit of validation for Todd, who has turned that list from a little meme-esque ego trip into something that’s widely and highly regarded.
  • Rick Klau is getting settled into his new California digs now that he’s part of the Google team. I’m going to miss Klau here in Chicago but am excited to see what he’s going to do with the Google resources behind him.

Quick Takes 7/28/07: The Simpsons Movie catch-up

simpsonsversionb.jpgThought I’d pull the items I’d accumulated in my link blog relating to The Simpsons Movie (which I saw yesterday and which is absolutely excellent) and put them over here to book-end my MMM column on the flick’s marketing.

  • Ellen Ryan Mardiks at Golin Harris does her own brief recap of some of the campaign’s high points. So does the Natural Search Blog and Access Hollywood.
  • It was likely the hype machine surrounding the movie that led to two reruns of the show placing in the top 10 prime-time ratings among 18 to 34 year olds last week.
  • Joseph Jaffe includes a look at the movie’s campaign in the latest episode of his Across the Sound podcast.
  • AdWeek covers the series of commercials for Burger King that were produced featuring original Simpons animation. I saw a couple of these last night while watching Clear & Present Danger on Spike and they were really good.
  • iMediaConnection’s panel of experts reviews the movie’s official website.
  • The owner of the URL “thesimpsonsmovie” was ordered to turn it back over to 20th Century Fox after the case went to a U.N. intellectual property dispute body.
  • The Vulture Blog (and others I think) got sent a box of pink donuts as part of the press outreach the studio was doing.

Random RSS

A few brief thoughts that occurred to me while cruising down I-94/cutting the grass/trying to fall asleep:

  • Should Michael Vick return to the NFL, I think it’s incumbent on fans in opposing cities to start singing Who Let the Dogs Out. In fact I’m working on the theory that the people behind this song knew this was coming and wrote the song specifically for this purpose.
  • I’m concerned for the doctors who performed Dick Cheney’s heart procedure. Staring into the black abyss that used to be where Cheney’s soul once existed could not have been good for them.