Quick Takes 7/13/07

  • filmstrip1.jpgChicagoist says that The Music Box theater, a Chicago landmark and a great place to see a movie, is getting into the distribution business. The owner of the theater has set up a division to acquire independent films, a move that is a natural fit for a house that has a reputation for showing such fare.
  • Steven Hall has a wonderfully articulate diatribe on the encroaching evil that is pre-movie ads. The addition of live stage shows that are more advertising than entertainment has spurred this particular post.
  • SHH has the details that were included on a previously leaked but hard to read list of promotions that will accompany The Dark Knight’s release next year.
  • The question of torture porn marketing on the same day Captivity is released is the subject of a long essay in The Globe & Mail. It hits on the most important part, though, which is that even if the campaign was so controversial it did get people talking. Reuters has a similar story about how ultra violent films are fading in popularity.
  • Paramount Vantage has promoted both Megan Colligan and Guy Endore-Kaiser to serve as co-heads of marketing.
  • Vulture pokes a whole mess of wholes in the sites that have popped up that revolve around Watchmen, pointing out the many, many reasons that they’re obviously fan sites and not official efforts.

Department of Probably Purely Coincidental News Stories

I’m sure there’s absolutely new trend that can be determined, no matter how hard you might look, by the appearance of these stories, which only represent what I saw in one day. Move along. Nothing to see here…

Cuban should absolutely buy the Cubs

Cuban in the mix for Cubs, but does MLB want him? | Chicago Tribune

I actually think the fact that it would honk of both Bud Selig AND Jerry Reinsdorf is the strongest argument you could possibly make for why Mark Cuban should be allowed to buy the Cubs from the Tribune. If Selig is as strongly against the idea as Morrisey makes it sound it must be something that’s good for baseball.

And shouldn’t MLB’s primary considerations be making money for the league, for the rest of the owners, increasing attendance and encouraging the fielding of competitive teams? Decisions like this shouldn’t be made based on whether Cuban or anyone else is going to fit in in the old boys network of owners.

Movie Marketing Madness: Interview

interview_posterbigIt’s not often that someone who’s so instantly recognizable is also most known for being a veritable chameleon of an actor. That, though, is exactly the case with Steve Buscemi. The guy does a great job of fully inhabiting the characters he takes on, from the hired killer of Fargo to the reluctant astronaut of Armaggdeon. He has a knack for playing guys down on their luck or otherwise bucking a system that they feel has given them far too many breaks.

That territory is tread once again in his new movie Interview, which pairs him with the beautiful Sienna Miller. In the movie Buscemi plays a journalist who has destroyed his own career of covering wars, politicians and other important people. Now he finds himself reduced to doing fluff pieces on the starlet of the moment, played by Miller. But the interview doesn’t turn out like either thought it would as they open up to each other and find themselves connecting and confiding in a way they didn’t expect to.

The movie is actually the first in a planned trilogy of remakes of the films of Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker killed in 2004 over his depiction of Islam in a TV series.

The Poster

The poster manages to do a very good job of presenting a quick glimpse of what the movie is about. The use of a photo collage of sorts of the two stars set it up nicely as a character drama between those two. The overall graphic design also goes a long way toward giving the impression of intimate moments being captured and a general “journalist” mood being created.
The video camera serves as the main thing that will connect those two people and it’s inclusion hints as the important role it will play in the story. The tagline below it is a little on-the-nose and about as unsubtle as they come but that’s not too big a problem since it’s barely noticeable.

The Trailer

The trailer for the movie is probably one of the best I’ve seen in a while. It starts out exactly as the movie starts, with the reluctant interviewer and his subject meeting and not exactly getting off on the right foot. It then follows them and shows the viewer how the two come to spend the rest of the evening together and how that rest of the night plays out. What is most exciting is that the trailer shows the movie off as a sort of actor’s studio, where it’s just Buscemi and Miller facing off with each other in a confined space.


The official website for the movie is quite nice. First off, I love the picture that serves as the main page’s background and the way it’s broken up almost like you’re peering in on the scene through a window or something. Very nice. As with a bunch of sites that are smaller like this – as well as some big ones – the trailer plays as soon as you load it but that’s fine since it’s worth as many looks as you’re willing to give it.

Working from the top down of the site’s menu, the first feature is the “Synopsis.” It’s pretty standard but gets points from me for not spending one paragraph on the movie’s story and then three on the history of the production company (I’m looking at you, Transformers). It’s actually about the movie. What a concept.

“Cast” and “Director” both are nicely written, if a bit sparse. Buscemi does double duty here since he’s both one of the movie’s only two cast members and the film’s director as well. Each one of his write-ups approaches him from the appropriate angle, of course.

interviewcast.JPG “Gallery” contains 16 stills from the movie in kind of a cool way. I don’t know, there’s nothing tremendously innovative about it but I like the grid and the way it comes together and breaks apart. “Trailer” is just that, a page devoted to the trailer.

“Reviews” seems like it’s going to contain reviews of the movie, a common thing to include on the websites for smaller films that rely on critical acclaim to generate excitement and start the word-of-mouth train. Unfortunately it’s still labeled as “coming soon” and there’s nothing there. A missed opportunity.

You’re redirected to AOL’s movie tickets site when you click on “Showtimes.” Next up is “Links,” which is pretty cool. It contains links to IMDB, Wikipedia and other sites, either from fashion mags, film buffs or just fans for Buscemi, Miller and Van Gogh, the three people mainly behind the film. I love it when movie sites link out like this so this gets major props by me.

Finally there’s “Triple Theo.” This goes into the project being undertaken by a group of filmmakers to, as mentioned above, remake three of the films of Theo Van Gogh. Remaking English language versions of his Dutch language originals was apparently something he himself was planning on before his 2004 murder and the people behind this effort are doing so to honor that goal, using his own bare-bones filmmaking style. This is a wonderful bit of background on the motivation behind the movie, something that is too often just “too make money.”


For a small movie that’s getting little mainstream buzz this is a wonderful campaign. The most important thing is that the entire push has a constant tone and is respectful to the movie it’s designed to promote. The same tone is carried over from the poster to the trailer to the website, something that makes the campaign a great example of unified marketing vision.