With mass market success largely out of reach, the ability of Focus Features to tap into the appropriate niche audiences will be what decides the success or failure of Lust, Caution, the latest feature from director Ang Lee. That’s the theme of this story on the movie in AdAge.
As the story points out, the movie’s marketing and distribution are being hindered by the 2:38 running time, the NC-17 rating and the fact that all the dialogue in the movie is in Chinese. That last point, coupled with the movie’s success in Asian markets, is actually helping the box-office take here in the States. Chinese immigrants to the U.S. are showing a strong preference for films in their native language.
Part of Focus’ approach has included targeting Chinese-Americans based on where they live, not only hitting the major metropolitan areas where large such groups live but also in suburbs and elsewhere. The film’s distribution has followed a similar pattern, playing largely in areas with heavy Chinese-American concentrations.
That niche success, combined with some spillover into the larger art-house crowd, is what has Focus hoping buzz about the film will reach the same level in the U.S. it has overseas.