|Cinematic Marketing Strategy - saturday 2008-01-19 1611||last modified 2008-01-19 1616|
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How do you get people into theaters in this age? First, there's those pesky pirates, video camming and making torrents for the interested and capable to acquire without profit. An international release, which may suffer a problematic delay with that same Internet distribution channel of content or negative reviews. Then there's the DVD release, generally coming months later and multiplying any word of mouth effect, positive or negative; a likely continuation of revenue, all things considered, but perhaps not. Most importantly, the fight for pre-release attention in an entertainment world no longer dominated by the Hollywood filmscape.
You make Cloverfield, an opportunistic piece of sales work that proves J. J. Abrams, et al, are commercially viable. Not because they can make a movie, but because they can market one. They're the sales team and the content producers; that just means they know how to make the two work together, not that either one (particularly the latter) needs to be any good. The only things they didn't skimp on in this production were the special effects and the pre-release hype machine, the story of the film industry that true film makers are constantly trying to reverse. I guess they probably paid themselves pretty well.
The film is marketed brilliantly. I caved to the temptation to see it, something I normally never do and need to remember more firmly I shouldn't ever do, especially on opening night. Simply, you go into it knowing just about nothing but wanting to know everything, and the same is true of your friends. Whether you bought into and devoured the hype or not, you knew about the same - nearly nothing. The first weekend will be a blowout. Subsequent weeks, maybe, but opening night was the sole financial goal. I believe they succeeded.
Is the film any good? No, but it doesn't matter. It made money. It's probable there's a sequel coming, which brings me to my distaste for Abrams. He's inventive in a way that is designed at its foundation to extract as much profit as possible by stringing along the consumers of his product. None of his television series ended properly, because he's not interested in telling a full story. He's interested in riding whatever it is into the ground. When it stops being a cash cow, it's done. It ends where it stands, a key mark of someone without vision or artistic integrity. It's still true in Cloverfield (plus you'll get motion sickness). I acknowledge his business acumen. I also refuse to see any of his work again. I want to be entertained, not fleeced.
It should come as no surprise he's now in charge of Star Trek. Like Star Trek? Too bad.