Quick Takes 5/30/07

  • quicktakes_clapper.jpgBankers are becoming an increasingly common presence at Cannes and other film festivals as movies look for the funds to get made and distributed.
  • But Woody Allen, in a sad statement of today’s Hollywood, is having a hard time finding a buyer for his latest film.
  • Ian Schafer wants to make sure we’re all paying attention to the fact that Facebook Video has launched.
  • Martina at Adverblog is loving the website for A Night at the Museum.
  • Energizer is just getting started with its tie-in promotions involving Shrek the Third.
  • Domino’s is giving away a month’s worth of free movie downloads through Vongo.com when people order a pizza online.
  • The trailer for I Am Legend, another adaptation of the source material that also spawned Charlton Heston’s The Omega Man, will reportedly be attached to Ocean’s 13.
  • Some interesting stats in this release on American’s attitudes about how fast they should be able to download movies.

Comic shop owners not thrilled with WB’s guerrilla marketing

batmanjokercards1.jpgComics2Film reports that at least one owner of a comic book shop is not thrilled with Warner Bros. and their marketing techniques. The studio, as I mentioned before, had been sending teams equipped with all-Joker decks of playing cards to comic shops and releasing the cards in the store as part of the campaign for The Dark Knight. The owner of that Chicago shop was non-too-pleased that the team was cluttering up his nice, clean store and even defacing the sidewalk in front of the store to the point where he called in the city’s graffiti-busting team.

Yeah, it’s a good idea to know who your target audience is but not a good idea to honk them off.

Hollywood and exhibitors loving 3D

3d-paper_glasses.jpgMajor Hollywood players and exhibitors are tapping into the power of 3-D to express themselves, reports The New York Times.

Theatrical features are being re-purposed for 3-D exhibition and new films are being shot in the format. While other studios have dabbled, Warner Bros. and Disney are the studios to most fully jump into the three-dimensional pool. As the article states, this is hardly anything new, with its roots back to the 1960′s and B-movies that sought a hook to make themselves attractive to teenaged audiences bored by more mainstream fare.

And there you have why this is becoming popular again. The home video experience is increasingly mirroring what people used to only be able to get in theaters. So studios are looking for new ways to lure people out of their homes. 3-D does that, especially when, as some movies have done, there is additional or different footage offered exclusively at 3-D presentations.

If studios and exhibitors can create 3-D cinema as a subsidiary business they can continue to offer a viable alternative to people looking at their various entertainment choices. It’s an experience that, at least for now, cannot be replicated in the home, much like widescreen presentation was created to differentiate movie going when TV was introduced 50 years ago.

Comics get brand heads

civwarfl001cov.jpgThis story in the New York Times on how comics titles are bringing on “executive producers” and “show runners” that mirror such creative gurus in movies and TV is telling of how the entertainment industry is adapting. Comics are becoming more cinematic in their story-telling and these figures, who make sure everything is consistent and makes sense internally, are extremely important.

They’re essentially guardians of the brand, be it a limited run title or a mini/maxi-series, these people safeguard the brand name to make sure it is not diluted by continuity errors or other mistakes. It’s important that comics have done this since current technology means movies and TV shows can do things previously only viable in a comic format. Now comics are looking more like shows like “Lost” or “24″ with long-form arcs meant to retain readers in the same way those shows try to retain viewers.

Special “Just because Mack’s cool” post

As you all know, I owe a large part of MMM’s success to Mack Collier. He and I started communicating when he was writing for Beyond Madison Avenue in the lead-up to the marketing campaign for The Chronicles of Narnia. Mack’s one of the brightest guys out there so I wanted to highlight two things he’s put up in the last day or so.

First is his invitation to anyone looking for a speaker on new marketing and walking with their community to drop him a line. Believe me, you all want Mack coming and speaking for you.

The second is his “blog check” on the corporate blogs run by Kodak. Please Mack – Make this a recurring feature! This is exactly the sort of ongoing analysis you’re great at and which the community needs more of.

[Disclosure: Mack's taking part in a program being run by my employer but that has nothing to do with this post. Just wanted to make sure that's out in the open.]

Movies ain’t what they used to be

movie-screen.jpgDavid Poland has a stark critique of the summer movie season to date, especially as it relates to the huge number of sequels we’ve been shown to date. Poland pegs them all as disappointments because they try to hard to be everything to everybody, a sure sign that it’s a film made with generous helpings of input from the marketing department. The problem, Poland says, is that this is just the sort of crap that audiences seem to be clamoring for.

The other problem, as I’ve stated before, is that the distribution system as it exists now is designed to play into this precisely. Studios need to create sequels, remakes and adaptations because they present less (perceived) risk for their corporate owners. So they back them up with huge marketing budgets and distribution deals that favor huge opening weekends and absolutely no long tail. That’s evidenced by the fact that 60 percent drop-offs in the second weekend of release is absolutely alright with everyone.

I wonder why exhibitors don’t protest against this system more since it’s them getting screwed the most. They get a bigger cut of the box-office each week of a movie’s release and so anything that opens big and then fades means less of a cut for them, meaning more reliance on their part on advertising deals and jacked-up concession prices, things that audiences are consistently railing against.

Am I the only one whose head hurts at the circular illogic of all this?