Entertainment behind the scenes
Movie studios are recognizing the increasing importance of word-of-mouth fan reaction in making successes or failures of their big budget movie releases. Check out the Reuters story on that topic here. Hollywood studios see an opportunity to reach potential movie goers through social networking websites like Twitter, and to market movies in ways other than the traditional trailer/television spot/billboard approach.
Universal Pictures, the company behind the movie “Bruno” that opened a week ago, actually sought to create buzz about the film by not marketing it, at least not right away. Universal delayed the release of its trailer and other advertising material for “Bruno” for a couple months, because it knew that the many fans of lead actor Sacha Baron Cohen would chatter about the movie online, said Adam Fogelson, president of marketing and distribution for the studio. With that delayed approach, the studio allowed fans to lead the talk about “Bruno” and give the subversive movie a cutting-edge feel, by not oversaturating them with advertisements and trailers.
Over at Walt Disney Studios, executives are also paying attention to the growth in importance of word-of-mouth fan reaction. Chuck Viane, president of distribution for the studio, said that to generate the right kind of word-of-mouth, filmmakers are making last-minute tweaks that will get fans reaching for their cell phones, but for the right reason.
“A lot of times, walking out of a theater, the last thing that you want to leave a customer with is a smile, and that’s why (filmmakers) find the appropriate outtakes,” Viane said.
Even the most inventive publicist surely could not have planned the apparently unscripted close encounter between the outrageous “Borat” star’s backside and the mug of the Detroit rapper once accused of homophobia in his lyrics. It had to be an accident. Or…??
Ali G and Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen has weighed into the Middle East conflict with a recent gag in which he confused “Hamas” and “hummus” and suggested a settlement of the problem through a “time share” on land between Arabs and Jews.
That’s right, the politically-incorrect prankster is back, this time in his latest incarnation as Bruno, a camp fashion presenter in a tight leather jacket and mohican hairstyle. And his latest victims? An Israeli analyst/former Mossad official and a Palestinian academic who thought they were being interviewed for a documentary aimed at explaining the conflict to young people.