Ahead of the Game


The movie marketeers are at it again, trying to stay one step ahead of the geeks, kids and fans.

Remember years ago (in 1999) when movie marketing was a world away from what it is now, a world away from what it had been a few years before that?

No kids texting their friends halfway through the film saying ‘dis is krap — wait 4 dvd’ and sending the big studios’ takings through the floor after the opening night? No security guards frisking members of the media at metal detectors to make sure they aren’t carrying cameras hidden in mobile phones, PDAs or CIA-issue belt buckles. No worldwide release down to the very minute, Matrix Revolutions-style.

There was a funny story doing the rounds for the first time back then; the most extreme fanboys were spending all day in the cinema, paying admission to everything from Big Daddy to Deep Blue Sea, waiting for the Star Wars; Episode I trailer, then leaving for the next session where the trailer would be playing.

Of course, it’s pretty routine now, and a blockbuster release wouldn’t be complete without armies of the most diehard fans trawling sessions of the most diverse and at times ridiculous movies to catch a glimpse of the new trailer for a Lord of the Rings or an X Men for months before the release.

But those movie distributors are nothing if not an attentive lot; no matter what catches on, you can be sure they’ll rewrite their own rule book to the give the public what they want (except for downloading movies off the internet).

In the metropolitan daily papers a few Saturdays ago was a seemingly innocuous ad for the latest Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore romantic comedy 50 First Dates. It’s not a bad movie, it’s not a particularly great one either, but distributors Columbia Tristar thought they’d pip the fanboys at the post to get their bums on seats.

A happily smiling Adam Sandler has a huge voice balloon coming out of his mouth, and the entire top quarter of the ad space is filled with what it says;

‘HURRY! Be the FIRST IN THE WORLD to see the new preview of SPIDER-MAN 2 TODAY with every session of 50 FIRST DATES.’