Probably not. But I must remember to see An Education when it comes out locally. Not that a coming of age story set in swinging 1960's London is really my cup of tea, unless, of course, the young girl in question is Carey Mulligan, probably better known to most of you as Sally Sparrow.
What can I say? I'm shallow. Life is long, and she is still hot. <grin>
|The problem with innovative movies produced by big studios is that the marketing and publicity types don't really know how to handle the movie. They don't know how to pitch it to either the audience or the distributers. And their nervousness and unsurety is picked up by the distributers, who then limit the run of the film (or don't even pick up the product at all). So, by the time that word leaks out to the general public (since the aforementioned advertising is usually missing or misleading), that this is a "must see" movie, it is usually too late to see it at the cinemas and the film is considered a commercial failure (only to later become a cult-classic when it is released on video or DVD).|
It happened to Buckaroo Banzai (Fox was so surprised at the popularity of the video they actually tried to interest the movie's video fanbase in a sequel or two), The Princess Bride (which never found theatrical success except amongst genre fans and those who had read the book but isnow frequently cited in best film of all time lists). And it definitely happened with Mirrormask and Donnie Darko which were never picked up for general exhibition and only showed at a few select sessions in a few select theatres (to almost no publicity). Certainly genre fans, or those familiar with the source material, will be eagerly waiting to see the film ever since they first heard that it was going to happen, but those really are too small a group to generate the opening weekend figures that studio executives require to consider the film to be a commercial success (cf Serenity and Gattaca and the failure of the "viral" marketing campaigns for both these movies). You need to attract the non-genre general audience. And you need to do it before the movie is actually released if it is going tomake a difference.
And it looks like the same thing is happening to Neil Gaiman's Stardust movie as well, which opened in America last week (and is due in Oz next month [=8(]). As everyone who was already familiar with Gaiman, the work, or who just love fantasy movies (the genre audience, in other words), has already seen it (in the case of a number of my friends, have seen multiple times already), the revenue stream from the movie is already starting to drop dramatically. And fingers are being pointed. And most of them are pointing at the incompetency of the studio marketing to properly support the film. Invidious comparisons are being made to the history of A Princess Bride. People are pointing the finger at the trailer, saying that it is misleading and doesn't convey the true mythic sensibility of the movie. Now I liked the trailer, but I had the advantage of having known and loved the book, so no doubt I filled in the blanks and just enjoyed the epic visuals. But I can also see their point. I've only seen the trailer for Stardust once in the cinema, where it never once seriously mentioned the name Gaiman (who has risen in popularity to non-genre audiences, in particular with regard to his children's book Coraline, making him an added attractor to the film), but I've seen the trailer for Philip Pullman's (and you can be sure his name is prominently positioned in the advertising) A Golden Compass four times already, and that film is not being released until Boxing Day! This shows how uncertain the distributers are that the film will make money => a short season in the cinema (since these things are booked well in advance of the film being shown) => it will have little opportunity to make the money.
So spread the word of mouth. People will want to see this movie, and see it at the cinema in order to properly immerse themselves in the epic visuals. And they'd better do it sooner than later, because I really doubt it will be around for long.
And there is little doubt that the same treatment will be given to Neil Gaiman's latest movie Death and the High Cost of Living which is entering pre-production at the moment (under Neil's direct control as director), making it almost three of his movies in a row doomed to be stamped "failure." The stop-motion Coraline, due in 2008, is the only thing that will hopefully not make it four in a row. Then again...