Sunday, July 19, 2009

What makes a hit movie?

I heard a head of a large movie marketing company speak about how a movie becomes a hit. When the audience is familiar with the actors, or the story line continuing from a past release which was successful, there is a good chance that the audience will want to repeat the experience. In the case of Bruno, they had that link and then had a massive advertising campaign to pump it even more. Critics were reviewing the movie as well. The first night it opened they had healthy ticket sales. Now here is the interesting part, once the initial audience was leaving out came the cell phones, and twitters, and text messaging and they called all their friends and family and reported that the movie was mediocre. The next night sales dropped by 40%. What this clearly shows is the power to influence another that overrides the advertising, critics or any type of hype. The speed that this electronic communication moved was astonishing. This phenomenon is unprecedented. This is truly power to the people.

Allen B.


JohnInNJ said...

For a long time I've thought of movies as THE NUMERO UNO pass time. And I think that's what makes a great movie...if you can sit through 3 hours of dialogue and sound effects and somehow it doesn't feel like three hours or you want to see it again, that is a great movie. That's why people like James Bond movies - time passes quickly when you see them. Acting is ususally not hot, the story line is preposterous, but we suspend our disbelief and enjoy. This is from a very non-movie oriented person.

Funny, but I enjoy reading critics' reviews much more than watching a movie. Most critics I see on the tube don't seem to have fairly low standards and don't have a clue as to whether or not a movie is worth it. Case in point was "Batman: The Dark Knight" - clearly inferior to the initial "Batman: The Beginning". The initial Batman movie received middling to good reviews while I thought it was one of the all time best adventure movies. A few years later and the stars of the next Batman movie are now established and one has even passed away - RAVE REVIEWS!!! But it really was a so-so movie that had very little for the protagonist to do. If the Joker were not played by Heath Ledger I wonder if it would have gotten good reviews???

Now I have to get back to my DVD and watch "The Freshman" with Matthew Broderick and Marlon Brando who plays, now get this, a Mafia don. How preposterous! Who would believe that Brando could be a Mafia don! (Huh....oh) Nevermind. Still a VERY funny movie that got so-so reviews.


Allen Bloomfield said...

Hello Johnny Boy,
I agree with you regarding a movie that seems to be over in seconds. To be so engrossed is a measure of the seduction of film.
I find most critics to be self-absorbed and comment through the personality they project. A few critics are really insightful and open a larger perspective, yet I am uneasy about looking at film through another's man's glasses.
Those who are on the business side of film are well aware of the trends and popularity of a certain type of film. The top grossing film subject matter falls into four areas. Animation, action, Epic, and star driven. If these are the qualities the public desires, then those are the movies that have the highest chance of being financial successes. That must be the reason for so many remakes which were box office hits in the past and should do so again. The risk of offering a fresh movies versus a proven success is most often rejected for the sure thing. Movie production is a business and must satisfy that set of requirements first. It seems that a director who has a great track record has a
chance to make a film outside the norm and then films like "My Big Greek Wedding" "Little Miss Sunshine' or "Slum Dog Million" are put out.
My point was if the film going public can influence sales by telling their family and friends how they judged a particular film, a chance exists for a Independent film maker to get into the race and not be compelled to do only that which was found successful in the past. Word of mouth, personal endorsement is far more powerful than advertising, or any promotional effort. Only apathy can silence the public's influence.