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Miramax: Unfair Telling Friends Movie Stinks

I’m very inter­est­ed in, and more than a lit­tle amused by, Hollywood’s sud­den dis­il­lus­sion­ment. Read the arti­cle (I’ve quot­ed the entire thing in Continued) and you’ll see the whin­ing of Hollywood stu­dio execs. Waah! Our big-budget mar­ket­ing cam­paigns aren’t dup­ing peo­ple into spend­ing mon­ey on bad films. I kid you not, that is what the arti­cle says.

Film com­pa­nies have been pro­duc­ing schlock for years and pack­ag­ing it up in beau­ti­ful, wallet-opening mar­ket­ing cam­paigns. They’ve sold the pub­lic on the cam­paign, not the movie, which often has very lit­tle to do with the mes­sages com­mu­ni­cat­ed in the tele­vi­sion spots, print ads, fast food chain and soda tie-ins, and toy, video game, and car­toon shows. When we go to the cin­e­ma, we plunk down 8 bucks for the com­mer­cials we’ve already seen, not for the film itself (despite our inten­tions).

Now Hollywood is whin­ing and cry­ing foul because tech­nol­o­gy is allow­ing us to tell our friends what the film is like before those friends pony up their 8 bucks.

I find it aston­ish­ing that Hollywood is cry­ing foul. So, we’re not allowed to dis­agree with their slick mar­ket­ing cam­paigns?

They’ll soon start defend­ing deci­sions to dump scripts and stop pro­duc­tions because they don’t feel “the pub­lic will give it a fair chance.” Mark my words. Hollywood won’t con­sid­er that the movies have no artis­tic mer­it and the stu­dios should improve their qual­i­ty. Nope.

They refuse to rec­og­nize the obvi­ous­ness of what they’ve stat­ed through spokesper­son Rick Sands, COO of Miramax: “You could…overcome bad word of mouth, because it took time to fil­ter out into the gen­er­al audi­ence.”

In oth­er words, you could make mon­ey on a lousy film because you’d have gen­er­at­ed suf­fi­cient rev­enue before enough peo­ple heard that the movie stunk. Is that right, Rick?

Click “con­tin­ued” for the whole sto­ry.

The Independent: Texting blamed for sum­mer movie flops

Texting blamed for sum­mer movie flops
By Andrew Gumbel

18 August 2003

In Hollywood, 2003 is rapid­ly becom­ing known as the year of the failed block­buster, and the indus­try now thinks it knows why.

No, the exec­u­tives are not blam­ing such bombs as The Hulk, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle or Gigli on poor qual­i­ty, lack of orig­i­nal­i­ty, or gen­er­al fail­ure to enter­tain. There’s absolute­ly noth­ing new about that.

The prob­lem, they say, is teenagers who instant mes­sage their friends with their ver­dict on new films - some­times while they are still in the cin­e­ma watch­ing - and so scup­per­ing care­ful­ly craft­ed mar­ket­ing cam­paigns designed to lure audi­ences out to a big movie on its open­ing week­end.

In the old days, there used to be a term, ‘buy­ing your gross,’ ” Rick Sands, chief oper­at­ing offi­cer at Miramax, told the Los Angeles Times. “You could buy your gross for the week­end and over­come bad word of mouth, because it took time to fil­ter out into the gen­er­al audi­ence.”

But those days are over, because the tech­nol­o­gy of hand-held text-message devices has dras­ti­cal­ly cut down the time it takes for movie-goers to tell their friends that a heav­i­ly pro­mot­ed sum­mer action movie is a waste of time and mon­ey.

Five years ago, when sum­mer movies were arguably just as bad as they are now, the aver­age audi­ence drop-off between%

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6 Responses

  1. Thia says:

    I go to the movie rental place, look around at how many movies are on the shelves and won­der how I can find noth­ing good to watch. Hollywood isn’t pro­duc­ing qual­i­ty films any­more. Considering how much goes into pro­duc­tion, you would think it wouldn’t be a prob­lem! Hollywood slowed down pro­duc­tion on qual­i­ty work, but still made enough mon­ey off teen flicks, now that isn’t work­ing either. Maybe the movie indus­try will be forced to get a lit­tle style!

  2. Jaime says:

    Y’know, when I read stuff like this I am remind­ed of what hap­pened to my favorite TV show: Farscape. There was a show that was cre­ative, unpre­dictable, could make you laugh and cry, and was con­stant­ly push­ing the enve­lope of what was allowed on TV. People loved it, the crit­ics loved it and it even won three con­sec­u­tive sat­urn awards. But it was can­celled last year because the sci­fi chan­nel claimed it cost too much mon­ey.

    That’s all hol­ly­wood real­ly cares about. It’s not about art or cre­ativ­i­ty or push­ing lim­its, it’s about how many dol­lars they can suck­er out of us. It’s not work­ing for them any­more? Well, boohoo. That just total­ly upsets me to no end. As my grand­moth­er used to say “you make your bed, you lay in it.”

    Great entry, btw.

  3. Jaime says:

    That real­ly makes no sense what­so­ev­er (but then again, that’s SciFi for ya.) Who cares if 65% per­cent of the view­ers are women if it’s mak­ing mon­ey and everybody’s hap­py? Also, why spend the time, mon­ey and effort to bring Daniel Jackson back on Stargate, when most of the peo­ple behind the whole “Save Daniel Jackson” cam­paign were women? They con­tra­dict­ed them­selves by doing that (not that I am com­plain­ing, but any­way..)

    To me, it would seem like a bad busi­ness move to alien­ate a great deal of your audi­ence just because they’re women. Also, wouldn’t that be con­sid­ered to be a lit­tle dis­crim­i­na­to­ry? Then again, SciFi isn’t the bright­est cray­on in the box.

    The only time I turn on the chan­nel is to watch Stargate, Farscape reruns and Now & Again reruns. Nothing they have on there is worth the time of day any­more, espe­cial­ly Farscape’s time-slot replace­ment: Tremors, the series. But, at least now I know why. I’m a woman and I’m not sup­posed to like sci­ence fic­tion. :(

  4. She’s Jenny - Jenny from the Flop!

    Looking for some­thing to view?

    Some of my favorites are:

    The Wicker Man

    The Stunt Man

  5. Thanks for the com­ments, Thia and Jaime.

    I was a huge Farscape fan myself. According to an arti­cle I read, Farscape made mon­ey, just not the right gender’s mon­ey. The SciFi Channel, accord­ing to the arti­cle, believes that the sci­fi genre is for men, thus the SciFi Channel is for men. They pulled the plug on Farscape when they real­ized that women made up bet­ter than 65% of Farscape’s audi­ence.

    Then they renewed Stargate: SG1 and invest­ed far more than Farscape cost them to pur­chase and devel­op new male-oriented pro­gram­ming (wit­ness Fear Factor). Watch for more two-dimensional char­ac­ter, drama-lacking shoot ‘em ups from the SciFi Channel this fall.

  6. Now & Again was a real­ly good series that got canned. Eric Close seems to have the kiss of death on him--every series in which he’s act­ed failed to sur­vive past its first sea­son. I won­der if Missing Persons will come back this fall.

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