erik lundegaard

Two Face

Repeating last year’s performance looks like a long shot, given the rest of this summer’s lineup. This batch is light on sequels, gloomy in spots (as with “The Dark Knight”) and heavy on comedies...The mix may not perfectly match the mood of an audience looking for refuge from election campaigns and high-priced gas, said Peter Sealey, a former Columbia Pictures marketing executive...
— The New York Times, May 15, 2008

The success of “The Dark Knight” is an example of what can happen when an array of factors coincide...The brooding film, directed by Christopher Nolan, also fits the nation’s mood, Warner Brothers executives said.
— The New York Times, July 28, 2008

Different writers, to be sure, but it raises this question about movie audiences: Do people go to films to escape the national mood or reflect it? Or do they just go?

And just what are the “array of factors” Brooks Barnes gives in yesterday's article (via quotes with industry executives) for The Dark Knight's continued success? Let's see: 1) expertly executed promotion plan, 2) brooding film matched national mood, 3) sour economy forcing families toward cheaper entertainments like movies, and 4) the publicity following Christian Bale's questioning by the police last week.

Wow. Nothing on the stuff we talked about last week. No mention of the word “quality.” No mention of the phrase “word-of-mouth.” That's part of the problem with relying on quotes from industry executives. Those guys are in a bubble. They're in a town that talks about movies constantly so they can't tell the difference when people really start talking up a movie. In Seattle (or in Minneapolis, Omaha, Denver, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Portland, take your pick...), it's a little easier. One wonders if relying on industry executives for quotes about movies is a little like relying on Dick Cheney for quotes about WMDs.

Both articles also remind me of something I tell my writers in the magazines I edit: Just because someone gives you a quote, doesn't mean you gotta use it.


Posted at 07:14 AM on Tue. Jul 29, 2008 in category Movies, Superheroes, Movies - Box Office  
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COMMENTS

Ethan Stanislawski wrote:

Of course they wouldn't mention traditional methods. It wouldn't be as good of a story. It's interesting that you mention executives living inside a bubble. I think a lot of them treat word of mouth and movie quality as a given, and incidentally end up taking it for granted. Of course, these our the same people who thought Evan Almighty was a good idea, so maybe I'm giving them too much credit
Comment posted on Tue. Jul 29, 2008 at 07:26 AM

reed wrote:

Totally. Like maybe they just made a freaking good movie. Geez. That's why we get so many lousy big-studio films I guess.
Comment posted on Tue. Jul 29, 2008 at 08:36 PM

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