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...
— Michael Cieply, 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.
— Brooks Barnes, New York Times, July 28, 2008
Different writers, to be sure, but don't they ever talk to each other? Also, 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 what are the “array of factors” Barnes gives in yesterday's article (via quotes with industry executives) for The Dark Knight's continued success?
- an expertly executed promotion plan
- the brooding film matched national mood
- the sour economy forced families toward cheaper entertainments like movies
- the publicity following Christian Bale's questioning by the police 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 ...), 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 have to use it.