Monday, March 12, 2007

If you build it, they will come... Sometimes


"This is SPARTA!"

Well no. This is Singer's Superman Sucks. That image up there is Sparta, or more specifically, "300," the latest film from Warner Bros. that proved marketing works - as long as you listen to what your audience wants.

Grossing 70.9 million dollars, this tasty little masterpiece just became the highest grossing film ever to open in the month of March and is third behind The Matrix Reloaded and The Passion of the Christ for R-rated films. 300's opening included an estimated $3.4 million from 62 IMAX screens, surpassing Singerman as the biggest IMAX debut ever.

As Brandon Gray from Box Office Mojo pointed out...
Warner Bros. waged a striking marketing campaign for 300, based on the picture's hyper-stylized, digitally-enhanced look, the mythology of Ancient Greece and the high stakes premise of 300 Spartans fighting a vast army in the Battle of Thermopylae, replete with passing references to freedom to recall past audience favorites like Braveheart and Gladiator.
Steve Daly of Entertainment Weekly broke it down...

A tight 60-day live-action shoot began in fall 2005, and Warner got busy positioning 300 to the obvious fanboy-heavy, Sin City-loving audience. The studio organized a Q&A panel with director Zack Snyder and writer Frank Miller last July at San Diego's Comic-Con International, where they showed preview footage so gory and spiked with nudity it couldn't be posted on the Internet, thanks to MPAA rules about trailer content.

According to Snyder, Warner had given up on trying to appeal to a female audience. Then a pair of test screenings changed all that. "We got, like, a 100 percent recommend from women under 25," says the director. "They don't even get that kind of score on a romantic comedy." Why did women respond? In Miller's original graphic novel, Leonidas' wife, Queen Gorgo, appears only in passing. In the movie, Queen Gorgo (Brit Lena Headey) is a front-and-center partner to Leonidas, calming his nerves in bed (while both are very, very naked) and getting her own new subplot about political corruption as Leonidas marches off to war.

"At first I very much disagreed with it," Miller says. "My main comment was 'This is a boys' movie. Let it be that."' But the Snyders felt strongly that Leonidas needed something specific to fight for, and that female ticket buyers needed someone to identify with. The preview scores vindicated them. "Those numbers came back, and Warner said, Wow, we need to rethink this a bit," says Snyder. Instead of spending big on one 30-second Super Bowl TV spot, Warner sprinkled previews into more female-friendly TV shows, including Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, Lost, and American Idol.


If you missed it, the key was test screening and audience Q&A, something that is routinely done for big budget motion pictures but was reportedly undervalued by Singer during the production of Singerman. Warner Bros. pulled out all the stops but they seemingly ignored the one thing that would drive the film to boffo business: word of mouth.

It was by far, the most anticipated film opening in June. "More than any other studio, Warner Bros. has embraced the summer tentpole strategy. Spending huge sums to produce and market big titles, the studio regularly produces $200 million gambles that would make Vegas high-rollers blush." (Link) "On top of the $50 million or so it spent on its own marketing, Warner lined up promotions with Duracell, Samsung, Pepsi's Tropicana, Quaker, Aquafina, and Frito-Lay brands as well a Got Milk? campaign. Giant "S's" were projected on Chicago's Sears Tower, Niagara Falls, and other recognizable sites in about 10 major US cities. Sky divers made an "S" in parachuting formations in Boston, Dallas, and several other cities on June 27. (Link) "By the time 'Superman Returns' [opened], the 'S' logo was used to sell everything from soft drinks to motor oil. And toy manufacturers hoped that products like the Superman InflatoSuit would help to revive a sluggish licensing industry." (Link) Routh was seen on the covers of countless magazines, often more than once, and he, Bostworth and Singer made various appearances at press junkets worldwide. Warners also dumped a boatload of cash into Singer's blogs and ComicCon marketing. As Warners VP of targeted marketing, Viviana Pendrill once said, "you'd have to be living under a rock not to know about big releases like 'Superman,' 'Batman' and 'Harry Potter.'"

In terms of release, they covered all the bases. Print distribution was at blanket saturation levels. "Warner shipped out a whopping 8,500 prints of the film in North America, insuring there wouldn't be a cineplex in America that wasn't likely to have the big fella flying in." (Link) The studio "decided to wait until the World Cup ended July 9 to go outside Asia and Australia, launching in mid-July in Brazil, France, Mexico and the U.K.; it will wait until mid-August to open in Germany and Japan." (Link) Release date was carefully chosen; it was "perhaps the best date any studio has had in years: the Wednesday before a Tuesday holiday -- essentially giving "Superman Returns" a seven-day weekend." 'We're in good shape, and we have the primo date of the summer with a very long weekend ahead of us,' declared Warner Bros. distribution prexy Dan Fellman. 'Now it's up to the movie gods.'" (Link)

They should have started with the script writing gods, because an entertaining film will market itself.
"'Superman isn't caught up in the same angst that other characters like Spider-Man or Batman are,' says Gaetano Mastropasqua, Warners' corporate senior VP of global promotions and partner relations. 'Superman stands for truth, justice and a positive way of life.'"
Obviously, the suits in marketing had a handle on the big picture.

"In marketing Singer's version, Warner Bros. has paid particular attention to the comicbook's fan base, some of whom were wary of previous incarnations and expressed their opinions so on high-trafficked Internet sites. Last summer, in the midst of shooting, the studio flew Singer via private jet from the film's Australian location to San Diego, where he screened footage at the annual Comic-Con comic book convention. The response was enthusiastic.

'You are never going to satisfy everybody,' says producer Michael Uslan ("Batman," "Batman Begins"), who has started a new company called Comic Book Movies with financier M. Jonathan Roberts. 'But if you can't satisfy the main part of the fan base, you are going to have problems. These are people who are not only schooled in the characters, the mythology and the history but also in the creators over the years. They know what they like.'"
So what happened with Singerman? Was it the film itself? Why yes. Yes! We think it was.

Word of mouth is arguably, the single most important aspect of any film's success, and good WOM is directly related to how well a film reaches people. Look at the 2002 film year, for example. Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, a Los Angeles-based company that monitors box-office results, said...

"Without question, the two movies that exemplified the year (2002) were 'Spider-Man' and 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding.' They couldn't be more different in terms of budgeting, marketing, everything. But they were both mega-blockbusters. It just says that moviegoers are open to anything. As long as it's a good movie of course."

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why do you keep posting stuff SSS that is slamming SR BO? It is getting a sequel so obviously WB feels it made enough money. 300 is a good film. I saw it and liked it very much. I liked SR just as much, i fail to see what one has to do with the other when SR was sucessful enough that it is getting a sequel.

Anonymous said...

Oh excuse this is ClarkKent-IS-Superman or SSS in disguise.

swright said...

So are we going to mention the ridiculously gay undertones of this film? Even the director has admitted that it's got homoerotic undertones.

Wonder if all the gay bashers on here will attack it like they attack SR?

I'm guessing not.

Anonymous said...

Yes i love all the shit i see on here. SR is a bad film because Singer is gay. Plus the fanboy's here that like to pretend that Routh is GAY.

Anonymous said...

I think SSS is putting entirely too much stock into "what the fans want". If the average blog's comments are any indication, there's no unanimty on THAT subject. I think SR (as untrue to character as it can at times be) would've been a lot more successful if it'd had three or four more action scenes (preferably in the otherwise slow second act). Those things and fewer Donner references (which the average filmgoer has little or no familiarity with) probably would've helped the box office.

It's pretty much that simple.

- t

Anonymous said...

SR BO has alot to do with it's competition. X3 cost 200 plus mil to make as well. It made 234 mil domestic because it was nowhere near Pirates and Davinci Code was a dissapointment.

Anonymous said...

Well Routh sure seemed gay in Sydney. Oh those boys painted Sydney red come Mardi Gra time!

I'd expect a tale of Greek mythology to contain homoerotic material. I wouldn't expect it in Superman. That's the difference ladyboys!

Anonymous said...

"Well Routh sure seemed gay in Sydney. Oh those boys painted Sydney red come Mardi Gra time!"

I have no clue what the hell you are talking about. Reality check Routh is engaged to be married to his longtime girlfriend.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Speaking of Superman, there's a very well-put-together fanmade trailer making the rounds on Youtube that perfectly shows how a Superman film SHOULD HAVE BEEN!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NIFvrV4VP4

S.S.S. said...

Oh excuse this is ClarkKent-IS-Superman or SSS in disguise.

I can assure you that CK-I-S is his own person. The difference in our writing styles should be fairly apparent. There are actually a few people who help out with the blog with reading emails, finding news, doing Photoshop, etc.

Anonymous said...

Watching the men and women in "300" was extremely refreshing after having to watch pussies and dull bitches in ALL of the recent Hollywood movies over and over again. I just have to laugh hard every time I see Routh in that wimpy version of a SuperMAN movie. The studios should look at the success of "300" and ask themselves: "Are strong men and women in a great story displayed on screen what the people nowadays want?" Answer: "No. It's what people ALWAYS want(ed)! The whole 'wimpy men' crap is annoying and should stop right now! We had enough crybabies as heroes - WE WANT M-E-N! (And strong women with heart and passion, too!!!)

swright said...

Brandon Routh talks about the sequel...A few new tidbits are givin....He doesn't think they are going to do ZOD, and pre-production is about to begin. He also has 2 films to make before he gets to the sequel..

link is here..

http://www.empireonline.com/news/story.asp?NID=20493

Anonymous said...

I liked 300 but to be fair it was not all that hard to pull off. It is a story about an epic battle with some great visuals. The toughest part of making the film was the battle choreography. Singer had a tough task in SR. there were so many scripts that WB chucked over the years mainly because they were against redoing the origin of Superman. I don't think he totally messed up SR, it was ok he needs to step it up a notch in the sequel.

Anonymous said...

"Brandon Routh talks about the sequel...A few new tidbits are givin....He doesn't think they are going to do ZOD, and pre-production is about to begin. He also has 2 films to make before he gets to the sequel..

link is here..

http://www.empireonline.com/news/story.asp?NID=20493"

Pretty good interview there. Just more proof that it looks like Singer is going nowhere and the sequel will be here for 2009.

Anonymous said...

^ Wow I wonder where they found Routh for that interview? I was beginning to think he went into hiding. Talk about falling off the radar...Not sure what that is supposed to be "proof" of exactly? Routh said virtually nothing new in the interview. "Yeah, yeah, more action and a super villain" We've heard that before. The truth is, he doesnt seem to have a friggen clue and he'll do whatever Singer tells him to do. They havent even named writers for the script yet (though I'm sure it will be tweedle dee and tweedle dum i.e. Harris and Dougherty) and there's not even a draft of a script. They better hurry it up if they want to start pre-production anytime soon. I can only imagien the xany things in store for us this time.

Anonymous said...

"The truth is, he doesnt seem to have a friggen clue and he'll do whatever Singer tells him to do."

Reeve had no clue either he did whatever Donner, Lester and the Salkinds told him to do. Both Brandon and Chris were in the same spot, young actors with not a lot of experience. I think Chris did Superman 3 just for the money. He had to know that script was going to make a bad movie. I mean it was a Richard Pryor comedy for shit's sake.

swright said...

I honestly believe that BR has been taking a lot of acting classes. But it looks like he has some things in the pipeline that I hope work out for him.

I didn't post that interview to make any kind of a statement. Just to let people know that he was alive and was still under the impression that they were doing the sequel.

Anonymous said...

Poor Brandon Routh, his career is over before it even began. Have to feel sorry for Warner's as well, the went with a guy who was a failed, and by that I mean, A FAILED SOAP OPERA ACTOR, for a big budget film and it failed horribly.

As for the writers, well, they stole their best scenes from the Abrams script to begin with.

The Routh interview is perplexing, is he even talking to anyone involved with to so called sequel. He has done two, just 2 voice overs since the film premiered, for the KidsWB, no less.

He seems to be desperately hanging on to his 15 minutes of fame. Of all the talent that could have been cast, and we got him.

Thanks to this site for at least letting us know that Warner's didn't f up the promo for Singerman, since they did so well with the "300" and othe films, it was Singerman itself that failed at the BO.

Keep up the good work, and we should hopefully get a reboot, with some talent, the next time

voice_of_reason said...

Reeve had no clue either he did whatever Donner, Lester and the Salkinds told him to do. Both Brandon and Chris were in the same spot, young actors with not a lot of experience.

LOL not quite. Reeve was a classically trained theater actor and a graduate of Juliard. Routh did MTV "Undressed" and got kicked off a soap opera. Their prior experiences to playing Superman are nothing alike. Whereas Reeve had talent, charisma and a stage presence, all you can say about Routh is that "he's a nice guy."

Anonymous said...

"LOL not quite. Reeve was a classically trained theater actor and a graduate of Juliard. Routh did MTV "Undressed" and got kicked off a soap opera. Their prior experiences to playing Superman are nothing alike. Whereas Reeve had talent, charisma and a stage presence, all you can say about Routh is that "he's a nice guy."

Reeve was a great actor and i loved him but he did not have a lot of film experience going into Superman. That was a major issue with his casting, people thought he was too young, not experienced enough the whole deal. Reeve achieved great fame from Superman but he did not capitalize on it. His first film after Superman was Somewhere in Time and it bombed big at the BO. Superman 1 and 2 were really the only BO hits he ever had. People here are killing Brandon but he said he has 2 films coming up before the sequel. Plus he got very good reviews for his performance in SR. The movie itself was quite flawed but the consensus is he did a good job.

swright said...

http://www.superherohype.com/news/topnews.php?id=5334

SR sequel getting pushed back so Singer can do another film....

Anonymous said...

"http://www.superherohype.com/news/topnews.php?id=5334

SR sequel getting pushed back so Singer can do another film...."

I doubt it this is a small film compared to SR and the X-Men films. It is not going to take nearly as long to shoot. Singer has said all along he wanted to do another film before the SR sequel. I read the whole article in Variety there are no quotes from Singer saying anything is being delayed with the sequel. Variety is simply speculating to that effect.

Anonymous said...

Here ya go check this link out they are disputing the Variety article.

http://www.supermanhomepage.com/news.php?readmore=3269

Anonymous said...

"LOL not quite. Reeve was a classically trained theater actor and a graduate of Juliard. Routh did MTV "Undressed" and got kicked off a soap opera. Their prior experiences to playing Superman are nothing alike. Whereas Reeve had talent, charisma and a stage presence, all you can say about Routh is that "he's a nice guy."

Very truge though I wonder why waste time tring to educate an aplogist. They don't care. They'll say anything, spread any lie, try to stick routh in the same league as the GREAT christopher reeve, just for their worthless agenda.

Long live the comics.

Anonymous said...

fucking spelling... I'll dubble chek nxt tyme.

OH and about that worthless agenda? You know, just defend singerman for the sake of defending singerman? It's true what someone said about how these fake fans are showing their true colors when they resort to insults and lies to defend something. Take my word on that.

Anonymous said...

300 did well because the trailers were amazing, they just blow everyone away, people were watching the trailers repeatedly as if they were movies. It looked different. it looked like a good movie, and if something looks like a good movie, then people will go. Not to mention the massive positive reviews in previews.

Anonymous said...

hmmm so maybe WB's marketing department arent the schleps that Singer made them out to be.

swright said...

hmmm so maybe WB's marketing department arent the schleps that Singer made them out to be.


Or maybe they learned a thing or two.


It's true what someone said about how these fake fans are showing their true colors when they resort to insults and lies to defend something.


So what does that make apologist puncher who thrives on insults?

Anonymous said...

really maybe he is gone?!?!?

Super in 2009!

Restart scared AP away!

ApologistPuncher said...

"really maybe he is gone?!?!?

Super in 2009!

Restart scared AP away!"

If your mom's cavernous asshole didn't, her "ladyboy" son DEFINITELY won't.

Isn't it funny, that before this bitch was complaining I post "too much", then when I DON'T post, "he" whines that I don't post enough?? I do believe I have a stalker here...

And to answer the moron 2 posts above, I insult you little bitches because you just come here to cause "trouble", then run back to Bluebites and proclaim some sort of "victory". So I put you "Apologist" retards in your place. Don't like it? Don't come back. It really is THAT simple.