Saturday, June 21, 2008
"The Best Movie I Saw at 5:15 pm on June 13!"
How does a studio market a movie pulling a 19 percent favorability rating at RottenTomatoes and a score of 35 (out of 100) on Metacritic? Not very well, it turns out. Just a week after M Night Shyamalan’s The Happening bombed in its opening, the film is now being promoted in newspapers with this ad featuring a standard sampling of ‘rave’ pull-out quotes from critics. When flattering quotes are hard to come by, the promotional raves often wind up being from unfamiliar personalities at unfamiliar radio stations … and Larry King. This time though the quotes are from Roger Ebert, William Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Glenn Whipp of the Los Angeles Daily News.
Ebert’s inclusion is hardly a surprise. He likes about everything these days, and he reviewed The Happening with a growing-familiar caveat that he’ll probably be “in the minority in praising it” (translation: it sucks, but I enjoyed it anyway). Arnold I have no read on. And then there’s Whipp. His grand quote calls The Happening “genuinely enjoyable.” That’s it. That’s the quote that Fox hopes will put asses in the seats. Ouch.
Apparently this means Fox’s marketing team couldn’t convince John McCain to watch The Happening so they could coerce him into calling it “Better than my experience with the North Vietnamese!” Shyamalan’s wife must have been unavailable, too. But I’m most amazed that they didn’t find someone to call this “Shyamalan’s best film since Lady In The Water.” Because it is. It so is!
(Click to enlarge rejected ad at the top of this post.)