9 Current Movie and Television Trends I Hate



6. Mismarketed Movies

I know we often have issues with movie marketing revealing too much, but I’ve recently been annoyed by movie marketing focusing only on a selective aspect of a film or leaving key parts out of the equation.

  • Edge of Tomorrow: Warner Bros. chose to focus on the heavy-duty action in sci-fi mech suits instead of playing up the real charm of this film: the timeloop concept at its core. And who even knew the name of the movie? The posters, billboards and home video release featured “Live. Die. Repeat” in a much larger type than the real (and horrible) title.
  • Noah: It’s one thing to hide spoilers from the marketing, but it’s another thing to hide the tone and genre of the film from the trailers, TV spots and posters. Darren Aronofsky made an interesting fantasy film in adapting a bible story, but the fantasy elements and giant rock monsters were left out of the marketing because they apparently didn’t test well with religious audiences. So instead of turning off the faithful in hopes of getting the rest of us interested, they played up the religious adaptation. Whats more, when the faithful audiences paid to see the movie, they were turned off by the fantasy elements and giant rock monsters because that part of the story wasn’t what they expected. So by playing to one audience, they sold tickets but earned bad word of mouth buzz.
  • World War Z: Despite being an adaptation of a best-selling zombie novel and having a big Z in the title, Paramount was afraid to market World War Z as a zombie movie because your mom and dad don’t want to see Brad Pitt in a horror film. They instead sold the film as an action thriller, and their plan worked — the film made $540 million worldwide. So why am I criticizing it? Because I’m still not sure why they couldn’t admit it was a zombie movie. Remember, this film was being released in a time when The Walking Dead was one of the most popular television shows, with over 16 million viewers from week to week. (That’s not including binge watching seasons on Netflix after the fact). Again, they were right, I’m obviously wrong on this one — but I still was irked by how this film was mis-sold.
  • Labor Day: No matter what you think of Jason Reitman‘s adaptation of Labor Day, you have to agree that it was marketed as a Nicolas Sparks-looking romance film and the coming of age story at its core was hidden away in the closet. The filmmaker has even publicly suggested the marketing for the film “was a misguided effort”.


7. Character Posters

When I was a kid, going to the movie theater was the ultimate experience and the film was only half of it. I loved walking down the hallway, checking out all the new movie posters for films I’ve never heard of, all coming soon to a theater near me. And of course the trailers before the film. I still love trailers and posters, and have not become trailer-phobic because I usually have a short term memory. If I’m not watching a trailer over and over again, I won’t be spoiled in any way. I even love character posters, when they are done right… but with studios it’s all about excess, especially in the marketing department.

Not every movie needs character posters. Actually, most movies don’t need character posters. Kate Erbland wrote a good article about this subject last year. Here is an excerpt:

The reason that character posters exist appear to be twofold – one, they are simply part of a large-scale marketing package that includes other traditional pieces like teasers, trailer, teaser trailers, theatrical posters, teaser posters, banners, and the like (possibly also of the teaser variety) and two, they are meant to impart familiarity with an often very large cast of characters. If a film has enough people that are all essential to its narrative, sure, give them their own poster to drum up interest from the movie-going masses, but the last few sets of character posters that have been released for public consumption continue to feel randomly conceived, designed, and fired off. … One graphic designer we spoke to suggested that “the only reason why we have character posters is because agencies have grown large enough to have bodies to throw at projects.”

Can a character poster do a disservice of being a bad point of entry into film awareness? Is all marketing good marketing? I think what’s clear is that most character posters are poorly designed and feel slapped together with not much thought about how it will represent the film, and if it will interest potential moviegoers.

My list of current movie and television trends concludes after the jump.

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