Well this coming weekend my brothers and I will be doing another movie day. A movie day is when we go and see three new movies in the theaters in a row. It takes careful planning and a resilient backside to get through one of these successfully. This upcoming movie day has all of us excited with high expectations for all three movies and a well balanced mix of themes. We are aiming to see Public Enemies (crime drama), Bruno (comedy), and the highly anticipated new Harry Potter (fantasy). All of us have now read the Harry Potter series, though years apart each time. The middle brother was reading the books from the start and was always pumped when a new book would come out. I read the whole series in two weeks, but not until after the 4th movie had been released. The youngest brother has now read them all as well in a span of two weeks just last month. We had both ignored the hype, thinking they were children’s books. The youngest brother had never been super excited for the other Harry Potter movies, but after reading them he is the most excited I’ve seen him be in a while to watch a movie.
The advertising campaigns for these movies has varied. Harry Potter is the expected blockbuster, so maybe that is the reason that it obviously has the most money put into its exposure. Aside from the usual trailers, they stuck in another form of television advertising. They had a special sneak peak at the movie during a new series called Merlin. Since they both are about wizards they decided to use each other to spread the word. This preview during Merlin had its own mini advertising campaign of its own. Harry Potter is also dominating billboard advertising. A drive around Philadelphia is dominated by Harry Potter billboards with no other movies making any appearances.
Bruno is the follow-up to the highly successful and very hilarious movie Borat so it has a buzz of its own. This one had picked up its commercial advertising on TV, a lot since nearing its opening and may have had more airing of trailers than Harry Potter. It’s possible though that this is just because of the choice of TV shows that I like to watch (I am a frequent watcher of Comedy Central). I’ve also seen many banner ads online for this one as they make a push for viewers.
Public Enemies is a different story than these other two. It isn’t a sequel and isn’t set to be a blockbuster, but it does look like a more Oscar worthy movie. I first saw a trailer for it during a movie at the Ritz Theater many months ago, where they tend to show the more obscure or maybe just more high-brow movies. It’s generally where you find a lot of Oscar nominated movies before they get nominated and that’s why most people haven’t seen them when the nominations are first announced. Since that trailer I hadn’t heard much about the movie until nearing its release date. Even then the advertising campaign was much more subtle. I just saw the trailer for it a few times and not much more.
The advertising gets week one audiences in the door, but reviews after that and word if mouth are what make or break a movie’s longevity. Titanic is the classic case of word-of-mouth and amazing reviews, that’s what kept it in theaters for such a long time and made it the epic blockbuster money-maker that it is today.