Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Obligatory Snakes on a Plane Posting

I've mentioned Snakes on a Plane in passing a number of times, but I have never given the film a full entry before. But with only 8 days until it opens wide, now seemed like as good a time as any to talk about it.

Whether it is horrible(which is likely) or actually a decent movie(I wouldn't hold my breath), Snakes on a Plane will probably go down as one of the best virally-marketed movies ever made, because all this attention is a such a total surprise to the studio, isn't it? I think that on some level this whole campaign was planned from the top on down since they filmed it, though I imagine the executives at New Line Cinema didn't expect the movie to take off like this, no pun intended.

Snakes on a Plane

Think about it. I remember so many stories about all these little facts about the movie over the past couple months: how the poster image for the movie was adapted from the cover of a porno movie(they added wings to a particular element), how Samuel L. Jackson demanded that the title stay Snakes on a Plane, and how the studio was deciding to film additional scenes to make it an R-rated movie. Of course, the recent story about how the studio wasn't going to have any pre-release screenings for critics and the special SOAP phone messages Mr. Jackson will leave for someone you know are also well-discussed in the media. As Jeremy over at Popped Culture noted, "It may have started as a fan joke, but it is now in the realm of blockbuster marketing." And of course, I am contributing to the marketing effort by writing about the marketing, aren't I?

The movie had a relatively small budget by Hollywood standards(35 million), especially compared to some of the movies that have already been released this year. And given the fact that its release date meant the film missed out on competing with most of the other major movies this summer, if it hits on August 18th and outpaces say World Trade Center or Zoom, it does seem like it only has one movie to worry about outdistancing the following week, and that is Invincible with Mark Wahlberg about a walk-on fan who played for the Philadelphia Eagles in the late 1970's. In short, it probably won't really matter if it is good or bad... it will still make its money back, which is probably the most important thing to the studio in this case.

So given the company involved, the casting, the subject matter and the relative cost of the movie, it seemed like an ideal candidate to test out this form of non-traditional marketing. Of course, we won't know until August 21st just how effective this campaign was, but I have a feeling, when the second edition of Peter Bart's Boffo comes out, it will be prominently featured. How much it merits that attention will be up to the gods of cinema to decide.


DavidB said...

Saw the ad on TV here in the UK and had to rewind it to be sure I'd heard it right. Such a bad title it's a work of marketing genius. And such great possibilities for sequels... Spiders in the Bath? Earwigs on a Sandwich?

MC said...

Well, there is a DVD coming out a few days before called Snakes on a Train.

And I was at the bookstore on Saturday and they have this little book of just the quotes from the movie...

..and when I went to look up said item at Amazon, I found out that there is going to be a wall calendar... A WALL CALENDAR!?!

SadEyes57 said...

I saw the teaser in the cinema here in the UK. The entire audience was in stitches 'cause we were laughing so hard. You mean that this film is actually for real?

MC said...

Yes, it exists and it will take over your media too.