For a film such as Lost World, the sequel to the phenomenally successful Jurassic park saturation marketing was used. This involved everything from the use of conventional media: billboards, magazine and newspaper ads in a range of newspapers from The Daily Mail to The Times and Daily Record to reach different demographics and regions; through to a range of merchandise toys available in Burger King and promotion on a range of food products. The success of the campaign can be seen in the fact that 6 weeks before the release 100% of 15-19 year old film goers was aware of the release of the film.
A campaign that begin six months before the film’s release as succeeded in reaching the mass mainstream audience that the distributors sought. Such a blanket campaign depends upon a serious outlay of cash, which the distributors (United Pictures) believed they would recoup for the film. Other films however require different campaigns. A case in point is the film Skeletons, (Whitfield, 201 0), a low budget, British independent film by a first- time director. With a budget of less than a million to both make and market the film none of the methods employed by United Pictures would have been possible.
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Instead, the distribution of the films was marked by a platform lease, only a handful of print were made and most screenings around the country were introduced by the Director or members of the cast and concluded with a Q session. Clearly the distributors felt that the best way to sell this film was to make an event of the screening, to play on the fact that this was the debut feature of the director and that the idiosyncratic nature of the film would be usefully complemented by discussion with the audience. This film also made use of social networking sites and the Internet.
The film had a Backbone page and Twitter page – regular posts by the director as he revealed around the country; discussion about awards the film had been nominated for (e. G. The Guardian Debut film of the Year); release of the DVD etc. All of these contributed to a sense of a small community of fervent believers in the film, who spread the word for the film and gave the film a sense of excitement, a sense of a hidden gem, this was accentuated by encouraging fans to join a mailing list to get regular emails about the film.
As well as these methods the film also received covert advertising through the reviews and media coverage it received. The director and one of the film’s stars, Jason Isaacs appeared on numerous film programmer. This publicity also fed into DVD sales, which for a film of this size would be crucial to financial success. One marketing device that has been used by distributors such as Miramar to great effect in the last twenty years is exposure through awards. This is important for independent and mainstream, Hollywood films. The largest award, that has the most significant impact upon box office return, is the Oscar.
For a film such as Million Dollar Baby (Eastward, 2004) winning the Best Picture Oscar increased box office returns from $9. 3 million to $92. 6 million. Even the blockbuster film Return of the King (Jackson, 2003) despite a healthy box office return of $338 million before the Oscar saw its box office increase by $40 million on the back of an Oscar win. Film marketing and the art of the distributor may not be about simply attracting the largest possible audience as Item 1 indicates the audience needs to be the one appropriate for the film.