Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kael of the Week: Marketing

"There are a few exceptions, but in general it can be said that the public no longer discovers movies, the public no longer makes a picture a hit. If the advertising for a movie doesn't build up an overwhelming desire to be part of the event, people just don't go. They don't listen to their own instincts, they don't listen to the critics--they listen to the advertising. Or, to put it more precisely, they do listen to their instincts, but their instincts are now controlled by advertising... The public relations event becomes part of the national consciousness. You don't hear anybody say, 'I saw the most wonderful movie you never heard of'; when you hear people talking, it's about the same blasted movie that everybody's going to--the one that's flooding the media. Yet even the worst cynics still like to think that 'word of mouth' makes hits. And the executives who set up the machinery of manipulation love to believe that the public--the public that's sitting stone-dead in front of its TV sets--spontaneously discovered their wonderful movie. If it's a winner, they say it's the people's choice... Advertising is a form of psychological warfare that in culture, as in politics, is becoming harder to fight with aboveboard weapons. It's becoming damn near invincible. If Hollywood executives still believe in word of mouth, it's because the words come out of their own mouths."

-From "On the Future of Movies", The New Yorker
8/5/74

I think this (35 YEAR OLD) quote is particularly interesting as we go into the summer movie season, where studio-manufactured "event movies" are shoved down our collective throat, whether they're worth a fuck or not.

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