Friday, August 25, 2006

Witch Wins?


Owen G. at EW's got an interesting piece up about the concept of "the web phenomenon" as it relates to marketing movies, specifically how the internet got "mad props" for selling oodles of Blair Witch tickets, and then was blamed for not selling oodles of Snakes on a Plane tickets.

"As a Blair Witch fan, I have had dozens of conversations in which I argued, based on little more than intuition, that the film's status as a glorified Web virus was always overstated. Yes, people talked about the movie online, and relentlessly, but so what? Given the lackluster performance of Snakes on a Plane, the new conventional wisdom about the Internet's limitations as a generator (and disseminator) of mass publicity suggests the following: that seven summers ago, when Blair Witch came out, the movie sold its tickets the old-fashioned way — because people had an organic desire to see it."

I haven't seen SoaP yet, though people I trust have enjoyed it, so I'm not going to say it's simply the case of a good movie (Blair Witch, a very good movie) winning out over a bad one.

But I do think he's right in saying that there's an impression, of it sight-unseen, that "Snakes on a Plane, that kitschy-catchy moniker aside, was at heart just another so what? fanciful action thriller destined to be forgotten in two weeks." If it ain't, and it is better than that, then cool, and I'm probably still gonna catch it in the next week or so anyway.

I do think the film was hurt by not screening it in advance for critics, because the very people they'd gotten excited about the film (us internets dweebs) are the same ones who know not screening a film in advance usually means it stinks and we were, or I was at least, scared away by that.

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