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August 03, 2009

Hollywood: Hey, those Yokels have Money!

Interesting story in the LA Times about the way Paramount Pictures is marketing "GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra." Awesome: the movie had its premiere in front of 1,000 service members and their families at Andrews Air Force Base. Not so awesome: the global marketing strategy.

The subtext is none too subtle: Critics are likely to roast the film, and fanboys of the original toy line and comic book may be indifferent, but if you're a flag-waving, Nascar-loving American, it's practically your patriotic duty to see this movie...

...Yet overseas, where big action films often earn 60% or more of their ticket sales, rah-rah American sentiment doesn't play well. So those references have vanished from the advertising.

European marketing, rather, focuses on action sequences set in Paris -- where the Eiffel Tower collapses -- Egypt and Tokyo, and emphasizes that G.I. Joe is an international team of crack operatives and not some Yankee soldier.

When it comes to selling "G.I. Joe" outside the U.S., the message is "this is not a George Bush movie -- it's an Obama world," director Stephen Sommers said. "Right from the writing stage we said to ourselves, this can't be about beefy guys on steroids who all met each other in the Vietnam War, but an elite organization that's made up of the best of the best from around the world."

Personally, I'm kind of indifferent about the film. "The Mummy" was goofy fun, but Sommers lost a lot of goodwill with the sequels. I haven't been aware of a particularly patriotic theme running through Paramount's marketing campaign for "GI Joe." So far, from what I've seen, the marketing says: 'this is a generic action movie with lots of CGI and stuff that blows up real good.'

Nothing wrong with that, but it does bother me a bit that the studio doesn't see anything odd in embracing patriotism to American audiences and hiding it for those overseas. So now you know. And knowing is half the battle.


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posted by Slublog at 08:01 AM

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