How far will movie studios go to market their films these days? If a movie looks to be in trouble, whether it’s a bad test screening, an actor going off the rails, or just a simple bad movie that no one has any interest in, will they go to extreme lengths to make sure they don’t lose the millions they have invested? Are studios using scandals and “hacking” as a new marketing ploy?
In December 2014, North Korea hacked Sony Pictures as retaliation for the yet unreleased Seth Rogan and James Franco comedy The Interview. Or did they?
The Interview suffered from poor test screenings, and very low opening weekend predictions which would inevitably lead to yet another failed film from the studio. Sony had another box office flop on their hands, and another explanation to the shareholders as to why the company keeps losing money with their films. So, what better way to save face and not have to make your losses public, than to orchestrate the marketing ploy of the century.
The Interview went from low expectations, and no one caring about it. To being the most talked about and publicized film Sony has made since Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man. Rather than the film opening in theaters after the threats made by North Korea, Sony opted to release it online for a measly $5.99 to rent on YouTube. It became the most watched film online in the first 24 hours of its release.
Fast forward to May 2017, and it feels like Disney is doing the same thing with Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. The marketing machine over the past month has been pretty solid for this film. However, it has been overshadowed by Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2 and the recently released Alien: Covenant.
It’s also important to note that Johnny Depp hasn’t had the best publicity in recent times. The troubled actor has been in the news headlines for all the wrong reasons. Depp has struggled to maintain his semi clean-cut image since Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl premiered in 2003. Disney are probably looking to do some damage control from the antics of their once most bankable leading man.One thing to note with hackers. They pride themselves on notoriety, they want people to know who they are and what they have done. So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the latest hacking scandal. Disney CEO Bob Iger will also not publicly say who is holding the company ransom, or for how much.
It all seems a little suspicious; the Sony hack by a foreign dictatorship, and now this Netflix/Disney (and potentially other studios as well) situation. This whole ordeal seems like less of a legitimate security threat, and more of a way to drum up interest in a movie that is well past its used by date.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree or disagree?