The marketing geniuses behind all the free publicity for “The Interview”
Who is benefiting from all the controversy about the now “un-releasable” movie The Interview, a probable dud created by Seth Rogen and James Franco that was set to be distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment? For obvious reasons (the “assassination” of Kim Jung Un in the movie), the perpetually petulant country of North Korea doesn’t approve of it, but if their hackers ARE the inadvertent marketing geniuses behind all the free publicity, what does this mean for future marketeers? They’ve created a monster! Could Sony, even with all the public fall-out from their ugly private e-mail conversations, still win big with the help of hacker-marketing? Although it seems that Sony is in a rough situation, standing to lose the $44 million dollar production budget, plus whatever the movie would have brought-in internationally, this could be one of the biggest come-backs in movie studio history. Being forced into a new marketing plan by outside threats could (and probably does) mean that lots and lots of people, who otherwise would not have seen this box-office bomb, will now want see it. No matter what. So Sony has some options. Instead of “caving” to threats from hackers, and, as some Hollywood stars are saying, “limiting free speech”, could they magically turn this bus around with a Video On Demand or internet streaming release?
Since Regal Cinemas, AMC Entertainment and Cinemark Theaters, the three largest cinema chains in North America decided not to screen The Interview because of hacker threats to attack theaters and references to 9/11, what could the picture possibly have made nationally? Let alone internationally! It may sound a little cooky, but this might be the best thing that ever happened to Rogen and Franco (or really any other movie with dismal pre-reviews). However Sony decides to “take a stand against terrorism” (surely by finding a way to unleash this movie on the world), these North Korean hackers will probably become the new marketing-masters to blame for a crap movie that we pretty much ALL are going to see.
Thanks, Guardians of Peace.
February 22nd, 2015 – Here’s an interesting little tidbit to update our story about the “excellent” publicity campaign for ‘The Interview’: The publicity team behind ‘The Interview’ won the Maxwell Weinberg Publicist Showmanship Award for Best Motion Picture Publicity Campaign in 2014. How about that? They, with the help of The Guardians of Peace annnd probably even a little bit from a patriotic Obama who encouraged citizens not to fold to terrorism and watch the movie, made for the year’s best motion picture publicity campaign. ‘The Interview’ beat out films like ‘Selma’, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, ‘The Lego Movie’ and ‘Unbroken’ for the honor. Maybe they felt bad for Sony because of all the embarrassing information that was leaked, or maybe they were impressed by how well they handled it, and still managed to get a limited cinema release and a VOD release on Christmas Eve (both much more successful than they probably should have been). Slow and steady wins the race, or something?