Rant: So THIS is Why New Line Cinema Went Under!
This will probably the one-and-only time you'll ever hear me talk about Sex and the City, but that's because it's a worthwhile discussion. We all know that New Line Cinema "went under" or, should we say, fell apart back in February, and in turn was folded in under Warner Brothers. Leading up to that official announcement, I kept speculating about its demise, including a specific article back in December titled Is This The Death of New Line Cinema?. In it, I claimed their terrible marketing was why their films have continued to fail and yet again we have another prime example of their incompetence. Although this new marketing campaign for the Sex and the City movie might actually be handled by Warner Brothers by now, I'm utterly confused by their idiocy when it comes to poster design! The movie will still succeed - but can they seriously be this blind?
My rant today originates with a German Sex and the City: The Movie poster that originally popped up on IMPAwards.com. I'm a big poster fanatic, at least when they're designed well, and have so far been immensely unimpressed with the designs for Sex and the City. The posters should be sparkly and eye-catching, sure, but they should also look good! Thank about all those Sex and the City fans who want something nice to hang on their wall!
The teaser poster is an all-out disaster, of epic proportions - I mean, who said it was a good idea to make the entire poster, including Sarah Jessica Parker, black and white? Except for the color pink? Seriously? And just the other day we posted the final domestic poster that has recently been arriving at movie theaters. Now let's compare these latest two posters side-by-side.
The poster on the left is the official domestic version that's being sent to movie theaters around the country. The one on the right is a new German version that hardly anyone will probably see. I don't think I even need to tell you that the one on the right is vastly better than the official one on the left. Not only is Parker insanely out of focus on the original poster (you should see it full-size!), but the dress is terrible and the tilted angle is confusing and annoying. And since when is featuring only Sarah Jessica Parker on the poster the entire selling point of the movie? Isn't the essence of the show entirely about most women being able to connect with one of the main four characters?
The German poster is so much better and I'm amazed no one saw this. Right down to the typography of the logo - I think it's way easier to read when put together all on one line. Despite Parker's dresses are atrocious in absolutely every poster they put out (and probably every frame of the movie, too), the dresses the other three girls have on are all fabulous. And despite its still got that quirky angle, this one is a lot easier to look at - especially because fans can connect with the entire cast instead of just Parker. Everything last thing about that German poster on the right is pretty much perfect for this movie - so why isn't it the official domestic poster?!
These sorts of decisions made by marketing at New Line Cinema are the exact reasons why I feel like they've released consistent flops and eventually failed entirely. I know Hollywood studios sometimes make odd creative decisions, and often times I respect them, but any regular citizen can see that the poster on the right is superior to the one on the left in every way. Not only would it do a better job marketing the movie, but fans, who are essential to the real success of a movie, would be much happier with the one on the right up on their walls.
Now before anyone goes off on a rant about how Sex and the City is the cause of New Line's demise, that's not what I am getting at here… at all! In fact, I think the Sex and the City movie is going to be one of the most successful films this summer. Just because you might hate the show doesn't mean millions of women don't love it and won't flock in droves to see it on opening day. You just wait and see! My rant here really has to do with poor marketing decisions on a whole. It's almost an accident that this German poster was leaked out because it gave me the opportunity to see how idiotic some people in marketing are and point out their poor choices.
As much as I know I won't have much of an effect on the marketing choices of major Hollywood studios, the least I can is still fight for movies that I think deserve better treatment. How do these marketing decisions get made in the first place? Who really sits there and compares these two posters and ends up choosing the one on the left? Is it that hard to put a little bit of concern an emphasis into the design of marketing materials? Especially when their are rabid fans involved? At least now I have a better understanding of why New Line Cinema went under - their marketing department was one of the worst in Hollywood!
Reader Feedback - 32 Comments
Maybe they don't assume that the regular movie-going public is going to be 'anal' about the movie poster(s)?? And, if that is their train of thought, then that's why they're going under- they underestimate and intelligence and aesthetic tastes that the public has or could have. The question is: how do we make our voices heard about quality?! do we avoid films with bad posters? is that legit or practical? I don't know. But it goes hand-in-hand with the sloppy and unimaginative trend of Hollywood......"Don't mess with the Zohan"? "Love Guru"? you see where I'm going with this?!...
sneebee7 on May 8, 2008
Sorry but I have no idea what your talking about. Both these posters are utter crap. I'll agree that the german poster is better than the american one, but that certainly doesn't make it anywhere near good, let alone worthy of actual use of any kind. I honestly think that a sex and the city fan with a basic knowledge of photoshop could have hacked together better posters with only photoshop and some old stills from the show.
Matthew Nevin on May 8, 2008
I love your posts about "women," (this and "Twilight"), as though they're from the moon
Andrew Wickliffe on May 8, 2008
I agree with you Alex. I never watched or care to watch an episode of SEX AND THE CITY and can certainly say, am NOT (atleast I very much hope so) seeing this film. This will be a HUGE hit (I imagine the budget being in the $40-70M range) and it will certainly crack the $100M mark. But still, YOU need to market it! The poster on the left looks like a teaser or in a set of character posters. But sadly it isn't. The one on the right looks like a teaser, but still by no means a FINAL one. New Line had one of the worst marketing departments and judging by these posters, I would say the guy in charge was blind. Take some advice from Fox marketing studio heads! Really, what other studio could have made NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM and ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS $200M+ blockbusters?
Ryan on May 8, 2008
Contractual obligations. There is a reason SJP's name is on top and she's the only one on the domestic poster. She's the star...or rather...biggest, best "contracted" star. You would be surprised how many people these decisions are frequently run by...lawyers, managers, the talent (they avoid this one), pubs, marketing, producer(s), studio boss 1, boss 2, boss 3 and Boss 4. I've even seen photo approval and kills by the "best friend."
Brad on May 8, 2008
This looks like the back of a bad Transvestite Porn. Seriously though sad but true, women do not need to be baited by posters like the guys. All they need is a magazine with a mention of it.
L on May 8, 2008
i'm not even sure why i'm reading the article..all I came in here to say was that this bad show becoming an even worse film has got to be one of the signs of the apocalypse..i just feel it.
Garrett.king on May 8, 2008
this movie is going to make a lot of money. turns out women also go to the movies. i bet you 20 bucks alex this movie will be better than that piece of shit called peyote racer.
FARMHOUSE. on May 8, 2008
Am I the only person that's really annoyed by the fact that on the German poster, the girls appear to line up well with their names, but not in the right order?
Quicksilver on May 8, 2008
Quicksilver, that's one of the first things I noticed! And it really did annoy me. I am definitely going to see this and so are all of my female friends so I agree that this will be a big summer hit. As for the posters I never really see movie posters until I'm actually at the theatre so I don't really give them much thought. I think it is more important that the trailers are good and I think those are what really sell a movie these days anyway. imo
Janet on May 8, 2008
maybe the american version has something to do with SJP's heavy hand after being called Maxim's UNsexiest woman, was it Maxim? i don't remember. either way maybe she is whoring herself out to counter that blow to her ego.
The Delightful Deviant on May 8, 2008
There seems to be a horse in a blue dress in the US version, odd
interl0per on May 8, 2008
what the hell is she wearing in these? if i saw her on the street in the left 1, id think shes a well dressed whore not that anyone would do her without a paper bag over the head, the right one looks like stain glass windows from a church. ya know i think id actually go see it if she was wearing somethin new every single frame, id have to be really bored though. or worst case scenario dragged into watching it..
harrison on May 8, 2008
both posters look like a mediocre fashion ad-one of those brands for women selling skimpy clothing and rebranding them as classy,wearable clothes with unbelievable price premiums.That said,the poster on the right-their faces all look utterly fake and ridiculous,especially cynthia nixon who looks like she's in pain from the smiling. and oh,"Get Carried Away" is such an apt tagline for the film.
twispious on May 9, 2008
I have to agree, when I saw the poster and only saw SJP, I was like "where's the others?!?"
marc on May 8, 2008
The only thing about the German poster (which is admittedly better although still rather lacking) is that they've mislabeled the actresses. That was the first thing that stood out to me. Odd.
Carlie on May 9, 2008
This is why NYC has been messed up the last few years.
REAL6 on May 9, 2008
Horseface Parker is alone in the poster, with that giant name of hers at the top, because she's the STAR. Her agent probably demanded it. And since the movie wouldn't have been made without her, this is NLC's way of bowing down at the star power of Parker. Likewise with the German poster. All the girls are wearing similar dresses, but Parkers is the only one that stands out. Again, it's to focus on her as the STAR. It's Hollywood, dude. It's all about ego stroking. And with all the "she's so f'in ugly" mess that Parker has gone through this year, this is probably her agent's attempt to convince us she really is hotter than all the other woman -- by making her stand out. Of course, she's still got a horseface, so whatever.
Jack on May 9, 2008
This post is crap. I agree the german one is better... but its useless to make such a big point out of it. Because it isn't . This movie doesn't really need to sell itself. Next time just use 2 lines to make your point. Cheers,
Rickmeister on May 9, 2008
@ #9 (Quicksilver): This happens actually a lot! I've seen this on more posters and DVD covers. And I don't know why they keep doing that... it makes really no sense at all.
Rickmeister on May 9, 2008
Many many many U.S. movie posters have the stars on it where the names aren't in order (below or above the pictures). That's not an uncommon thing.
Rob on May 9, 2008
this reminds me of the deer hunter poster. the south american one (not sure) is fucking dope. all american ones are lame the black and white with pink poster is fucking amazing, the domestic is dog shit, the german is good
Jont on May 9, 2008
To all of u wondering why names are in the wrong order on posters etc: it all comes down to what is agreed upon in contracts: of course SJP's name comes first on the poster, she is the lead character in the series, probably gets the most money!
Ralph on May 9, 2008
The only character I ever cared about (read: the only one I think is hot!) is the pasty redhead chick. I'm sure there's others out there whose favorite character is NOT Sarah Jessica's. Why exclude them from the poster? All-in-all, both of these posters are weak. I'll join Jont in saying the "black and white" poster is my favorite of the bunch though. The German version looks like the gals are all staring off at the Cloverfield monster and laughing. The domestic version, I wouldn't even use that as kindling to get my fireplace started.
kevjohn on May 9, 2008
Can anyone else tell that they were all superimposed together? It looks horrifyingly fake. And there seems to be something anatomically incorrect with Cattrall's head and neck. Maybe it's just because she's standing next to giraffe-neck, but it still doesn't seem right.
Nettle on May 10, 2008
Kristen Davis looks the most "normal" of the horny quartet. (SJP needs a bag on her head; a horse feed bag?)
avoidz on May 10, 2008
This is one movie I'm totally not interested in. I did not even pay attention to the poster. I think I'm one of the few chicks that rather see a crash-bam baddah bing bangboom, muscle-car ladden, action to the hilt movie than a chick flick. So for this poster design...blah. Now, stick an explosion at the bottom and a jammin' car behind in, and maybe I'll think about it. 😉
Bry from Chi on May 10, 2008
If it makes you feel any better, I just saw the "good" poster at my local (American) theater.
Angie on May 10, 2008
Yeah both those posters suck. And I like sex and the city, I agree with Nettle (25) how its obvious that they werent even standing together for this group shot and it looks like they were just photoshopped together
Bridget on May 10, 2008
Cow dung! A load of cow dung! I do not think that the poster on the left is bad (this is only your opinion, but I would like your co-operation in my opinion, I would like you to listen up too). New Line is one of my favorite studios, right after I watched the Lord of the Rings films on dvd, and I do not think it is dead, even though it is merged with Warner Bros. I heared some articles say that it will continue to produce, market, and distribute its own movies. But these articles also say that it will do so as a part of Warner Bros. I rekon that New Line's distribution career will continue. Also, I rekon that this movie might either do a good job, or an o.k. job, or it might do a great job, or it might not at all.But, one way or another, that is your opinion. Like I said, I agree that New Line's distribution career will continue. Why don't you explore the internet for any article you can find. The very New Line movie I am looking forward to seeing is Journey To The Center of The Earth 3d. The reasons for this go like this: 1.) It is a "modern version" adaptation of one of my favorite keen on reading books, by Jules Verne. 2.) It is made by one of my favorite studios, New Line Cinema. 3.) The movie, like the book which it is inspired by, it features one of my favorite subjects/topics, the Dinosaurs. In fact, how many of you are into that
Ben Tracey on May 11, 2008
Plus, I remember times when my mother would watch fe-male made t.v. shows like this on dvds that she rented.
Ben Tracey on May 11, 2008
I wonder if "The Rabbit" will feature in this movie version... hmmm.
avoidz on May 11, 2008
Sorry, no commenting is allowed at this time.