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Weinstein Company Accused of Padding The Road Trailer?

by
May 29, 2009
Source: ScreenRant

The Road

Fans of Cormac McCarthy's novel are getting a bit riled up over the recent trailer for The Road. John Hillcoat's adaptation has been in development for a while. It was shot in early 2008, but The Weinstein Company delayed the release until this year because they wanted to promote The Reader instead. The full trailer finally hit a few weeks ago to a primarily positive response, give or take a few who were upset that it's not presented in the same way as the book. However, an interesting article has popped up on ScreenRant recently alleging that The Weinstein Company added footage to sell the trailer to mainstream audiences.

The trailer opens with some shots of various natural disasters and world destruction as well as some scenes with Charlize Theron and the text: "10 years from now, one event will change the face of the planet." But of course, those who have read the novel know that it never explains what happened or why exactly our world is now a post-apocalyptic wasteland. ScreenRant goes on to explain that almost all of those shots were just added by TWC: "None of that footage is in the film and the characters aren't even watching it on TV. It's all just clever editing." From there, they explain the real truth behind The Road's setting and backstory.

Here's a dose of the truth: The film version of The Road adheres pretty closely to the novel (with a few choice liberties taken here and there). In the novel, there is never any explanation of what event(s) turned America into a desolate wasteland. When the story begins, The Man (Viggo Mortensen) and The Boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) are simply walking on the road across the annihilated landscape and that's as much background as we get. There is no preachy message about the environment or nuclear war or human relations - no subversive political or religious metaphor.

Maybe it's just because I'm familiar with the novel, but when I was watching that trailer, I instantly assumed that those shots were added for dramatic marketing effect (and wouldn't be in the movie). And once it got into the meat of the story with real footage, it looked exactly as it should. And while he is right to complain about TWC's choice to edit the trailer, if it brings in more people to actually see The Road (which won't be edited differently), then why is it such a big problem? His complaint lies more in the fact that this isn't how it should be marketed and as a fan of the novel, the truth shouldn't be twisted for marketing purposes.

Kofi is calling for a new trailer that doesn't include any of that fake footage and doesn't skew the truth. But I ask, if they were to put that out, would as many people be interested? In fact, I don't think much of that footage at the beginning really had an impact on anyone who saw the trailer. It was just padding to help give a sense of direction (albeit a completely inaccurate one) to those who had never heard of this novel before. Either way, I'm still looking forward to The Road because I can look past the marketing. What about you?

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  • Pete
    Agreed, it just seemed to set the context. I didn't feel preached at by the trailer. I haven't read the book, so those few seconds of the trailer just told me "this is set in a future where a lot of bad stuff killed off most of the people."
  • whomever
    A trailer doesn't accurately depict the film it's advertising? This is a shocking, and disgusting New World we're living in...
  • Rob
    I've been hooked a few times by a scene or joke in a trailer that wasn't in the movie. It's classic bait-and-switch that the movie industry seems to be able to get away with. At some point clever marketing becomes false advertising. I've read the novel and when I first saw the trailer I was worried they'd changed the story too much, so I actually wanted to see it less.
  • xerxex
    I swear thats why we need the Indie production companies, because they do not pop in every moment and say "We need more action, more tits, more gratitous sex scenes, more explosions, more blood, MORE BLOOD!!!!!!!!!" And the novel is very ambiguous to the actual surroundings, The Only thing that is clear is the Mother is out of the picture, The Father and Son are trying to get to the coast, the Father carrys a pistol just in case, and the son is trying to make sense of the world around him, and the Dad is having a health problem, and they are attacked evey now and again by cannibals so why add the action we saw in the trailer? I understand the mainstream attempt but in all honesty this novel was for a limited peoples, and the movie will probaly be the same way.
  • LINKFX
    I actually disagree with these kind of marketing decisions. I don't think it will bring more people to the film. I think TWC is a bit cynical about the kinds of films normal people will go see in the theater. If you try and honestly sell the film for it's actual content, play up the mystery and bleakness of the novel, it could effectively draw people into it, make them more curious instead of giving them the false sense that they are getting another yearly dosage of "disaster movie". Which I think most people are honestly a bit tired of. The only reason people see those films are because their aren't better ones to see. They tank when put up against stiffer and higher quality competition. I also believe that this is a film that absolutely needs to satisfy it's fans. The book had many purposes and messages in it's ambiguities. If you can't bring that to the film itself, then it has no reason to exist. And the marketing is wrong to not represent that spirit. People I think, can identify with the heartfelt father and son journey, and that's what they should be pushing, not making it out to be some loud slam bang action thriller, which is what the uninitiated would assume this was from all the crazy music and fast cuts...which from the precedent set by the book itself, and from "The Proposition" I would think this film is the complete opposite of that.
  • I read the book and it seemed like the trailer was a misrepresentation of the book. It's more false advertising which is why people get upset. There is nothing worse than seeing a trailer expecting a movie to be one way and pay $10 and have it be something completely different. That was the recent case with Adventureland where the trailer made it seem like another Superbad and it was the complete opposite and a lot of people were pissed.
  • steve
    Did they use CGI to enhance the backgrounds? I sure hope not.
  • Dan W
    I definitely think that people would still be as interested if they didn't add all that destruction footage at the beginning. It will make people wonder what actually happened, and then they will watch the movie to find out that you never really know, but get a hint that it (possibly) had something to do with nuclear war and it just makes it for a better movie trying to figure out what happened. Which is why the book was so amazing. I do think they should take out the beginning footage of natural disasters and all that because it is false advertising. It takes away from the main feeling of the film which is survival in the unknown.
  • Billington, you read the book man. You're honestly telling me that you don't think that a book that resonated with so many readers (It sold very well) has the storytelling potential to reach a film audience best on its own merit and not bait-and-switch advertising??? My point is this: The Road novel worked. For specific reasons. By all accounts the film version plays to to those strengths very well - so why not just present the story that has already worked? From what I remember, people were none to happy with what they felt was a bait-and-switch approach to ANOTHER McCarthy novel, All The Pretty Horses. They were sold a simple love story and instead got a 3+ hour epic. No Country For Old Men on the other hand? Marketed just as McCarthy wrote it and BAM, goes home with an Oscar for best pic. Are the Coen Bros. kicking themselves for not selling that film as an action flick and raking in a bigger box office? PROB NOT. The Road, I feel, is angling for prestige over profit. Profit AND prestige would be great, but old Harv Weinstein is a known Oscar-whore. So he should be showing us an Oscar-caliber trailer. Bottom line: does this first trailer feel more Oscar-caliber to you? Or more Sunday million-dollar-movie? For me it's the latter.
  • Al
    hey, it worked for The International, maybe it'll work here
  • Nothing new, so many movies (espically comedies) do this, leave scenes in the trailer that are funny and they are not in the movie. Even DRAG ME TO HELL did it (ITS NOT A HORROR!).
  • Ryan
    I just really wanted this to be black and white. I'll see it regardless.
  • Marco
    To be honest I was more put off by the explosions, high adrenaline music and in-your-face text near the end. I understand the action is supposed to get the average schmuck excited to see it, but it just left a bad taste in my mouth. Seriously, are they actually trying to compete with the new Terminator for this years most awesome post-apocalyptic flick? Boy, the average blockbuster seat warmer is gonna be pissed when they pay $10 to find out this isn't a movie about Viggo Mortensen shooting the apocalypse in the face with a flare gun.
  • Mindcrime
    I had read an interview with McCarthy where he stated it was an asteroid that hit the earth, not sure what issue, but I did read it, also my big concern is why is the mother given what appears to be such a large role? she was more of a distant memory in the book if I recall correctly. Anyway none of this will sway the anticipation I have for this film. I'm glad to hear that it will not be some Politically Correct BS trying to guilt me with a message (I hope anyway)
  • Timothy
    Well, personally the trailer advertised the film as being hokey and corney, and if they took those added things out there it would look better. I understand they're trying to sell it, but that trailer wasn't great.
  • There's very little in the trailer that wasn't in the book. The main problems of the trailer were the implication that global warming caused the apocalypse, the action music, having almost no dialogue with the boy, and the general amping up of the action. However... While Mother (Charlize Theron) shows up more in the "foreground" scenes than one would want, it's clear she's in almost none of the "traveling" scenes. It's not like she was CGI'ed in. The only scene in the trailer where she shows up that wasn't in the book was the scene of all three of them sleeping in a tractor trailer cab. And, as she was traveling with Father and the boy for years before her death, that's not a dishonest scene either. True, as a fan of the book, the trailer was flawed. But it could have been a whole lot worse. Might it drag in unsuspecting people looking for an action flick? Maybe. Will they like it anyway? Some of them will, some of them won't. The movie will probably be more honest to the book than the trailer was.
  • Squiggly
    "if it brings in more people to actually see The Road (which won't be edited differently), then why is it such a big problem? His complaint lies more in the fact that this isn't how it should be marketed and as a fan of the novel, the truth shouldn't be twisted for marketing purposes." There's a little bit of legislation in this country that goes something like "false advertising". Why shouldn't they put clips of a disaster into a trailer when those clips aren't in the film and the disaster is never mentioned? Because the trailer is telling people that it IS in teh film and that it IS about a disaster. This is blatant false advertising. This sort of shit goes on ALL THE TIME with films, and it truely pisses me off. Look at austrailia. I think the trailer had every single action shot in the film, and that was largely what the trailer consisted of. When I went to see that flick I was thinking it was gonna be an epic war film with some peaceful ranchers caught int he middle. What I got was a story about some ranchers, and oh yeah there was something about a war in there somewhere. I'm exaggerating a bit, but that film was roughly 90% drama and 10% action, but it was advertised as the exact opposite of that. The trailers aren't the only way they pull this crap, tho. There are a lot of little sneaky ways a lot companies use to try and trick people into buying shit they don't want. Example: Night of the Living Dead 3D. The box says "NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD 3D!". and in small print at the bottom, it reads "2d version". Why would they do that? Don't they realize people will just get pissed off and return the movie when they find out it's not actually in 3D like it says in big bold type on the front of the case? Or the numerous box sets that claim to have "ALL* OF THE FILMS OF [actor or director XYZ]!". Bruce Lee made more than five films, but his "complete*" box set includes 5 (one of which he wasn't even really in) and missing several of his biggest films. They call it "Complete" because it's all the films that FOX owns. It's the complete FOX bruce lee collection, but who the fuck pays attention to who owns the films, and do you think someone's mom, aunt, uncle, son or whatever would know if they were buying that as a gift? nope. They use wording like that to fuck people out of money they wouldn't have otherwise spent had they been privy to the real information. Shitty kids films are notorius for this shit. There are something like 5 or 6 barbie CG films, but EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM has the phrase "barbies FIRST [adjective] movie". They market them all as though they're the first film somehow. If you didn't know better, wanted to buy one for your kid and saw one on the shelf, you'd think "oh, this is the first one. I'll get it first." or maybe you'd think it was the only one available at the time, thus making it somehow more appealing... like that new car smell, maybe? I dunno, I'm probably rambling at this point. I just work at a distributor and I get pissed off about shit like this all the time. All the different versions that are meant to trick stupid people into throwing their money away. Like releasing "unrated" versions, as though the word "unrated" somehow means the film must have transformed into softcore porn or something so gratuitously violent that it's insane. Really, it just means they added some of the shitty cut scenes back in - maybe five minutes of crap or less - and then didn't resubmit it for a rating. So you cut out the scene where the main character is folding his socks? Well put that shit back in! WOOHOO! UNRATED!!! The difference between "directors cut" and "unrated"? The director probably didn't want anything to do with it, or his cut was the cut that was originally released (hence, the cut scenes there for the raping). Honestly, shit like that really annoys me because the 'unrated' versions often sell a lot more copies for maybe 10 or 20% more money, and for no good reason at all. The only extended cuts i can recall seeing that weren't some marketing gimmick was the grindhouse flicks, sin city, the lord of the rings films... Brazil... not many... end rambling incoherent rant.
  • Carlos
    Stupid, stupid, stupid. I don't think it's ever a good idea to insert footage into the trailer that's not in the movie. And the added footage here is stock news shots and bad special effects. I can only answer for one movie goer, and when I found out the footage that had angered me was not in the movie, I thought, well I'll go see it after all, unless I find they've pulled some crap with the actual film. "It's horrible, it's ghastly, can you take it?" is a line that has been used honestly to describe several films, and it got people into the theater who did not feel cheated when the movie they saw was a bit hard to take. And the babble on the screen could be replaced by "It's you and your child against a world gone to hell."
  • Cormac Smooches
    I agree with 15. the real problem with the trailer is that the opening footage looks hoaky and out of place. What makes movie trailers effective is when they succeed in giving you a taste of a movie you might really like and you go see it and you love it. If I saw that trailer with out knowing anything about the book I would not be interested at all. Hey it's Twister 2! And hey that Vigo guy is almost as ugly as hellen hunt! The book is stark, bleak, terriffying and ocasionally heart warming. No flash. No Hollywood. And if the movie captures that at all, it will be strictly for No Country for Old Men fans. Twister lovers need not apply. Hope they got it right, despite the preview.
  • Fisherr
    GOD! Why do they keep doing this for marketing this is kind of misleading to grab more audiences! Just Kidding,this doesn't change my mind a bit about this movie. Must See for me.
  • LINKFX
    Hey Weinstein a-holes! Your trailer for the Road sucked! It made it look like a middle of the pack Disaster film! Good job, guys, you really knocked it out of the park, just like you always do! :(
  • Hilander
    Post apocolyptic Sci-Fi novels are my most favourite genre ... and The Road sucked. It was a boring read and I put it down fairly quickly and gave it to my wife's friend. (She's an Oprah fan and will read and do anything Oprah says) So, I'm suspecting the movie to be just a bad. I saw the trailer and it didn't fill me with any confidence. The ONLY good thing it has going for it is Viggo is in it. Count me out. I doubt I'll even stay in a room where it's playing on a DVD.
  • Andrea
    I don't know how I feel in general about misleading trailers, but in this instance, I think they've made a mistake. The characteristics of the novel that Weinstein thinks are not commercial enough to sell to a general audience are the exact things that make the novel unique and separate from every other post apocalyptic story out there. Honestly, the misleading trailer isn't even good. I would be more forgiving if it blew me away and made me really want to see the film. Unfortunately, the trailer was just crappy. The CG was bad, the structure was painfully cliche, and the thought of Charlize Theron (though I generally like her as an actress) in this movie completely threw me off. How many end-of-the-world movies have come out in the last two years- marketed in the exact same format (and sometimes more successfully)- and have turned out to be terrible and/or completely bombed at the box office? It seems every 3rd movie lately has been similarly themed, and I think audiences are tired and the genre has been stretched too think for the moment. The one story that we already know is sturdy and worthwhile is being thrown in with the riffraff, and unless you've read the book, you'll miss it without ever thinking twice.
  • TheManWithNoName
    All trailers do it. I mean honestly even the scenes that are in the trailer that are in the film don't really fit together the way they do in the actual movie. Dialogue in the trailer more than likely isn't even close to the dialogue in the actual film. Trailers have always done this. The bad thing is that a lot of time the trailers are better than the actual movies.
  • Aaron Kunce
    The trailer for _No Country for Old Men_ didn't need any 'padding'. Why should _The Road_?
  • Jory
    Chill out, folks. Mincrime already said it up in comment 14. Mr. McCarthy said in a Rolling Stone interview that it was an asteroid that hit the Earth. (I didn't get that from the book either.) But if that's the case, then everything in the trailer could still be in the movie. Remain calm.
  • Bob
    Jory- The key clue to the asteroid explanation is the skys being blocked out and raining ash. A serious asteroid collision with the Earth (on-par with the late-Cretaceous dinosaur exstinction) would disperse massive quantities of particulate into the atmosphere, potentially dimming the sun with a layer of ash, causing the temperature to drop while killing many plants, which would lead to fires. It's the most scientifically-consistent apocalypse-cause given the observational descriptions of the environment in the novel. Personally, I didn't put the pieces together when I read it either; it's a pretty random explanation, but one that makes sense in hindsight.
  • Kyle Jacobs
    I haven't even read the book yet, just the synopsis. I WILL have it read before it hits theaters. But even from the trailer, I knew they padded it just to sell tickets. I'm VERY sure much of that footage isn't in the film, but a big part of Hollywood is ticket sales and revenue. They gotta put butts in the seats. This isn't the only trailer either, there will be at least one more that will probably be a more direct regarding content. In all honesty, I see it from both ends, but I SIDE with the fans. Kyle
  • salientfilm
    who gives a damn. its a movie. the way the market is so saturated with them now, who really cares. at least it seems more interesting than the hundred or so others coming out in the next few months.
  • Jess
    They should advertise it as is without the added disaster scences in the beginning and stay true to the novel. Just override the scences with a good narrator explaining the premise and beef up the fact that the novel was a pultizer prize winner it should be enough...that and the actors should pull people in. I read the book and if the actors pull it off the audience will be so hooked on the relationship between the man and the boy they will not care or notice a lack of action or explanation!
  • Will
    Wait, you mean sometimes movie adaptations of books are different than the original source material? This is news to me (eyes roll out of head and fall on ground).
  • Justin Clarke
    bottom line....it was an asteroid....from the movie and all the events, their is no way it is anything else. Only an asteroid could have put a ship in a city 50 miles away from the coast. If it was nucular, their would be nothing standing within the city they were in. It is not global warming either, because how can global warming start fires. The only logical explaination is that an asteriod hit the ocean (polluting it) push ships into the coast and causing fires to rain from the rock and debree which would re enter to atmosphere and hit houses and buildings (like it did in the movie). That is what caused the end of the world in "The Road".

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