Why Try And Market A Losing Battle - Next?

April 27, 2007

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I love Paramount, at least recently, I really do, but honestly this is just a bit crazy. It's one of those, why play when you know you can't win situations. And I hate to nag on a good studio and a film that just came out, but come on, I've heard more negative feedback on this than any movie this year (including all of the terrible January movies). I'm talking about Nic Cage's latest action flick Next.

I would have been fine to let this movie open today if it hadn't been for the abundance of marketing I've seen online and around for it recently. Even go to IMDb.com, they've got the entire top plastered with Next advertising and posters for it everywhere in the main section. I'll be honest, I was interested when I first heard about it because of the Philip K. Dick story the most. But in recent days the rocks just started tumbling. I've heard so much bad buzz and terrible reviews that I've stayed away from it to just let it quickly pass over so that we can get to the movie we all want to see next weekend - Spider-Man 3!

Why are they pushing this film so hard when they know they've got one weekend, which will probably end up being the lowest weekend of the year, and are already losing money from the production costs versus expected earnings. Then now they're losing even more by spending excessively on marketing? What kind of strategy is that?!

Yes, Hollywood is all about money, and I'm not great at predicting box office numbers, but I have a feeling this is going to flop and flop hard. This is the dump weekend, no one cares what opens today and it's going to be lost amidst a handful of other vastly better and more interesting films (Hot Fuzz at least) that have already opened earlier in April. I'm not out to argue the idea of releasing it at all, that's fine, they've got to dump it somewhere, but why are the wasting money and marketing so much for a losing battle? It just doesn't make sense.

The theater counts have already come out, and Next has the highest of any film opening on April 27th. Even Rotten Tomatoes mentions it in their weekly Box Office Guru Preview with exactly the same thoughts:

Paramount has been giving "Next" a decent amount of marketing, that is for a film being dumped into the final weekend of a month starting with the letter A. In almost any other time of year this would get clobbered, but given the current alternatives it will make for the only reasonable choice for many moviegoers.

I'm really curious to see how this does, and to see if I've made my point. Let's see how well marketing for something you know you've already lost does, or if I'm the one guessing wrong this time.

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