Second article in our 5 weeks series on Campaigning for an Oscar!
LIH Welcomes Guest Author-Jess
With the Oscars just around the corner, the 26th of February couldn’t come any faster for those anticipating the show. But besides the excitement on what certain actresses are wearing and winner for Best Picture, there are also those watching the show to see what new and exciting movies are soon to be coming out this year.
A lot of films nominated have not even made it to the majority of theaters domestically. These films are only being shown in “limited release” in select cities, which lets face it, most of us never live near. Talk about frustration you see a preview in the theatre only to find out that movie is not going to be anywhere near you for at least a few months or oddly around the time the Oscar buzz starts. You may start to wonder why you see more and more commercials for the nominated movies and question why they haven’t stopped by your theatre.
With these types of films the release date came and went because it was a lesser known film. These less known films are first released in big cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Eventually they are released to a wider audience, domestically and then open worldwide. But why such a long wait? It is actually part of the marketing technique. Films studios can save a lot of advertising money by limiting the release of the film. By simply opening a film to only select cities, critics of the said cities will jump on that opportunity to comment. Their reviews build hype for the film which then gives the studio the chance to release the film gradually to more and more theaters. By the time the Golden Globe and Oscar nominations come out, much of the hype has been the advertising.
Jeremy Devine, vice president of marketing for Rave motion pictures talks to the Journal Star, in an interview describing films have a grace period to get out and advertise and build hype,
- “There’s a real sound economics to companies wanting to get these films into individual markets at a place and a time when they have the highest potential to flourish. If (the studio) can create more demand, then when they finally do issue the film in that market, it will do much better. And I can tell you, the landscape is absolutely littered with films that were rushed into the marketplace and didn’t have a chance to see the light of day because they simply got swamped by all the other wider and more commercial films…”
The movie studios themselves see the Oscars not only as a prestigious gain but also a great gain for more business and future films. By advertising and gaining a great amount of points from critics good or bad, the studios see that by the time the Oscars come around the demand for the movies will be great. However, it’s also a hit-or-miss business. Most of the time Studios will spend up to $5 million or more just promoting these films and pushing for Academy Award votes. They do this in hope for a bigger box office payoff.
Says David Davis, an entertainment industry analyst for the investment bank Houlihan, Lokey, Howard and Zukin,
- “It’s an expensive proposition, and if you don’t win the best picture, that can hurt,” “But you would be remiss not to try to get that win.“
Sometimes it pays off long term for the studios, particularly when that studio has seen a lot of wins with the movies their grossly marketing. Davis continues,
- “Miramax having that run of winners in the mid-1990s with The Piano and The English Patient had a big impact,” 
This year’s nominated list includes:
- The Descendants
- The Artist
- The Help
- War Horse
- Tree of life
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
- Midnight in Paris
Studios have already started the advertising and hype for them just in time for the Oscars. Still only a few on that list are even heard of by most of the country. Most of those movies are not even out in local theaters. Once the Oscars are over the films will of course be out for everyone to enjoy, thus bringing more hype for the movies and more money for the studios.
In a way some of the advanced advertising before the Oscars is a good thing, especially for small independent movies like (Black Swan). The Oscar buzz and marketing helps bring in a bigger audience for the film.
Please join us for a discussion Thursday 2/2/12@7pmE/12UTC