Blockbuster films, blockbuster legacy


Every year there are a handful of Hollywood films that become timeless blockbusters. Some Hollywood favorites include Titanic, Inception, Sound of Music and the Harry Potter series. There are a variety of factors that bring these select view movies into household treasures. While, of course, one of the biggest factors remains the actual content, acting and writing of the movie, one should not ignore the role that public relations and advertising play into the production of a film.

In 2012 the average cost of a major studio production’s advertising cost was about 34.5 million. That being said, it becomes apparent that advertising and public relations becomes a major factor in the popularity of films.

Compare that 34.5 million dollar advertising cost to the average cost of a major studio film is $65 million. Keep in mind, some films cost well over $200 million. These numbers quickly become impossibly high. This means the world of movie making is extremely competitive in order gain a profit for each film.

Film groups go out of their way to think of advertising and public relation efforts that persuade consumers to watch their films. One great example of this occurred in the  advertising technique for J.J. Abrams film Super 8.” In the film trailers, which are normally used to gain consumer interest and to highlight exciting parts of an upcoming movie, Abrams decided to intrigue moviegoers by not revealing exactly what the film’s plot was about.

This technique certainly built audience awareness and excitement. Many people wanted to see the movie in theaters to learn what it was about.

As social media begins to play a more prominent role in society, producers are beginning to rely heavily on social platforms to advertise their films. As stated, their goal is to get people to go watch the film in theaters but also to have positive emotions and reaction to the film.

According to Moviefone’s blog, the most film with the best public relations and advertising campaign of all time was the 1999 film Blair Witch Project. While I just stated that social media is now relied on for advertising for films, Blair Witch Project was released before any social media platform was relevant. Because of this, they relied on guerilla marketing which was done virally. The film made viewers believe that they were watch footage that was “found,” which made audiences believe that the terrifying events in the film were true.

In addition to making the footage viral, the filmmakers decided to create a website, which circulated ideas that the claims were true, and the film really did capture footage of the Blair Witch. These efforts worked and the film made over $248 million dollars worldwide, which was especially impressive due to the films extremely low budget.

One film that I particularly look forward to seeing this year is Les Miserables, which is an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name. I grew up listening to the music and have seen the live show twice. While the music definitely requires an acquired taste, so far the advertising and public relations for the film is outstanding.

The advertising campaign for the film started promotions months ago and as the releases date draws closer they release more information and scenes from the film. I have a feeling that this film has the potential as being Hollywood’s next blockbuster.



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