MOVIE MARKETING MADNESS: “OCEAN’S TWELVE”

In a recent interview, “Ocean’s Twelve” co-star Brad Pitt was quoted as saying, “”I think the biggest joke was on Catherine because she actually thought we were making a movie”. To my mind this perfectly sums up the existence of both this movie and its predecessor, Ocean’s Eleven.

I just recently watched the first installment, having never seen it before but figuring I should before diving into the campaign for its sequel. “Eleven” is a fast-paced quick witted movie with a loose, jazzy feel that, quite frankly, felt like a breath of fresh air to me. The second picks up the story of Danny Ocean and his band of merry men and reunites them after Andy Garcia’s Teri Benedict (who was the casino head they robbed) finds out who it was that got his money.

The Posters

Some of the coolest poster art around is right here. It eschews the trap of putting the faces of all the pretty boys on the movie on it and instead has some very frame-ready art of feet or silhouettes of the actors. They sound very basic, but with the simple color design and layout they are tremendously effective.

The Trailers

The first movie is primarily, I think, remembered as being fast and funny. So what’s the best way to present the second movie? As being fast and funny. The teaser trailer has no shots of movie but just animation that mirrors the poster design in color and theme. It plays heavily on the line “They’re all back!” and then proceeds to list the entire cast.

The theatrical version of the trailer does contain footage from the movie, hinting at a larger role in this one for Matt Damon’s character. In the first movie he was just hired help but he is given an amount of screen time in the trailer comparable with Clooney or Pitt. The old-school text (“Catherine Zeta-Jones…is Captivating!”) fits in perfectly with the whole attitude. The only complaint I have is we barely see Carl Reiner or Elliot Gould, but I understand they’re not the ones people are going to line up to see.

The Website

The “Ocean’s Twelve” website isn’t very substantial, but considering the movie isn’t likely to be that’s not much of a surprise. Much like their website for Alexander, Warner Bros. has put up a “site-lite” with access to trailers, posters and an abridged photo gallery for those who don’t or can’t access the full Flash-based site.

Once you’re in the site proper, there is a cool (albeit brief) intro that plays very much in the same vein as the trailers with the same color theme and some quick pictures of the top six cast members. It’s very slick but very short and repeats ad infinitum so don’t, say, pull it up and then go get a cup of coffee because your coworkers will be honked off (trust me on this).

Copious Production Notes, a good sized Synopsis and Filmmaker bios can be found in “The Movie”. Warner Bros. really seems to have latched onto the understanding that people actually are coming to their movies’ websites for information because they continue to expand the amount of detail they include. Production Notes runs for several pages worth of text, spread out over a few sections and really goes into as much detail as a casual fan could ask for.

“Downloads” contains both Posters to download (poster version #2 is currently my PC desktop image, that’s how cool I think these are), Desktops and AIM icons. The number of messenger icons and desktop themes is huge (about 18 each) and feature each individual cast member as well as some more opportunities to grab the poster art and one or two behind-the-scenes images. These really go a long way to play up the ensemble nature of the movie.

There is a very cool scrolling option in the “Photos” section (you really need to go there and try it as I can’t think of a good way to describe it) but only a handful of actual photos, which is slightly disappointing. “Video” contains just the trailers and the TV spots, which as of this writing were still “Coming Soon”. Again, slightly disappointing, as a movies’ site should be fully stocked at least a week before opening day. There is also a deleted scene available to view of Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones vigorously making out. Some of that may be slightly made up.

“Cast” contains bios for the entire gang and is a fun read. Not only are there complete career overviews but are written, much like the rest of the text on the site, in a loose, tongue-in-cheek manner that is engaging and entertaining. It’s great that they didn’t focus all their energy on the headliners (Pitt, Jones, Clooney, etc.) but give full treatment to the old-guard members of the cast like Reiner and Gould. These guys have had full and eclectic careers and deserve nothing less.

Overall

Liked the first one? You’ll probably like the second one. What Ocean’s Eleven and, at least based on the marketing materials, Ocean’s Twelve offer is light, breezy entertainment that doesn’t insult the intelligence of someone who seriously enjoys movies. A movie like this is probably going to skew a little older in terms of demographics based not so much on the cast, all of whom are aging, but also by virtue of the script not pandering to teens and such.

A co-worker of mine may have put his finger on the popularity of the first movie when he said that, yes, the cast included some “heartthrob types” but that these were also actors guys could enjoy. Clooney, Pitt and Damon have all built a reputation as regular guys, allowing regular guys in the general public to feel it’s OK to enjoy their movies. My prediction is this will do well but be gone fairly quickly, enjoying most of its success on video and DVD.

As moviemaking costs increase, the pressure to successfully market those movies becomes greater. In an attempt to show how marketers are trying to put the most hinders in the theater seats, Chris Thilk breaks down why some movie campaigns work and some don’t. The posters for “The Rocketeer” and “Unforgiven” remain two of his all-time favorites. For Chris’ ongoing movie journal and other various musings, visit his Movie Marketing Madness blog.




Posted on December 7, 2004 in Features by
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