4 of the Most Awesome Movie Advertising Campaigns

Image by: Slideshow Bruce

Advertising is big business – no more so than in the world of movies. A good advertising campaign can make a film, a bad campaign break one.  But every once in a while the hype for a particular movie can take on a life of its own.

Ad execs are savvy creatures and know how to exploit the maximum potential to increase brand awareness, and there have been plenty of movie execs and film studios over the years who have impressively managed to get the public whipped up in to a filmic frenzy to get millions of bums on seats through inventive ad campaigns. 

Some films are content with a few billboard posters and the occasional TV spot, but others need – no, demand – something a little more spectacular, using every marketing means at their disposal. Here are a few that have taken movie marketing to a whole new, unprecedented level.


Watch The 1985 Soviet Russian Version Of The Hobbit – It’s Awesome!

Before Hollywood finally gave The Lord of the Rings the go ahead (aside from an animated version), the Soviets were ahead of the curve. In 1985 they created a version of The Hobbit behind the iron curtain. How is this possible? Well at the time, Soviet Russia didn’t care about American copyrights. The costumes are about the most awesome thing I’ve seen in awhile, not to mention the overacting and the sets. Ok, so this is the best worst movie before Troll 2. I think Peter Jackson could take some notes here, not only did they make only one movie instead of three, but it comes in at a scant (by today’s epic standard) hour and ten minutes. Right now there’s no subtitles (a work in progress is available here), but here’s a list of scenes so you can move through it and get a feel for how the major moments play out. Smaug is incredibly giggle inducing.

10 Must See Road Trip Comedies

The highway trip film conjures up the sort of fish – out – of – water struggle that creates real laughs, in terms of humor. The closeness that these tourists should reveal throughout their barrier – ridden excursions contributes to the awkward clash of nerve and quirks – wrecking scenarios. These 10 highway trip comedies managed to catch critical acceptance, famous actors and financial achievement throughout their lengthy distance box office journeys.

5 Oscar Winners Currently Appearing in Direct-to-DVD Movies

Over the last decade each of the actors/actresses on this list have won an Oscar for a major role, in a theatrically released film. Then followed it up with a direct-to-DVD stinker. This list should more accurately be titled, ‘When bad movies happen to good actors’. Here is a comprehensive list of just a few stars and titles that may have slipped your attention.

Halle Berry

After becoming the first African American actress to win the best actress Oscar in 2001, Barry’s career choices have been eclectic. Ranging from the brilliant (Cloud Atlas) to the unwatchable (Catwoman, Perfect Stranger). She finally hit the direct to DVD low with Dark Tide in 2012. Directed by the usually dependable big screen helmer John Stockwell and costarring Oliver Martinez. Hey, the movie may have been a dud but Berry got a fiancée out of the deal.


Top 5 Best Asylum Mockbusters

Over the last decade The Asylum has become synonymous with low budget Hollywood rip-offs, which they playfully call mockbusters. These films are exact copies of their Hollywood counterparts, in fact many times The Asylum movies have nothing in common with their bigger budget brethren other than name. For those tricked by this ruse they often feel ripped-off, and to be fair their expectations are set for hundred million dollar budgets. This list is the top 5 mockbusters from The Asylum that surprise and prove that these guys aren’t out to just fool people into buying their products, they want to entertain as well.

War of the Worlds (2005)

Back in the mid 2000s Asylum teamed up with actor C. Thomas Howell and sparked a strange relationship in which Howell would go on to direct the sequel to this mockbuster and two others, The Day the Earth Stopped and The Land that Time Forgot. Directed by The Asylum producer and partner David Micheal Latt, this was the mockbuster that started it all. Coming on the heels of the Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise War of the Worlds it was a surprisingly good adaptation and while the big budget effects of the Hollywood version are missing, it mostly hits the same marks. The story tells of a man named George Herbert who is separated from his wife and child when a Martian invasion begins. He tries to make his way to Washington, D.C. to reunite with them as the world is torn apart. But civilization is laid to ruin when a race of super aliens ultimately invades Earth!


Top 5 Best Christmas-Timed Action Movies

This is my list of the top five best action movies that take place during the Christmas season. The Holiday season is typically a period that lends itself to romantic comedies or heartwarming dramas, not violent shoot ’em up pictures. There is not an abundance of Christmas-timed action films, but listed below are the top five best.

Dead Bang (1989)

Box Office Gross: $8,125,592     Adjusted: $0

A police officer is shot down on Christmas Eve when he stumbles upon a robbery-homicide at a convenience store. A down-on-his-luck L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. homicide detective, Jerry Beck (Johnson), is assigned to the case. As with every case, he takes this one very emotionally, because “the job” is the last thing left in his life, and vows to get the perpetrator no matter what. The slain officer’s widow further complicates the issue when she entices Beck into a one-night stand, in the hope that Beck will not only find but kill her husband’s murderer. During the investigation Beck learns that the murder of a policeman was just the tip of the iceberg, as he finds the roots of the suspect are in a White Supremacist, Neo-Nazi group.

Top 5 Best Christmas Movie Classics

There are those Christmas movies that have stood the test of time to become known as classics. These films can be watched every year without any wear or ever losing their touching moments. Take a look at this list of the five best Christmas classics. Have you seen them all?

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

War hero Dennis Morgan becomes the object of a publicity stunt staged by magazine publisher Sidney Greenstreet. The corpulent print mogul announces that Morgan has won a Christmas dinner, to be prepared by the magazine’s housekeeping expert Barbara Stanwyck in her own Connecticut home. The catch: Not only does Stanwyck not have a home in Connecticut, but she’s never been in a kitchen in her life! She also doesn’t have a husband (as her articles claim), so Stanwyck’s erstwhile beau Reginald Gardiner is pressed into service as the hubby. As for the cooking, that will be handled by master chef S. Z. “Cuddles” Sakall. This solves everything, right? No way, Jose. Long dismissed as a lesser film farce, Christmas in Connecticut has its own irresistible charm, and has in recent years become a perennial Christmas TV attraction.


Gene Siskel Hates Silent Night, Deadly Night – Producer Ira Richard Barmak Responds

With the recent theatrical and DVD release of Silent Night, here’s an interesting look at the controversy over the original’s release.

In 1984 Silent Night, Deadly Night caused a stir amongst parents as the Santa killer wielding an axe adverts for the film aired on television. The ads were so controversial that they were pulled. Gene Siskel gave a horrible review for the horror flick, with Ebert cheering from the sidelines. Check out the At the Movies Silent Night, Deadly Night segment below as Siskel names off those responsible as if that will somehow shame them. Then, the next video is about the re-release of the original in 1985, one year later. During this Entertainment Tonight report producer Ira Richard Barmak watches the At the Movies segment and responds to Siskel and Ebert’s views. Check ’em out below.

Top 5 Best Fun Christmas Horror Movies

You made it through Halloween, now try and survive Christmas with these top 5 best fun horror movies. Most people only consider watch scary movies during Halloween, but horror films don’t discreminate between holidays. Check out this list of comedic horror flicks for a blast after the kids have all gone to bed. Or let them watch in hopes that their new found fear of Santa will make them behanve next year.

Jack Frost (1996)

After a serial killer gets doused with some toxic, mutating ooze, a small town must deal with the terrible wrath of his new deep-freeze form (to say nothing of his horrific carrot nose and eyes made out of hellish coal). Although clearly indebted to the superior horror-comedy of Sam Raimi (the venerable director of The Evil Dead trilogy), this killer snowman movie is somewhat less than abominable (sorry), with a cheerful, wonky sense of humor, some intentionally cheesy special effects, and a creative enthusiasm that belies the obviously low budget. Good fun for the less-discriminating horror fan, although potential viewers should be warned in advance that a blatantly misogynist scene in a female victim’s bathtub crosses the line between enjoyably tasteless and downright disgusting.


Top Five Best Matthew McConaughey Movies

This is my list of the top five best Matthew McConaughey movies. McConaughey has been a proven draw at the box office since the mid-90s and continues to be one of the few actors that has been able to transition from action hero to romantic lead and into heavy drama. Lately McConaughey has garnered Oscar buzz for his supporting turns in both Magic Mike and Killer Joe. While he has yet to headline a blockbuster or win an Academy Award McConaughey has complied a solid list of films. The one-time Sexiest Man Alive has recently taken on serious roles in an attempt to distance himself from his clean-cut image.

U-571 (2000)

Box Office Gross: $77,122,415     Adjusted: $0

In this World War II action thriller, American reconnaissance agents learn that a German submarine is sinking. The doomed ship carries an Enigma Machine, a special coding device that allows high-level Axis forces to send messages that can’t be read without a similar encryption mechanism. Obtaining a working Enigma device would be invaluable for the Allied war effort, so a U.S. sub is sent out to rescue the machine. However, German forces have already picked up the sub’s distress signal and are en route to rescue their comrades. U-571 features a distinguished cast, including Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, and Jon Bon Jovi.

The Pros and Cons of Going to the Movies

Going to the movies is a recreational activity that has been woven into the fabric of American society over time. Movie theaters have been entertaining the masses for more than 100 years, and thousands of them have popped up in cities all over the nation since the first one opened its doors in Pittsburgh in 1905. In today’s competitive entertainment market, people that want to see a movie have a bevy of options. Even so, seeing a movie at a movie theater will always have its own special charm and magic. Here are the essential pros and cons of going to the movies.


Top 5 Best Clint Eastwood Movies You’ve Never Seen

This is my list of the top five best Clint Eastwood movies you’ve never seen. Eastwood has been a proven draw at the box office since the late 1960s and continues to be one of the few action stars that has been able to transition from Oscar winning actor into an Oscar winning director. For a time period in the 1970’s Eastwood was considered to be the biggest box office draw in the world. Even today at age 82, Clint is headlining a new film, Trouble with the Curve. While most lists debate the man’s ‘great’ films, I have complied a list of Eastwood flicks you may have overlooked. In the course of a career spanning 45 years, Clint Eastwood has appeared in 46 films.

The Beguiled (1971)

Box Office Gross: $1,100,000     Adjusted: $0

Close to the end of the American Civil War, injured Yankee soldier John McBurney is rescued from the verge of death by a twelve year old girl from an all-girl boarding school in Louisiana. At first the all-female staff and pupils are scared, but as John starts to recover, he charms them one by one and the sexually repressed atmosphere becomes filled with jealousy and deceit. A few of the girls go after him as well.

After rejecting the headmistress for a younger girl, McBurney gets his comeuppance in the form of some painful Freudian symbolism — he falls down the stairs. Eventually his leg is amputated by the headmistress, so as to avoid gangrene. After going on a rampage that scares all of the women, he reforms and announces his intention to marry one of the teachers, but it is too late; he has alienated the youngest girl, the one who first found him, by killing her pet turtle after throwing it aside in a drunken rage. In response, she is coached to pick mushrooms that the headmistress and girls use to poison him.


Has ‘Hit & Run’ Advertising Misstepped With Outlandish Critic Quotes?





No, these aren’t Earl Dittman quotes. These are the critic quotes seen on the poster and television advertisements for Dax Shepard’s and Kristen Bell’s (and Bradley Cooper’s cause he’s got the biggest name even though he’s not the star of the film) new flick Hit & Run, which hits (and then probably soon to run from) theaters today, August 22, 2012. If you break out your magnifying glass you’ll find the small print attributes these quotes to a Chapin Young of MySpace. It stinks of desperation. The Hangover and Bridesmaids comparison is especially pathetic, it’s clearly designed to make you think of Bradley Cooper. I wonder if he agrees. Not only are these quote-whorish lines very generic, but they raise the audience expectations to such a high bar that Hit & Run has no chance of delivering on. In fact I’ve read a few other critic reviews that call out these quotes and use them against the flick. Just having MySpace on a poster seems to bring along some sort of stigma all on its own.

Earl Dittman

Getting back to our Earl Dittman comparison here, if you remember in the early-mid 2000’s Dittman wrote rave reviews for some of that decades worst movies. This landed him on posters and DVD covers as he was the only critic the studios could quote for their crap films. Around this same time Sony created their fictitious critic David Manning so they could consistently have good reviews to source quotes from. The poor job of sourcing quotes created a backlash (which Sony had to actually pay money for in an out of court settlement) and audiences began to distrust critics and the studios when it came to promotional quotes. Now Earl Dittman is a real person, and so is Chapin Young. She did indeed work at MySpace, but never wrote a review for Hit & Run, or at least it was never published on the site. Further investigation turned up no review or article by Chapin Young on the Internet at all from which these quotes were sourced. This is much like Earl Dittman’s quotes, which were sourced form his pamphlet like magazine Wireless Magazine which was distributed to some theaters making the reviews themselves very hard to find.

Without the full review there’s no support for these lines, and perhaps that’s because these quotes can’t be supported easily. That plus the incredibly small attribution text (I had to pause the TV spot and walk up to within a few feet of a 65″ television just to make it out) to a critic from MySpace undermine the advertisements themselves. It’s sad really that anyone felt they had to take these steps to fill theaters, both Dax and Kristen along with others from the cast have worked very hard on getting the word out on this, but these horribly cheesy quotes have cheapened the whole affair.

I’ve been in contact with the producers and publicity for the distributor Open Road Films, neither of which have been fruitful in figuring out how these quotes from a nonexistent review came about ending up all over the advertisements for Hit & Run. I’ve also tried to contact Chapin Young, but have been unsuccessful. If anyone involved can clear this up for me, please contact me.

This all comes to the question are these overly kind reviews of widely panned movies done on purpose by these critics? Some would say yes, and in the case of Dittman-esque critics, have crowned them with the title quote whores. Sure there are a lot of stupid consumers out there that will get tricked by these one-liners. Just look at the back of any Asylum (the best at tricking people to watch their flicks) direct to DVD box. There you’ll find an amazing quote attributed to no one, so at least they’re somewhat honest about their trickery. Still most people that choose to watch a flick because it’s purported to be the “best movie of the year” by advertising controlled by the people who want you to see it will most likely be let down. And in many ways this type of advertising will get bites, but it will almost always sour the people on the hook.

Do these quotes make you want to see the movie?