Two unrelated events got me grumbling about movie marketing this week -- the DVD release of Adventureland, and a screening of Bobcat Goldthwait's new film, World's Greatest Dad.

What these two films have in common, aside from being low-ish budget hybrid comedies, is that they've been sold to the public as something other than what they really are. It's not an uncommon marketing tactic by any means, and at some point we've all bought a movie ticket based on an ad, only to discover that we've been misled. But it seems that studios, when faced with the challenge of how to sell films that aren't easily described in two sentences, are increasingly willing to promote movies as something entirely different, just to get butts in seats on opening weekend.

Over at the blog PopMatters, writer Bill Gibron offered an excellent observation of the practice, noting that the theatrical marketing of Adventureland pimped it as a Superbad-style laugh fest, when in fact the movie's a much smaller, less raucous character study/coming-of-age flick. And the marketing backfired at the box office. "Fans coming in expecting more penis-laden laughs were legitimately let down by Adventureland's wistful, warm embrace," Gibron writes. "Instead of scatology, they got sentiment. [Greg] Motolla's motion picture tribute received good reviews but did mediocre business, moneywise."
categories Movies, Cinematical