Friday, June 22, 2012
Final Thoughts on the Marketing for "Brave"
Of course, today is the big day. After a long wait (being announced way back in 2008! Remember those days?), Pixar's Brave has opened in theaters nationwide!
Now that it's out, I felt I would comment on the film's pre-release marketing. It seems like Disney's marketing for Pixar's Brave was essentially the antithesis of the controversial and deservedly criticized marketing for Andrew Stanton's John Carter. It's amazing how two marketing campaigns for Disney releases in one year could be both the polar opposite.
John Carter had lazy marketing all around, three lackluster trailers that failed to sell the film, a terrible title, underwhelming TV spots (including a dreadful Super Bowl spot) and a surprising lack of merchandise. Brave on the other hand has had four trailers, one of which was a scene from the actual film much like The Lion King's "Circle of Life" trailer. The teaser was dark and devoid of humor, which is odd for a teaser for a Pixar film. The final trailer ("Family Legends") was a surprisingly good trailer that wasn't a mess like the usual trailers for Pixar films. There was also some cross-promotion with the NFL. Also, for the first time in years, Disney joined forces with a fast food chain (Subway) to do a promotional tie-in. AMC Theaters played four Pixar films (Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3) in theaters over Memorial Day weekend with an exclusive featurette attached to the screenings. Then you've got merchandising out the wazoo, and tons of TV spots and featurettes, some of which were considered silly (The "Kilt" and "Freedom Broch" featurettes, for instance).
This campaign has gotten some criticism, as some think it was a little too aggressive. It seems as if Disney was over marketing this one, but methinks they want another Finding Nemo-sized success since Up (Pixar's first film in 3D) came close. Toy Story 3 inevitably cleared it, being a sequel. Cars 2 didn't, but I'm guessing Disney wants an original Pixar film to top $300 million at the domestic box office.
Personally, I've liked everything I've seen of it so far. The trailer showing the two-minute sequence from the film's first act ("The Prize") was breathtaking, the "Family Legends" trailer is one of the best trailers for a Pixar film, and the Mother's Day clip is absolutely beautiful. The TV spots are the usual, a clustercuss of chaos. The more goofy featurettes ("Kilt", "Freedom Broch", "Witches Brew") were amusing. I've avoided most of the promo materials they've put out in the last few weeks since I don't want to see anymore things that could be spoilers.
As for the box office, early projections have it in the mid 60s for the opening weekend. Personally, I think it could go higher. Box Office Mojo's forecast predicted that Cars 2 would make $59 million, it made $66 million. You never know, but with all this marketing, there is no way this will make less than Dr. Seuss' The Lorax on its opening weekend. For a while, I've been saying it should gross around the mid-to-late 70s, but we'll see on Monday. As for the final domestic total, I'm going to say $300 million, something I've been predicting since 2010 or so. Yes, $300 million... According to those who have seen it and other non-critic reviews, this one is quite the crowd-pleaser that is sure to entertain nearly everyone. Up almost got there, this should clear it. Worldwide, it should explode given the setting and 3D.
What are your box office projections for Brave? What did you think of the marketing as a whole? Sound off!