A few years back, Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones made extreme headway in bestseller lists the world over and inspired Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Phillippa Boyens to, together, pen a screenplay adapting the story to film.
Soon after, a stellar line-up of actors for the picture was produced, including Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Rachel Weisz, and Susan Sarandon.
According to New York Magazine, though, after the first few rounds of screening, the film’s marketing campaign had to be re-juiced to a new target audience . . . Twilight fans.
Yes, us. Back during opening weekend for The Twilight Saga: New Moon, we discussed the impact that the incoming numbers would have upon the perception of female presence by Hollywood, and, it appears, the prediction was correct: women are a thing of force in the Hollywood audience.
According to Variety,
Jackson suggested that they not open the film nationwide on Dec. 11, but just go out in a few theaters. Around the same time in November, Paramount began surveying people in shopping malls about TV spots for the film. They fully expected to get the best reaction from adults, particularly older women. How wrong they were. Instead, it was younger women and teenagers — the “Twilight” crowd — who were the most enthusiastic. Moore arranged for a test screening with this audience in Kansas City on Nov. 19 (coincidentally, Summit Entertainment’s “New Moon” opened in midnight runs on Nov. 20). Ken Kamins, Jackson’s longtime manager and exec producer of “Lovely Bones,” was at the screening. “The results were tremendous. That night was when the campaign began to change,” he said. If that’s when the change began, the film’s disappointing opening on Dec. 11 made it abundantly clear adults were no longer the target demo. And there was furious debate among critics as to Jackson’s use of special effects in portraying heaven. Yet it was the film’s spiritual themes, and the father-daughter relationship, that younger females responded in particular to, Moore said. Par cut ads playing these up and began airing spots on female-skewing channels, including Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network. Studio also quickly attached a trailer of “Lovely Bones” to “New Moon.”
Says New York Magazine, “In conclusion, all future advertising for everything will feature vampires, and when Twilight Saga: Eclipse arrives in theaters this June, audiences will have to sit through 900 trailers.”
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