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Marketing to Moviegoers

A Handbook of Strategies and Tactics, Third Edition

Robert Marich

Publication Year: 2013

While Hollywood executives spend millions of dollars making movies, even more money is poured into selling those films to the public. In the third edition of his comprehensive guidebook, Marketing to Moviegoers: A Handbook of Strategies and Tactics, veteran film and TV journalist Robert Marich plumbs the depths of the methods used by studios to market their films to consumers. Updates to the third edition include a chapter on marketing movies using digital media; an insightful discussion of the use of music in film trailers; new and expanded materials on marketing targeted toward affinity groups and awards; fresh analysis of booking contracts between theaters and distributors; a brief history of indie film marketing; and explorations of the overlooked potential of the drive-in theater and the revival of third-party-financed movie campaigns.

               While many books have been written on the business-to-business aspect of film promotion, Marich’s volume is one of the few that focuses on the techniques used to sell motion pictures to those in a position to truly make or break a film—the public. A highly navigable handbook that breaks down a complicated process into manageable strategies in an easy-to-read style, Marketing to Moviegoers is a must for all professionals and students in today’s rapidly evolving film industry.

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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p. 4-4


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p. 5-5


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pp. v-7


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-15

I acknowledge the following film industry executives, journalists, and supporters: Richard Abramowitz, Brian Ackerman, Rob Aft, Meredith Amdur, Christian Anthony, Steve Apkon, Louis Balaguer, Michael Barker, Elinor Actipis, Tim Baskerville, Henri Bollinger, Monica Brady, Evelyn Brady-Watters,...

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pp. 1-5

Film marketing grows ever more complex, and so this third edition of Marketing to Moviegoers: A Handbook of Strategies and Tactics is a net twenty-seven thousand words longer because of updates and numerous insertions. Outdated text and tables have been dropped. This third edition explains the array of...

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1. Creative Strategy

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pp. 6-42

Conceiving creative messages for movie ads comes down to conveying simple tales well told. For a Spider-Man film, don’t be boringly earnest or too literal, because moviegoers are already familiar with the property. Other times, simply serving up what is expected works great, such as the animated Bee Movie...

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2. Market Research

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pp. 43-76

Movies experience a charmed life early in their existence because layers of cheerleaders surround them. The upper-management executives who made the decision to produce a film (or acquire a finished movie for distribution) feel vested with a sense of ownership. The creative talent that sold the project...

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3. Traditional Media Advertising

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pp. 77-111

A famous retailing mogul uttered the preceding pithy statement more than a century ago, and his humorous observation still has relevance to the movie business today. Film distributors sense they are overspending but can’t quite figure out where, which makes them reluctant to institute cuts....

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4. Marketing in Digital Media

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pp. 112-146

When these intriguing words appeared in Fitzgerald’s 1941 novel, the movie business was actually a relatively simple enterprise. But today, “the whole equation” is mind-bogglingly complex and nowhere more so than in digital marketing of movies. Despite some proclamations to the contrary, new media is no...

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5. Promotional Tie-Ins and Product Placement

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pp. 147-180

With Hollywood’s major studios spending billions of dollars annually on release prints and advertising in the United States and Canada, there’s pressure to enlist third parties to help carry the marketing load. Thus, film distributors turn to tie-in promotions, which are cross-marketing deals in which...

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6. Licensed Merchandise

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pp. 181-210

The above quote, a clever inside joke from a scene in the Disney-distributed animated hit Toy Story 2, hints at a common dilemma in licensed movie merchandise. Although the Barbie-doll tour guide refers to “shortsighted retailers” as she gestures to ample merchandise from the second movie, she could also...

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7. Publicity

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pp. 211-250

Publicity is the most cost-effective but is among the least predictable disciplines in film marketing. Film marketers do not control the extent of press coverage, whether positive or negative, or the timing of its dissemination. However, when everything clicks, a publicity campaign subtly saturates the marketplace with...

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8. Distribution to Theaters

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pp. 251-286

Hollywood is obsessed with film grosses—as it should be. That’s the reason it’s called “show business.” Cinema represents one of the few film platforms where distributors collect film rentals—their share of box-office spending by moviegoers—on a per-person basis. One cinema ticket permits only one...

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9. Exhibition

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pp. 287-318

The U.S. movie industry depends on movie theaters (also called cinemas)—the equivalent of brick-and-mortar retail stores for other consumer-oriented businesses— to sell its products. Movie theaters promote Hollywood product and complete sales transactions directly with consumers. Those theater screens...

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10. Major Studios

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pp. 319-335

The reality is that the Hollywood majors are world-beaters in busines—nobody else comes even remotely close—so they must be doing something right. For all the knocks about inflexibility, the majors are changing with the times, as evidenced by their embrace of the DVD video format and entrance...

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11. Independent Distributors

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pp. 336-368

Independent distributors tend to fill market segments—meaning niches—not covered by the majors. They also focus on low-budget films. Roger Corman’s book How I Made a Hundred Hollywood Movies and Never Lost a Dime from which the above quote is taken recalls that the indies feasted on teen and youth...

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12. Foreign-Language Films

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pp. 369-389

When discussing foreign movies, what usually comes to mind is art house, which is the esoteric cinema most closely associated with Western Europe. Such a notion may have been the case in past decades, but today there are several diverse strands of foreign films in the domestic market (United States...

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13. Prints and Advertising Funds

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pp. 390-395

Hollywood knows what Shakespeare meant in presenting a king stranded on foot in the thick of battle and with victory within grasp but lacking a trusty steed. The movie business has its own version of this plight. Because filmmaking is capital intensive, the money spigot can run dry when it’s time to...


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pp. 399-408


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pp. 409-417

Author Biography

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pp. 418-433

Back Cover

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p. 434-434

E-ISBN-13: 9780809331970
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809331963

Publication Year: 2013