More often than not, if a great movie fails on release, it has something to do with bad marketing. Yes, the marketing of a movie matters a lot – in fact, so much that many studios today have the marketing department involved right from the start. And sometimes, they mess up. Pretty bad.
So, if you’re part of a marketing team that’s responsible for promoting a movie, this blog is for you as we are going to take a look at some awesome movies that failed because of poor marketing. So, without much ado, let’s take a look at these 5 movies that did not do well at the box office despite a great script and have poor marketing to blame for it.
1. Bridge To Terabithia (2007)
Based on an award-winning novel by the same name, ‘The Bridge to Terabithia’ is an intriguing movie about two fifth-graders Jesse and Leslie – one of those movies, you know, that tug at your heartstrings. It has a beautiful blend of friendship, loss, and grief. And years later, the movie’s fans still mourn the sudden, shocking death of Leslie (spoiler alert!).
But ‘The Bridge to Terabithia’ was not always a fan favorite. It almost failed at the box office. Well, the trailer portrayed it as something it was not. The audience got the impression that the movie was about a fictional magical place, you know, like The Chronicles of Narnia. On the contrary, its plot revolves around two very real kids and their overactive imaginations.
2. John Carter (2012)
It goes without saying but a good title goes a long way towards making a movie a box-office success. But sometimes Hollywood goes in the opposite direction. Consider John Cater, for example. This movie is an expensive adaptation of the story A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The protagonist in the movie is a normal American guy from Virginia who is transported to the planet Mars (but its inhabitants call it Barsoom) to save a princess. It is a space adventure with a lot of aliens, a lot of action, and of course, a hint of romance.
Unfortunately, the studio changed its name to John Carter – a title that failed to communicate the substance of the movie and was unappealing enough to put the fans off. And now we had a film with little allure to capture the attention of the masses. Over time, people have watched it and often find themselves surprised by how underrated this movie is.
3. Edge Of Tomorrow (2014)
This film, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, is a popcorn flick with a pretty good plot about the potential end of the world. But many movie fans were disappointed in the first title. Actually, this movie is an adaptation of a novel called ‘All You Need Is Kill,’ which the studio thought was a name too dark. So they changed it.
The title was a subject of constant criticism by fans who thought it did not capture the movie’s essence. To save it from becoming a disaster, the studio changed it to ‘Live. Die. Repeat.’ Well, again, fans thought it was not any better.
Despite a modest box office performance during its theatrical run, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is considered a successful film, both critically and commercially. But for an action-packed movie with Tom Cruise in the lead, it could have done much better with the right marketing.
4. Observe and Report (2009)
Released in 2009, it is a dark comedy film starring Seth Rogen. The plot is about a mentally unstable and delusional security guard at a mall who dreams of being a police officer. It is an intriguing watch with elements of comedy and drama while also exploring serious themes like mental health and obsession. But how this movie came out is also interesting in its own way.
At the time of its release, another movie, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” was killing it at the box office. Well, the studio saw it as an opportunity and started marketing “Observe and Report” to the same group of audience – disregarding the fact that the two films were quite different. Just tragic!
5. Mother! (2017)
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, ‘Mother!’ is a surreal film about the creation of life, the relationship between God and humans, and the destructive cycle of humanity. The movie creates a rich, thought-provoking cinematic experience for the viewers. However, it suffered greatly from how it was marketed.
The released trailers led the movie-goers to believe that it was a horror film, which it was not. After watching the film, the audience felt tricked and hence, punished the producers through bad word of mouth. Well, let’s face it- this movie was not for mainstream viewers and should have instead been marketed to arthouse fans.
And that is a wrap of our list. Marketing plays a critical role in the success and failure of a movie, which is well-demonstrated by the poor response that the movies covered here and the ones that we had previously covered in this blog would suggest.
If you have a movie in mind that could have been covered in today's blog, feel free to let us know in the comments.
We’ll be back with more awesome content for you to enjoy. Until then, stay tuned!