>The Twin Cities: Where Movie Stars Go to Promote

14 Jan

>Welcome back to The Sports Ace, where we always get four “Yes!” ratings from the judges on American Idol.

You may have heard about the new Kevin James movie, where he plays a mall cop. I heard about it, straight from James himself, many times…on my favorite sports talk radio station, on other area radio stations, in the local papers, on local television – even on Fox Sports Net North during halftime of the latest Timberwolves game.

It’s been well documented that Hollywood is trying new marketing strategies to sell movie tickets – and meeting moviegoers is one of those concepts. What’s surprising to me is how high the Twin Cities area seems to rate on the list of places for stars to spend prime movie promoting time. This area is well known as the place that produced the Coen brothers and the place where Diablo Cody wrote Juno, among other highlights. But in the last month (give or take a few days), two leading men have come to town and done touring junkets hyping their movies within a week of their release. James spent the better part of two days here, and Will Smith toured the Twin Cities in one whirlwind day just before the release of Seven Pounds.

I think it’s great that our area is at least a little bit relevant in some Hollywood circles and boardrooms. But these visits have caused me to wonder quite a bit. How does a movie’s marketing team decide where to spend its time in advance of its release? And why have they chosen to visit us here in so-called flyover land? Here are some possible ideas I’ve come up with…bear in mind that I really don’t know if these are true or not.

–Are we a relatively tech-savvy population, and we can Twitter and blog our thoughts around the nation?
–Do we house more people in the target demographics for the movies than other cities around the nation?
–Do we have more disposable income here than in other markets around the country?
–Are they coming simply because they’ve spent very little time and money here over the years, and they see an untapped marketplace?

Hmmm. I’d love to hear your thoughts/comments.

I’m out like the Timberwolves’ winning streak.


2 Responses to “>The Twin Cities: Where Movie Stars Go to Promote”

  1. Ted C. Williams 01/15/2009 at 11:26 AM #

    >It’ll be interesting to see how Paul Blart: Mall Cop does at the box office this weekend to see if the strategy works, because if this movie falters we may see the campaign-trail tour style of promotion end. I say this because you mention Will Smith’s tour in promotion of Seven Pounds, and that movie is considered a flop (when it comes to Will Smtih movies). As of Tuesday, the movie has grossed just a little over $67 million. In comparrison, Smith’s movie The Pusuit of Happyness grossed $163 million+ (this movie is also comparrible to Seven Pounds because it was released in the same month, had the same director and was also a heartstring-tugger of a movie).Analysts have blamed blamed bad weather, the economy, and how little of the plot was revealed during its promotion, but if more time was talking to Jay Leno and Access Hollywood and less to KFAN and K102, more people would’ve been inclined to see it.I think the $10 million range is a modest goal for Paul Blart to hit this weekend, as goofy Sandler-produced-but-not-starring films usually hit this mark, but if it dips below that dollar amount, expect producers and studios start to rethink this strategy.

  2. Ted C. Williams 01/18/2009 at 3:20 PM #

    >Follow-up: Paul Blart zoomed past expectations and grossed over $30 million this weekend (and the studio is predicting it will hit $40 million by Monday with it being MLK Jr. weekend).

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