If it feels like Hollywood doesn’t really make movies any more, maybe that’s because the two hours in a theater on which you may ultimately spend your $10 often feels almost … incidental.---
When it comes to big movie franchises, the name of the game is feeding the publicity beast—the online and broadcast entertainment news apparatus that exists to parcel out information. Here’s a simple formula for keeping your project in the news.
18 months to release date: Announce director selected as the “perfect choice for the material.”
15 months to release date: Announce casting of lead character, so that uninformed blog commenters can talk about why he/she is perfect/suckiest choice.
14 months – 13 months to release date: Leak casting of supporting roles, about one every three or four days, until it seems as though you are the only person who will not actually be in the movie.
12 months to release date: Announce beginning of principal photography, as though somehow we thought the movie would end up in a theater without somebody at some point turning on a camera.
11 months to release date: Release first “official” photo of
lead performer in the appropriate costume/hairstyle/badass pose. Hand that photo off to the people who are designing the toys.
10 months to release date: Leak pages of shooting script to popular geek-news Website.
Next day: Deny that leaked pages are legitimate.
Next day: Invite someone from popular geek-news Website for an exclusive set visit.
8 months to release date: Release first “teaser” trailer footage.
7 months to release date: Debut long-form trailer during Super Bowl.
6 months to release date: Do damage control on much-maligned Super Bowl trailer.
5 months to release date: Release new trailer, including an exclusive Web version. Simultaneously announce various corporate partnerships in such a way that the whole process somehow doesn't seem totally whorish.
4 months to release date: Give "exclusive" preview story to entertainment publication for its summer preview issue. Keep up those non-story press releases about your corporate partners.
3 months to release date: Give slightly different "exclusive" preview stories to 250 other outlets.
2 months to release date: Decide at last minute to announce that movie will also be in 3-D.
1 month to release date: Invite professional film junketeers to schmooze-and-view weekend. Milk fawning quotes for advertising while simultaneously pretending for other film journalists that a review embargo is in place.
2 weeks to release date: Let media blitz of cast members on talk shows commence.
1 week to release date: Announce record number of screen bookings as though that's actually news.
Release Date: No one knows quite what to do here, because it involves people seeing the movie.
Monday after release date: Spin weekend numbers in whatever way is most beneficial to studio.
Tuesday after release date: Promptly forget movie ever existed.