April 09, 2007

Will wonderful one-man one-sheet work once again?

The summer before last , writer/director Judd Apatow and Co. scored a huge hit with The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which was mass-marketed through a campaign with these simple, kinda retro-looking movie posters featuring an innocently smiling Steve Carell. Supposedly it was a bit of a gamble, since Steve Carell wasn't nearly the star he is now, but the ad was intended to parlay the main character's innocence and basically just let people know the movie existed without giving too much away or making it too raunchy.

Clearly Apatow is banking on the same strategy for this summer's entry,
Knocked Up. Not that the movie doesn't look like it's going to be totally awesome (cause it does), I'm skeptical that they will strike movie marketing gold twice in a row. For starters, Seth Rogen is even less recognizable than Steve Carell was when his poster made its debut. Carell had been a popular Daily Show correspondent, had supporting roles in huge movies like Anchorman and Bruce Almighty, and was starring in the then-fledgling U.S. version of "The Office." Rogen, on the other hand... well, I linked to his IMDB profile for a reason. Most people probably wouldn't even recognize him without a hint - he's one of those guys you recall as "Oh, that guy!" in movies.

Plus, I think the photo linked with the film's title may just end up confusing people ("Is this like, a sequel to Junior?"). Enter the little tagline at the top of course, but it looks a little too small and doesn't stand out enough to catch my eye, even on a billboard I might see as I'm putzing down La Brea at rush hour. What's more, she's prominently featured in the trailer, but I think Apatow's ad people are making a mistake in leaving out the undeniably well-known and popular (and judging by the trailer, very funny) Katherine Heigl of "Grey's Anatomy" fame. Rogen may be the lead and, as a great comic actor, deserving so, but Heigl could be their ticket to an even broader audience to make up for all the people who have no desire to see the bully from Donnie Darko get pregnant.

Finally, the 40
YOV poster got attention because it was original and simple. KU has certainly got the simple down, but as for originality? The ad might not catch as many eyes, and for those it does, it will probably only remind them of The 40 Year-Old Virgin. And although I would love every great comedy (like this flick hopefully will be) find an audience through its own merits, convincing people it'll be just like Apatow's last hit was probably the whole point in the first place.


Jason said...

I saw Seth Rogen in the Burger King across Jefferson from campus. This was like...8 months ago or so.

p.s. - I started a new blog too.

Dan Russell said...

Good call on this one. Knocked Up totally bombed.