— by ALLISON HIGGINBOTHAM —
Hype can be either good or bad when it comes to movies. With some movies, the hype just builds anticipation. Other movies, however, suffer from over-hype and tend to be a letdown. Any movie based on a popular book, TV series or comic book usually get a huge deal of hype. Feuds between actors, the studios and directors can lead to media hype. And then there are always the award show nominee announcements (ask me how many times somebody looked for “The Hurt Locker” at Blockbuster before the Golden Globes nomination. Zero.).
Last year’s most-hyped film was, hands down, “The Dark Knight.” It was a summer blockbuster, Heath Ledger died before it was released and his performances was particularly noteworthy, and it’s part of a franchise. Some of the films on this list had none of those aspects, but people still continue to talk about them. The movies on this list are the movies that if you tell somebody you have no desire to see them, they’ll think you are crazy.
Before we get to the Top 5, here are the runner ups:
“Watchmen”: This one gets an honorable mention, because once the DVD came out, it seemed like everybody forgot this film ever happened. “Watchmen” was one of the first big blockbusters of the year and the legions of graphic novel fans made sure this film got a lot of press.
“Star Trek”: There was a lot of concern from fans of the show before this film came out, but with J.J. Abrams directing, “Star Trek” was going to have cult hype even if it was from people who had never seen the original series. Luckily, the reviews from Trekkies gave the movie a thumbs up and soon you couldn’t go a day without seeing some sort of “Star trek” ad.
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5. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”: This was one of those films that you were either going to see or not. This allowed the media to focus on one aspect of the film: Megan Fox.
Reports flew around that Megan Fox was bashing the film and Michael Bay. Some crew members trash talked her while others praised her. All this distracted us for a time from some of the truly terrible reviews “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” received.
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4. “New Moon”: Following the same vein as “Transformers,” you were either going to see this movie or stay home and lament how uncool vampires have become. This didn’t stop advertisers from playing up the “Team Edward” vs. “Team Jacob” hype. T-shirts, pillows, blankets, hand bags, posters, water canteens, Burger King commercials and baked goods were all made to exacerbate this.
Forget that you can just go to wikipedia and figure out who Bella ends up with if you haven’t read the books. You had to choose a team and relentlessly tell the other team they were wrong. Now I’m going to come clean. I fell for this. I made a T-shirt for the midnight showing that said “Jacob sucks more than Edward.”
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3. “The Hangover”: “The Hangover” was hardly on anybody’s radar while it was in production, but when critics started lauding it, word of mouth got around. By word of mouth, I mean all of your friends quoting it nonstop. And then there was the appearance by Mike Tyson that got people talking. By the end of the summer, almost everyone had seen the film, Bradley Cooper became a household name, and other movies played off of that. Watch the “Youth in Revolt” trailer and they’ll mention Zach Galifinakis as “the guy from ‘The Hangover.’” “The Hangover” has even become the unofficial spokesperson for today — National Hangover Day.
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2. “Paranormal Activity”: By now, you probably know the story behind the “Paranormal Activity.” It cost $15,000 to make, has no big name stars, and slowly crawled into theatres. “Paranormal Activity” ended up making around $100 million, thus making some people very wealthy. The film had a good marketing campaign to get the word out.
By using a website that allows people to “demand” that movies or events to come to their city, the misconception was allowed to exist that if you didn’t demand the movie, then there was a fat chance you were going to see it. The commercials urging you to demand the film also used footage of audiences reactions to make sure its claims as one of the scariest films ever were taken seriously.
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1. “Avatar”: The other day I went into a gas station to get snacks. While I was getting my wallet out, a ticket stub dropped out of my bag and I picked it up. The cashier assumed that it was my “Avatar” ticket stub and when I told her I hadn’t seen the film, a look of disbelief flashed across her face. When I go to work, my fellow coworkers either tell me how much they want to see the movie or when they are going to see it. Going to any movie Web site is almost a guarantee that you’ll see the word “Avatar” somewhere on the screen.
The hype for “Avatar” began months and months ago. From people talking about it because it’s a James Cameron film to Comic-con footage to articles being written about the groundbreaking special effects. From what I’ve been told, this movie lives up to its hype, which is going to make it more popular. So good luck if you’ve vowed not see this film, as the release of “Sherlock Holmes” hasn’t made any of the fervor die down. It looks like “Avatar” might be on its pedestal for a while.
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Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section.
Follow Allison Higginbotham on Twitter at http://twitter.com/allisonbh.