1997-1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002+
How Godzilla Affected Episode 1
Whether you liked Godzilla or not, there's no denying that Godzilla
had an impact on Epsiode 1 on several levels. Here's a few I thought
of. BTW, apologies for my grammar. I'm just an Aggie Engineer, you know. .
Godzilla started blasting us with trailers a year before the film came
out. There were billboards, ads, and merchandising out the wazoo.
You couldn't turn around without seeing something Godzilla related.
In the end, all of the money spent on the ad campaign was wasted
money. In fact, it made some people very much turned off. Originally
Fox was chomping at the bit to start hyping Episode 1. After all,
they've given up quite a percentage of the profits on the film to
Lucas, so they want to get a lot back. As you would expect, Fox
immediately backed off when they saw the results of Godzilla's
multi-million dollar ad campaign go down the toilet. That's one of
the reasons why you probably won't see a trailer till Christmas.
That, and also because Lucas said so. :)
The "Plot Does Matter" poster, while a little harsh to ol' Devlin, did
make a good point that Lucasfilm has stated all along. A good effect
is nothing without a good story. (Still, I must admit, I didn't walk
into a Godzilla film expecting Shakespeare. Wasn't it based on a
movie about a man in a rubber suit stomping cardboard buildings?)
Half of the hype around Godzilla was hiding the monster. However, as
a friend of mine once said, if you can't deliver AFTER showing the
creature, then it's simply not going to work. There's got to be a
strong story behind it, and the audience expects it even more now than
before. Hopefully Lucas can deliver.
The studios had unusually high requirements when it came to the number
of screens showing the film and the percentage of profits each theater
had to give up to show the film. When it went bust, they lost a lot.
How will this affect Episode 1? Fewer theaters showing it? Lower
confidence by theaters owners? It's kind of hard to tell. But Star
Wars is rather special, and I think a lot of theater owners know that.
Godzilla may have no effect at all on the distribution of the film.
I'm not sure how well Godzilla toys are doing, but you've got to think
that Star Wars licensees are watching how things go. However, they
already have so much money wrapped up in the rights to the licensing,
they better make good money at it. Just ask Galoob who's now almost
bankrupt because of the situation. Will they blitz the market to get
their money back or will they show the restraint that Lucasfilm might
want them to? Judging by the popularity of Star Wars toys, it may not
even matter at all. Star Wars toys are one of the top most successful
lines around. The rules change here, too.
The press is a lot like a shark. When they smell blood, they move in
for the kill. The press smelled blood with Godzilla, and the critics
ripped it to shreds. I can imagine the glee reviewers had as they
looked up new words for "it sucked" in the Thesaurus for their
articles. Why do they attack like that? They love to take the
biggest, most hyped movies of the summer and find fault with them.
Episode 1 has got to be the mother of all movies to take down a notch
for them. Will they give it a chance or are their expectations too
high (like the fans)?
Also, take the bogus report on the rumor that 40% of the footage was out of focus. Anyone who actually stopped to think about the probability of that occurring would realize the astronomical chances against it happening. However, that report made it to Yahoo News, E! Online, Jam Movies, a Chicago radio station, and even a newspaper in Sweden. All of these reports were solely based on unsubstantiated reports from the net, yet these "respectable" publications all reported on it. Will they print a correction? Highly doubtful. Why did they do it? It goes back to the "cut you down to size" mentality of the press.
These are just a few of my thoughts. I think you can see the same
effect on other films. Disney learned it's lesson from it's previous
films. Now Mulan is hitting the screens with a minimum of hype. It
seems to be working, too.
One question to leave you with: what will be Lucasfilm's strategy
overseas? It's a whole different ball game over there. To hype or
not to hype? That is the question.