Wednesday, September 23, 2020

127 HOURS PRESENTS MARKETING NIGHTMARE

November 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

In times past, publicists for studios releasing horror movies would make the most of reports that audience members had fainted, vomited, suffered heart attacks or fled theaters in panic during intense sequences. They’ve been doing that at advance screenings of 127 Hours, too — but the studio, Fox Searchlight, is at work trying to play down that reaction. The scenes causing all the distress show star James Franco, as hiker Aron Ralston, amputating his own arm after a huge boulder fell on it when he toppled into a gully while on a hike in Utah. Worried that moviegoers may avoid such graphic realism, the film’s marketers have allowed those scenes to appear only fleetingly in trailers and on the movie’s website. As the website MovieMarketingMadness.com observes: “Some TV advertising was done, most of which focused more on presenting the movie as kind of a travelogue of a young adventurer than as some sort of triumph of the human will story. The fact that at some point [Ralston] does get his arm stuck in a canyon is mentioned, but it’s left to a couple of brief cuts to show what he does to get out of that. The remainder of the time shows all the crazy locations he visits and beautiful girls he meets.” Fox Searchlight is also being cautious in its release schedule. Although the film is directed by Oscar-winner Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) and although Franco is likely to bag at least an Oscar nomination for his performance, according to critics, the studio is rolling it out slowly, beginning with just four theaters today (Friday) and expanding it incrementally throughout the month.