Blog a movie and influence the world

Spotted in a post by Hugh MacLeod – an innovative (and, today, hardly surprising) approach to building buzz about a movie by getting bloggers to talk about it. In return, they get free tickets to the US preview.

The details are in an Instapundit post:

[…] The PR folks for the forthcoming Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, etc.) science fiction movie Serenity are inviting bloggers to advance screenings. […] It’s free, and all they ask is that you blog something, good or bad, about it. […] They’re full now (Friday p.m.) so if you haven’t emailed ’em you’ve missed your chance. Apparently the blog-response was phenomenal.

It’s that last sentence that’s the interesting bit. Already quite a bit of blog buzz on Technorati, some of which is as a result of the blogger promo (this one, for instance).

Stimulating blogs to build word-of-mouth spread of opinion about a movie really is a smart idea. Low cost but very high return potential. Some risks, of course – negative commentary could be what people will write. That’s likely if the movie is crap, in which case better get that fact out there early!

But if the people who blog think it’s a terrific movie, then that’s what they will write about. Others will see those posts and write about it as well (just as I’m doing). Pretty big opinion-spread potential in return for some preview tickets.

It’s also interesting to see this as a shift in "authority reporting". Take a look at a resource like the Internet Movie Database. Go to any movie listing – Serenity, for instance. In the left-column menu, Serenity like most movies has a link to external reviews – what movie reviewers say, usually in mainstream media.

Logical next development – external reviews that include what bloggers say (and think of the potential for spoken opinions in podcasts, too). This looks like it’s already beginning to happen as the Serenity review list includes a blog – The Movie Blog. But I’d also like to see reviews by ‘normal folk,’ movie buffs who also happen to blog (or podcast).

I know which type of review I’d more likely read (and listen to) today and be influenced by.

7 thoughts on “Blog a movie and influence the world

  1. One should know in case of Serenety, that it is a calculated risk – but which is probably not known to most.
    Firefly, that cancelled series, had a great fanbase which made this film happen. There have been such fans, that they travelled a lot to enter the prescreenings, at least 25 I know of which happenend throughout the US.
    Where they did not show the entire film, but the raw state it was in. And people loved it. They must have seen, what fan based forums have done and if you count two and two together, you know that blogs are next.
    The buzz from that like I got it for some months not from especially their show Wingin’ it has made me looking forward to the film and interested in *gasp* perhaps even in buying the DVD.
    So in my case, it is not the blogosphere, but constant talking about it in my podosphere which gets me interested: Over time, dripping in again and again, till I notice.

  2. Well, after looking at Instapundit’s post, I am not surprised they invited bloggers – the company that is handling the outreach is Grace Hill Media, which specializes in religious or family films.
    Past and current film campaigns include: A Walk to Remember, Because of Winn-Dixie, Kingdom of Heaven, The Greatest Game Ever Played, and the Chronicles of Narnia series.
    The odd thing is that Serenity could not be counted as a family film, particularly as one of the main characters is a concubine/consort. But, after looking at the campaign for Passions of the Christ, any entertainment publicity firm would be stupid not to look to grassroots efforts, including bloggers, for outreach.

  3. As Nicole mentioned, Serenity/Firefly is ALL about grassroots efforts. Extending out into blogs is a logical step. Calculated, but not really as risky as it seems. The cancelled series has a large and devoted fanbase that has been waiting impatiently for this film for more than 2 years. They are already blogging, podcasting, going to conventions, etc, etc. I doubt they really had to ask the bloggers to write, but I think it is fair that they did — it’s a simple exchange for the privilege of seeing the movie before everyone else.

  4. Hollywood apre ai blogger

    Lo staff di pr sul libro paga di Joss Whedon ha avuto un’idea innovativa e coraggiosa: promuovere il debutto cinematografico del regista noto per serial tv come “Buffy” e Angel” coinvolgendo anche la blogosfera statunitense. Il come รจ presto detto:…

  5. I was going to compare this to the grassroots campaign that made Passion of the Christ so successful, but I see Jeremy has beaten me to it!
    I don’t think grassroots would work for just any film, but this project has all the makings for a solid grassroots campaign. Combine the general Joss Whedon fan base, throw in the fans for the cancelled TV show, and you have a small but dedicated groundswell.

  6. I could even imagine this “Mommy? Could you please blog about it? I might be able to see this film again and perhaps they got special thinks too for them. Please?” ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Serenity and grassroots marketing

    About a week or so ago, I posted about the Joss Whedon movie Serenity as an example of how customers can effect change, when they care enough AND somebody is actually listening. The post also was my submission to this

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