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Creature feature's stealth campaign

WORD OF MOUTH

'Cloverfield's' below-the-radar marketing strategy creates pent-up demand for the throwback monster movie.

January 17, 2008|John Horn | Times Staff Writer

That's because Fox's "27 Dresses" is also opening Friday, and the Katherine Heigl romantic comedy is drawing strong support from younger and older women. Overture's debut feature, the Diane Keaton crime comedy "Mad Money," is appealing to older women primarily.

The highest-grossing Martin Luther King Jr. holiday release is 2001's "Black Hawk Down," which took in $28.6 million. But that film was rated R ("Cloverfield" is PG-13), and comparisons to "The Grudge" (which opened with $39.1 million in 2004 against little opposition) seem more fitting. "Cloverfield" will probably gross about $36 million over the four-day weekend and be the No. 1 film. In second will be "27 Dresses," and "Mad Money" probably fourth, behind holdover "The Bucket List."

What's not in doubt is that the "Cloverfield" campaign has been distinctive, creating pent-up demand by only teasing at what really happens in the film. And just as Abrams created end-of-season cliffhangers on "Alias" and "Lost," he, Reeves and Paramount have done the same thing with "Cloverfield's" ad campaign.

"To me," Abrams says, "the cliffhanger is as good as it gets. It's the best dramatic device."

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john.horn@latimes.com

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