Total Movie: It's a Guy Thing

By Posnock, Susan Thea | Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management, November 2000 | Go to article overview

Total Movie: It's a Guy Thing


Posnock, Susan Thea, Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management


Sold with an action-packed DVD attached, this title doesn't focus on gossip, fashion coverage or idealizing the stars--just the cool stuff that's coming to the movies.

Film fans are not at a loss when it comes to finding information on their favorite topic. Given the glut of fan and industry Web sites and magazines, they are served a plentiful diet of their chosen genre. But the publishers of Total Movie are betting there's room for yet another course.

The guy-geared film magazine, launched at the beginning of September, is the U.S. version of Imagine Media's Total Film, published in the United Kingdom. Like other British magazines that have launched stateside, it is holding on to its "lad" attitude.

With that in mind, the launch issue featured actress/model Elizabeth Hurley in a snake and bikini ensemble on the cover. Even the publication's tagline reminds readers where the inspiration lies: "Maximum Movie Mayhem." Still, the creators say that they have to do more than follow the "babes and beer" formula to attract readers. Editor in chief Gary Whitta says readers should expect a mix of male and female covers. "I think it's an editorial device that works really well for magazines like Maxim, but I didn't want to get pigeonholed with having to put a 'hot babe' on the cover of every issue," Whitta says. "I want to put what I think is the coolest movie on the cover."

Targeting the DVD consumer

Bundled with a custom DVD that includes trailers, short films and other movie extras, the pricey bimonthly magazine ($7.99 on newsstands) hopes to lure film fans tired of reading about celebrity fashion or industry insider news. "People say there's a lot of stuff out there, but I'm not sure that's true," says Whitta.

"Premiere does a great job of talking about Hollywood culture and celebs and the business of Hollywood," Whitta continues. "And Movieline also does a great job of talking about Hollywood lifestyles, society and trends," he says. "But somewhere it kind of got lost that there should be a magazine that just talks about 'the movies' and doesn't get carried away with behind-the-scenes scandal or what celebrities are wearing this week. The idea was to create something that was more specifically targeted to young moviegoers who are interested in the cool stuff that's coming to the movies.

The DVD coverage is at the core of reaching readers with such interests. Publisher Steve Aaron says the magazine will capitalize on this growing market. "The idea is to use movies as a way to connect with that young 'I-guy'--the Internet generation," he says. According to the DVD Entertainment Group, DVD hardware sales reached $1 billion in 1999 with over five million players in consumers' homes. This figure is expected to reach 15 million by the end of 2001. Total Movie aims to capture this predominantly young male audience.

In addition to the DVD, the magazine features "The Knowledge," a section at the back of the book filled with DVD news, reviews and hardware. Other regular sections include "Coming Soon," which previews upcoming movies, and "Rough Cut," with the latest news and buzz. Features in the premier issue included the cover story on Hurley's film Bedazzled and the "20 Scariest Movies Ever," with comments by horror-maven Wes Craven.

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