Magazine article Screen International

Film Underserves Teens, Conference Told

Magazine article Screen International

Film Underserves Teens, Conference Told

Article excerpt

Speaking during a session dedicated to the making of his company's 2014 social smash Expelled, Brett Bouttier explained how the film's success was not entirely unexpected.

"There are very few films being made for teens," said Bouttier, adding: "Digital has created a new TV for them.

"We knew there was that opening in the marketplace and we knew the stars had the ability to be the marketers and not just the stars."

Expelled opened at number one on iTunes in December and stayed there for four weeks to keep the likes of rival new releases such as Guardians Of The Galaxy and The Equalizer at bay. The film drew approximately 15bn social impressions during active release.

Writer-director Alex Goyette commenced production on the high school comedy starring Vine celebrity Cameron Dallas on September 15, wrapped one month later and delivered the film to Awesomeness TV and distributon partner Fox before the end of November.

Awesomeness TV chief marketing officer TJ Marchetti, who worked on the Frozen campaign as svp of digital marketing at Disney, combined old and new craftto promote the film.

"These social media stars have different followings on different platforms," said Marchetti, who had to produce theatrical-worthy electronic press kits and make them seem native to social platforms.

He also devised campaign elements such as Twitter chats with the film's stars to engage audiences.

"This was a totally new thing for us," said Mary McLaren, evp and COO of Twentieth Century Fox, which handled distribution through its deal with DreamWorks Animation, a 75% owner of Awesomeness TV. Hearst owns the remaining 25% stake in the online company.

"For an unknown cast it's difficult to get platform support," said McLaren, "but I was very proud of our team to get iTunes motivated."

She noted iTunes ended up taking an 80% share of revenues on the film. The panellists declined to reveal production and marketing spend on Expelled, nor would they say how much it grossed across all media, which included a (limited) theatrical release - an element Awesomeness TV is exploring for future releases.

'Let the consumer be your guide'

Earlier in the day attendees at the Santa Monica digital conference heard Brent Poer, a branded content expert and global content director and president of LiquidThread, stress the importance of understanding the target demographic. …

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