Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
July 12, 2010
Me bad?Kim Hollis: Despicable Me, the latest 3D animated feature, opened to $56.4 million. How did Universal pull off such an impressive debut in a field in which they've had little prior success?
Josh Spiegel: Marketing and 3D. I've been seeing ads for this film for the past year, and Universal has been relentless. Obviously, it helps that the reviews are positive (if not as glowing as they were for Toy Story 3 or How to Train Your Dragon), but advertising the movie nonstop for the past year, and highlighting odd and different elements in pretty much each ad, has helped. Moreover, the 3D elements have seemed, almost from the get-go, as necessary to enjoying the movie. Toy Story 3 has 3D that is subtle; Despicable Me has 3D that is meant to be eye-popping. Universal did the job right here.
Brett Beach: I second the abundance of ads and reviews that considering this summer's first half, were generous enough that they sounded like high praise. I don't get out to the theaters much any more but have seen spots tying in for this nightly on Wheel of Fortune (IHOP has several "Minion"-inspired platters) and on pretty much every NBC show for the last three months (including a skin-crawling one during Last Comic Standing, where someone in a huge Minion suit got on stage and the three judges on the panel looked like they weren't being paid enough to shill for this). The 30 second spots I did see highlighted the right amount of clever dialogue ("It's soo fluffy!) and juvenile humor ("I said 'dart gun', not ...." and the mini toilet spewing out water). My girlfriend cracks up at the Minions everytime so I can only imagine what the kids think.
Tom Houseman: When it comes to animated films, it's clear that quality counts. Every ad makes this movie look hilarious (when was the last time I actually laughed at a fart joke? Despicable Me got me with the fart gun), and obviously that got kids and their parents to want to see it. I'm not remotely surprised that this film did so well, and I expect it to have very good legs.
Matthew Huntley: Everybody seems to be mentioning all the movie's funny ads and trailers, not to mention the abundance of advertising, but I guess I don't feel as hounded by Despicable Me as, say, Inception or Twilight. With that said, I'm only one person and I agree with the rest of the group that Universal has been pushing the movie for a long time (I just don't feel as bombarded by it as other films). And it's not just Universal and its parent-company, NBC, but also Best Buy, with all their tie-ins to the Minion characters' dialogue. The studio did their job of making it out to be July's first big event movie and it paid off.
Generally, though, I guess it seemed like a different kind of animated feature for family audiences, and not just families, but also teenagers and couples. The movie is sort of universal in its appeal (just like Toy Story), but also different and original enough so that it became a must-see. Audiences are obviously swayed by the different (so long as it's marketed in mainstream fashion).