Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

May 22, 2013

The Oxbow Incident

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Kim Hollis: The blame game has already started for Star Trek Into Darkness. What do you believe could have been done better to promote the film, if anything?

Brett Ballard-Beach: My father-in-law is a Star Trek fan through the decades (as are my parents) and neither of them knew as of two months ago that the film was coming out. Perhaps Paramount chose to focus on the younger audiences who made the last one so successful, and left the elders out in the darkness?

Bruce Hall: I am not sure that promotion was the issue, but I'll get to that. I think it's worth considering that Iron Man 3 and The Great Gatsby are still doing solid business, and considering the wide variety in Star Trek's demographic it's safe to say that both of those films had something to say about this result. Looking back, the 2009 film had no real competition, opening the week after X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a movie that was so bad my memory has largely blocked it out for my own good.

Getting back to marketing, there was definitely no shortage of it. I think the last minute early opening backfired somewhat when not enough people became aware if it in advance. I'm not sure that makes $15 million worth of difference, but it counts for something. But I think the manufactured controversy surrounding the villain may also have hurt the film, or at least it didn't seem to help. Those who cared subjected the issue to such intense scrutiny that when advance screenings finally revealed the truth about that and the clunky story, a collective "meh" ran through the online community. My own sentiments toward the film are positive but lukewarm, and that was enough to keep several people I know away until next weekend. Multiply that by "fanboy" and perhaps that's part of the problem here.


Matthew Huntley: Two possible causes are the title, which tapered interest/awareness, and the way the movie wasn't made to look all that different from the original. I think more people would have been aware of the movie coming out had it been called Star Trek II: Into Darkness instead. I know that sounds like a negligible difference, but it makes it more distinct. There's just something about Star Trek Into Darkness that doesn't roll off the tongue and I know a lot of people abhorred it when it was first announced.

Secondly, the trailer/ads simply made Into Darkness look like more of the same, and indeed it is. If Paramount had played up the differences between the first and second movies, however little there are, they might have garnered more intrigue/curiosity from audiences.

Max Braden: I think moving away from the old Star Trek environment was a risk that may pay off in the long run but may be hurting the series right now. The old series offered a simple scenario: Starfleet good, Klingons bad. The trailer for Darkness gives a murky presentation of who the villain is and why he would be would be an iconic foe. I can't even remember the name of the villain in Star Trek (2009), and they both "remind" me of the forgettable villain in Star Trek: Nemesis. Without the old guard, new audiences may just see this as a bunch of kids in costumes running around. Simplifying the presentation may be necessary to give a sense of what's at stake for the characters.

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