April 19, 2014

Tag Archives: Mars Attacks!

Warner Bros hides Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows…

HollywoodNews.com: There’s a new Tim Burton coming out from Warner Bros. in just over two months. Aside from a couple stills and some half-hearted interview statements from the cast and Mr. Burton, we haven’t heard or seen a thing from it. No posters, no trailers, no TV spots, nothing. It’s October of 1996, and I’m of course referring to Mars Attacks!. Many of my readers are too young to remember way-back-when, but the near-absence of marketing materials for Tim Burton’s $80 million private-joke (which today plays like half-blockbuster deconstruction and half-right wing political fantasy) was a source of frustration for a 16-year old Tim Burton fan who was eagerly awaiting that first preview. Today we stand in the same boat with another Warner Bros-funded Tim Burton ‘comedy’. But just over fifteen years later, what was a source of frustration is now a pleasant surprise.
Nine weeks to go, and I really don’t need to see an onslaught of spoiler-filled marketing materials for the upcoming Dark Shadows. Ten weeks to go, and I have absolutely no idea what kind of film Tim Burton and his merry band have delivered. I don’t know what it looks like, what the tone is, or all-that much about the plot. And in this era of ‘spoil the movie a year in advance’, that’s a special thing indeed.
Whether because Warner Bros. didn’t know how to sell the sci-fi horror/comedy or because they saw the writing on the wall and tried to limit their financial losses, the studio waited until 4 weeks prior to release to unleash that first Mars Attacks! trailer. Attached to Space Jam, the 2.5-minute trailer was pretty much all we saw of the film in America, aside from a TV spot or two until Thanksgiving weekend, when Warner Bros. held a national sneak preview. I attended that sneak preview, loved the hell out of the movie, and spent the next two weeks trying (in vain) to convince friends and peers that it was absolutely worth checking out. But, in retrospect, it was a pretty stupid idea for Warner Bros to sneak a genuine cult film so that the few die-hards could see it two weeks early and not contribute one dime to the box office (all ticket sales went to Space Jam, which played for free afterward). But come [...]