‘Secretariat’ weighs marketing options heading into awards race

HollywoodNews.com: Walt Disney’s PG-rated horse racing drama “Secretariat” came in under its $15 million estimate, putting speculation on the film’s prospects heading into award season.

“Secretariat” tells the story of a housewife, played by Diane Lane, as she propels a horse to be the 1973 Triple Crown winner. The film cost $35 million, so it’s not likely that Disney will lose its shirt; not to mention the film bowed in the teen million range of other Lane films like “Unfaithful” and “Nights in Rodanthe.”

However, the film has put Disney marketing executive MT Carney in the hot seat. She recently dropped the ball on Mouse House bomb “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” which made $63 million at the domestic B.O. off a $150 million budget. Carney comes from a consumer marketing background and the Hollywood Reporter gave her the third degree recently. Disney’s had lofty prospects for “Secretariat” at the B.O. thinking that it could be their “Blind Side” this year.

“We always knew it was going to play better in the center of the country than elsewhere,” Carney said about the film, “We did hugely well in the smaller towns and didn’t do so well in New York and L.A. But we knew that would be the case.”

Similar to “Blind Side,” Disney targeted faith-based groups in its marketing. Carney is now considering new marketing options.

“One of the big things that we’re doing is to look at what’s working for us and what’s not working,” she tells the Reporter “I have radically changed the marketing team, and we’re going to be looking at the media mix and seeing where we should be spending our money.

“We have to look at what’s making an impact and actually driving people to see the movie — as opposed to what just gets people talking…Sometimes there is a temptation just to go for the shiny new thing. So if we should be doing more television, then that’s what we will do. If it means more social-networking media, then that’s what we will do.”

The Reporter mentions that Carney has yet to tubthump a film which her team has been involved with on the greenlight process.


Photo Credit: Disney

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