Jeff Wells over at Hollywood-Elsewhere brings up the specific marketing tactics being employed for Eat Pray Love – a film that is taking the road less traveled when it comes to releasing films now. ¬†Usually, it’s been screened and buzzed up by now by the usual suspects who dominate the web chatter. ¬†We know that most of the loudest of these are male. ¬†They target a younger, mostly male demographic sometimes referred to as fanboys. ¬†Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? ¬†So, it’s tricky marketing Eat Pray Love to THOSE people. ¬†This is a film targeted at women who watch Oprah. ¬†This is the demographic of the eternally tortured female nagged by media messages and the Male Gaze to be perfect 365 days a year.
This conflict is beautifully illustrated on AMC’s Mad Men with the character Peggy. ¬†Is she a virgin? Is she a whore? Is she fat? Is she thin? Is she married? Is she desperate? ¬†She is a working writer but always “the girl.” ¬†Slap some aging issues onto that and you have the Eat Pray Love demographic. ¬†I know this demographic well. ¬†I AM this demographic.
If you think of women in our culture (white, black, rich, poor, conservative, democrat – doesn’t matter that much; the issues are generally the same) as a ball of string winding itself up as tightly as possible in order to be what we’re all supposed to be, you can think of Eat Pray Love as an unwinding of that ball of string – a chance for women to say, “you know what, male-driven-culture? ¬†Fuck it. ¬†FUCK. IT. I’m going to live my life and have a great time.”
I bring this up not to shove the film down your throats, not to announce that I’ve seen it and loved it (I haven’t), nor to announce that I particularly want to see it (I get hung up on the “Pray” part of it) but to say that I give the marketing team props for taking this route – delivering it directly to the people who will want to see it (there have been screenings of the film, just not film-blogger-centric). ¬†And so what if it isn’t crowding out Inception for the number 1 spot of Most Anticipated Film of 2010?
There are three films opening in two weeks. ¬†Scott Pilgrim, The Expendables and Eat Pray Love. ¬†I will be curious to see which film makes more money. ¬†I would think that the Oprah/Julia paradigm would rule the day, but Oprah’s influence can sometimes be hit and miss, particularly where films are concerned.
By the way, just because its target demo is the over-40 female set doesn’t mean that men who also feel like “just letting go” won’t want to see it. ¬†Maybe they want to have a relationship with their pizza and have all kinds of crazy sex in foreign countries with the likes of Javier Bardem.
In other Oprah news, Own: The Oprah Winfrey Network, which will be launched next year, is producing five original two-hour documentaries withJulia¬†Roberts, Forest Whitaker, Goldie Hawn, Gabriel Byrne and Mariel Hemingway.
Clips courtesy of ONTD