Friday, November 4, 2011

Exciting enough for a whole month

Minor observation today. Could have to do with many movies out there, but today, it has to do with Tower Heist.

I was going to call this post "The semantics of hype," but decided that I wanted you to keep reading, so opted for the title I chose instead.

I'm sure I've seen this many times before, but for some reason, it wasn't until the Tower Heist poster that I consciously noticed that it doesn't include the exact release date -- tomorrow, November 4th -- but instead just the word "November." Or more accurately, "NOVEMBER."

This is a subtle but effective ploy that may not actually have been intended the way I'm positing, but it may have been.

My bet is not that they didn't know the exact release date of the movie when they commissioned the poster, but that listing a month instead makes it sound more exciting. Like, "This epic comedy heist thriller with an all-star cast is coming ... at some unannounced time during a month not too far from now." The vagueness of it somehow makes it grander -- just this single word "NOVEMBER" floating out there to taunt you and tease you and build your anticipation to a crescendo.

Or maybe I'm reading too much into it. That's a distinct possibility.

But they've kept the hype going in other ways, and again, this phenomenon is not unique to Tower Heist.

Those digital billboards around town have been counting down all week to the Friday release. They simply show the title, the faces of Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller, and the words "IN 4 DAYS" underneath. Of course, that changes to "IN 3 DAYS" and "IN 2 DAYS" before arriving at the ultimate in blow-your-mind nearness: "TOMORROW."

When I tried to snap a picture of one of these billboards, a funny thing happened. And I don't just mean my inability to correctly frame it through my car window:

See those lines coming across the billboard, as well as the dark patch that cuts off the bottom left side? Those distortions in the image are not visible to the naked eye; they have to do with the technology used to produce the digital image, and how the camera picks it up. (I'm not going to pretend I can explain this to you in accurate scientific detail, nor am I going to research a quick scientific explanation, but I'm guessing it has something to do with it not being a static image, but an image projected the same rapid speed at which a movie is projected, which makes you unable to see it as individual frames. Yes, I know that was a run-on sentence.)

The funny thing is, I didn't have to wait to see the snapped picture before noticing the distortions. Just viewing the billboard through my cell phone camera made the distortions clear. All I needed was an intermediary lens, and I also saw what the camera saw.

I don't know, I just thought that was interesting.


Mike Lippert said...

The best hype on top of only listing a month would to be to hide the fact that it was directed by Brett Ratner and co-stars Eddie Murphy.

Vancetastic said...

Hey, Murphy was good in Bowfinger ... yeah that was 12 years ago.

And Brett Ratner was ... okay, I see your point. ;-)

Don Handsome said...

They really really highly want us to want this movie, don't they...for a while, weren't they going to offer it via PPV on Thanksgiving Weekend for something like 60 bucks??? Maybe that's the reason for the NOVEMBER hype.

Vancetastic said...


Really? That is absurd, and much more hype than I ever would have supposed.

Actually, I haven't found the advertising campaign particularly suffocating or anything. But yeah, my guess is they have a lot riding on this movie. A lot of salaries to pay, and I'm guessing no one took a cut on their normal fee.

Vancetastic said...

And by the way ... your name is not "Dom."