Fox’s ‘Flicka’ making hay

Studio trying to broaden appeal of horse pic

A horse movie is a horse movie is a horse movie, of course.

Or is it?

As Fox 2000 unspools its pony pic “Flicka,” the studio seems acutely aware of this mantra and its implications — that films about horses and the girls who love them are generally limited in appeal to those very same girls. (Think, most recently, of “Dreamer,” which grossed $33 million even with girl du jour Dakota Fanning.)

So Fox is trying to have it both ways.

On the one hand the studio has tried to broaden the appeal of “Flicka” — based on the classic children’s book “My Friend Flicka” — by aging the film’s protagonist from 10 to 16. (Alison Lohman, who plays the lead, is actually 27.)

And the film’s trailer looks more like a moody, adult drama than a kidpic.

Fox’s marketing efforts, however, presume that a horse movie has its limits. So, in New York and L.A., publicity has been relatively low profile. But in more rural areas, Fox has been aggressively campaigning church and school groups. It’s also targeted the horse community: “Flicka” has been promoted at horse competitions and there’s a film tie-in with Breyer collectible horses.

The film has also been plugged by Heartland hottie Tim McGraw, who stars in the pic. At his concerts, McGraw has crooned the original song he wrote for the film, while a trailer has played on a screen behind him.

Judging by early, enthusiastic reviews of “Flicka,” Fox may have shortchanged itself by not taking a more blanket approach to pushing the pic.

But with its modest $15 million pricetag, saddling up with “Flicka” is hardly a risky move.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety