Previews tailored for foreign markets

The common-held belief that Europeans are more tolerant of libertine lifestyles and racy content might not hold up to scientific study, but it certainly can open doors for trailer houses.

Sony Pictures red-band trailer for “The Ugly Truth” played online in the U.S. where it was restricted to ages 17 and over, but theaters in Europe gave it a free pass. “It was successful because you can do more in Europe,” says Sony Pictures president of worldwide marketing Marc Weinstock. “And this trailer was very true to the movie.” The 2009 comedy’s box office tilted 57% to 43% in favor of international returns.

When Universal rolled out “Bridesmaids,” the studio knew women in a wedding party was not a social tradition familiar in every territory. “But the concept of friends celebrating a marriage does travel well,” says Simon Hewlett, executive VP, marketing for Universal Pictures Intl. Universal has a London-based creative team crafting its international trailers.

The biggest challenge is the timeline for creating overseas film trailers — often half the length of theirYankee brethren — as international release dates are often simultaneous or occasionally ahead of domestic. Stateside, trailers can ship a week after finalized, but internationally it’s at least a four-week process due to numerous film classification reviews around the world, subtitling and voice dubbing.

“It can be tough because the trend is for films to get delivered later and later,” says Kieran Breen, exec VP international theatrical marketing at 20th Century Fox Intl.

Also pressuring the clock is testing trailers of non-tentpole films in foreign territories to see if a theatrical release is warranted and, if so, to finetune the campaign.

“No market is a cookie cutter,” says Vincent Bruzzese, president Worldwide Motion Picture Group at the Ipsos OTX research/consultancy shop. “What works in one country may not work in another.”

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