As the Golden Globes grow in popularity, its noms and wins are increasingly leveraged by studio marketers to hawk theatrical runs, DVD releases and TV series.
Programming marketers agree that including the words “Golden Globes nominee” appeals to entertainment consumers — but by how much is difficult to say.
“Being nominated helped enormously,” says Andy Reimer, president of DEJ Prods., producer of “Monster.” The pic featured last year’s Golden Globe winner for best actress in a drama, Charlize Theron.
“An (indie) film like ‘Monster’ can’t compete for eyeballs head-to-head with so many other movies that were released and talked about as likely award candidates,” Reimer says. “We had to be the beneficiaries of critical attention.”
With a Globe nom already in the bag for Theron, distributor Newmarket Films launched “Monster” on Christmas Day at three theaters in New York and Los Angeles with a small media spend — and the hope that awards attention would carry it to a wider audience.
Popular on Variety
Newmarket also trumpeted Theron’s Globe nom in print and TV ads. Precisely one month after its very limited release — the day of the Globes ceremony — “Monster” had increased its play to 330 screens and its box office revenue had jumped 43% from the week prior.
The week after the Globes — and the same week Theron received an Oscar nom — “Monster” hit 668 screens and its B.O. shot up another 50%.
Another contender, “Mystic River,” saw its B.O. jump 13% last year in the week following its two Globe wins. The weekend leading up to the Globe ceremony, Warner Bros. increased the film’s play from 133 screens to 1,327, boosting its performance by 947%. Meanwhile, Focus Features’ “Lost in Translation” saw its box office take grow 18% the week leading up to the Globes ceremony — and another 114% the week after.
With Oscar noms and increased marketing spends factoring in heavily, it’s difficult to say if the Globes buzz was the catalyst for “Monster,” “Mystic River” and “Lost in Translation.” Perhaps a more definitive answer will emerge this year, since Newmarket is using a release strategy that’s remarkably similar to that of “Monster” for “The Woodsman” — like “Monster,” a dark psychological drama.
This time around, however, the film’s star Kevin Bacon hasn’t been nominated for a Globe.
In the film distribution biz, this is about as close to a controlled experiment as it gets. And studio marketers — who have been unable to calculate a value for the Golden Globes — could certainly use the data.”Since most studios and indies tend to launch or widen their films around the nominations — which coincide with the Christmas holidays — it’s not always possible to discern the difference between the additional media dollars being spent and the direct impact the Globe wins have,” says New Line distribution and marketing prexy Rolf Mittweg.
“Because (the Globes) are broadcast nationally, it gives awareness to your film, especially the ones that are still in release,” says another film marketing exec. “It does drive additional traffic to the box office, or maybe a slight bump in DVD sales, but that’s about it. Once a film runs its course of the awards season, you don’t really see too many DVD jackets saying Golden Globe winner.”
Indeed, a Globes win doesn’t add the kind of lasting capital that comes with an Academy Award. But Universal, which released “Lost in Translation” on DVD last year, did have some success by affixing stickers to the outside of the title’s shrink-wrapped box trumpeting the film’s Globes triumphsRetail orders for the DVD doubled and Universal ended up selling 1 million DVDs of “Lost in Translation” in its first week in stores.
Meanwhile, on the TV side — where Oscar noms have no barring — ABC began airing promos for frosh hit “Desperate Housewives” touting its five Globe noms soon after it received them on Dec. 13.
For the episode airing Dec. 19, overall viewership upticked slightly from the Dec. 12 show, 22.3 million from 21.6 million, and ratings in the adults 18-49 category shot up to a 9.9/23 share from a 9.2/20.
“Sure there’s a bump,” Fox homevideo VP Steve Feldstein says of the Globes. “Anything that puts it out in pop culture helps.”
In 2003, when Oscar nominees weren’t announced until a month after the Globes, the Globe impact is slightly more discernable. The weekend leading into the ceremony, Miramax doubled the number of screens “Chicago” was playing at to 557 and saw the film’s box office grow 53%. “The Hours” quadrupled its play to 402 theaters and recorded a 417% box office jump. The following week, all winners saw their box office drop off. Unlike the lasting glamour of an Oscar win, a Globe nomination or win’s effect on a film’s status is only a temporary one.