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Monday, September 29, 2008

A Little Taste of Kirktracting

While Ray will disagree, yet more quote mining has popped up on his blog in regards to the article about Mr. Cameron.

From the original article on eonline:

Shia LaBeouf has starred in three straight No. 1 movies. Kirk Cameron hasn't seen his face on a multiplex screen in seven years. Guess who's the hottest ticket heading into the weekend?

Sure about that?

In terms of advance sales, Cameron's Fireproof, an ultra-low-budget marriage-minded family drama opening on about 800 screens, has smoked LaBeouf's $105 million, opening-everywhere thriller Eagle Eye.

Surprisingly perhaps, box-office experts are not surprised...

"I just think that that market is particularly aggressive in group sales," says Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock.

That market consists of churchgoers and followers of Christian groups—the moviegoers who helped make Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ a blockbuster, and the lesser-known Facing the Giants a fairytale success. (Made for a pittance, a reputed $10,000, the football- and God-grounded Facing the Giants grossed more than $10 million in theaters in 2006.)

Fireproof seems primed to follow those films' paths.

The Christian leader James Dobson's Focus on the Family prominently plugged the film. The Baptist Press urged readers: "Get your church behind it. Mark the weekend of Sept. 26-28 on your calendar. And go see it."

The call was heard.

Fireproof accounted for a whopping 40 percent of all advance sales this week on Fandango, the ticket service said today. Eagle Eye was a distant second, representing 17 percent of sales. (Fandango and E! Online are both owned by Comcast.)

At Movietickets.com, the story was the same. Through Wednesday, Fireproof was leading the week with 23 percent of all advance sales. No other movie, Eagle Eye included, was even in double digits.

Despite the eye-popping advance-ticket numbers, Eagle Eye, not Fireproof, is expected to be the weekend's No. 1 movie.

The LaBeouf movie's shooting for a $30 millionish opening; Bock says Fireproof, which cost well under $1 million to produce, would do well to open with $3-$5 million. (Facing the Giants bowed with $1.3 million.)

"Kirk Cameron has really established himself in the Christian community," Bock says.

A 1980s teen idol of Growing Pains fame, Cameron, now 37, has become better known this decade for his work with his ministry and TBN show, The Way of the Master. He also starred in the first two movies from the Rapture-focused Left Behind series.

This week, Cameron promoted Fireproof beyond the Christian press, including a stop on NBC's Today. And while the movie wasn't screened in advance for critics, Samuel Goldwyn Films, which is distributing Fireproof, hopes the film can build on its base.

Said Michael Silberman, Samuel Goldwyn distribution chief, in an email, "We expect the excellent word of mouth from the opening weekend audience to influence a broader audience to see an uplifting movie with a positive message about marriage."


So the fact that people bought the tickets to see the movie ahead of time proves that Fireproof is the better movie, you see.

Yep, it has nothing to do with:

  • The smaller amount of blockbusters in the early fall.
  • The limited number of theaters that would actually show Fireproof. (Only 10 screens in the whole New York City area (New Jersey included))
  • The Christian organizations that have been promoting the crap out of the film (and making fun little group trips to see it).
  • Advanced ticket sales don't mean crap.
Nothing to do with those at all...

If all the nonbelievers out there were to organize into a group to go see Religulous, the resulting amount of presales wouldn't prove the movie to be good or not.

Most presales go toward groups going to see a movie, such as day camps seeing a cartoon once a month. This is what can account for the amount of pre-sales. (Groups also tend to get discounts for the number of people they bring (food costs more than the ticket) and for churches, tax exemption.) Is there an organization out there that could group around the movies Eagle Eye, Choke, or Lakeview Terrace?

No.

The article also explains that Fireproof has not been screened by critics before release. Most movies with this qualification were either (1.) big stinkers or (2.) summer blockbusters which are usually not too in-depth anyway.

Let's face it. Christians would see this movie regardless of whether it was a mushy steaming pile of dog shit (which I feel it is) or not, and most of them would be from advanced ticket sales.

25 comments:

  1. Hmm. Whatever happened to that ironclad promise, you know the one: "Wherever two or more of you are gathered in my name, whatever you ask will be granted."

    Something like that.

    Apparently these bleevers can't organize themselves to pray for world peace (as evidenced by our not having any of same), but they can organize to boost the ticket sales of a silly movie.

    Mmmkay.

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  2. Funny that he doesn't point out that Eagle Eye was the number one movie in the country, beating this movie 4 to 1. Also, the money count went down from Friday night to Sunday. This means that it has already shot it's wad. But this kind of information, truth, wouldn't make it on Ray's site. It doesn't fit the propaganda.

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  3. I don't really want to bash a Christian movie, especially one that I haven't seen, but I will say that I didn't like all the pre-release hype.

    The reason is, the churches were sent the film, ours included, very early on so that the pastor and staff could preview it, order tickets and then sell them to the congregations.

    I have no idea if this is right, wrong, good, or bad. All I can say is it didn't feel right to me.

    I felt the same way when Facing the Giants came out. The hype, on Christian radio was unbelievable. Our church had a screening of it and I just didn't see the excitement in it.

    I thought it was great that a church could do this with their members as the actors, etc., but I really didn't see an extraordinary story there. Lifetime TV, maybe.

    But then it takes a lot to excite me I think.

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  4. Yaeger, I'm not at all convinced that this is an example of Ray's quote mining.

    To be sure, christian leaders and activists are responsible for the respectable showing on that first night. However, Ray's enthusiasm is justified regardless of who engineered the first few nights' attendance.

    The guy annoys me - but in this case, he gets to be smug without having insulted logic or rationality.

    IMHO

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  5. I don't mind a "Christian" movie per se, but the clips I saw of Fireproof, well, it just looked bad. But I guess for believers the "message" is more important than "art". Or even just competency.

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  6. Heh. I wanna see 'Fireproof', because I can't rip it to shreds until I have.

    But I don't really want to subject myself to such torture and besides, I'd need to bring my own paper bag. Plus I don't really want to add my money to the 3-5 million "love offerings" they're expecting.

    I do have an idea, though: the Raytractors should get together, shoot a christian movie, market it as a christian movie, and make millions of dollars! Maybe we could even get Ray or Kirk to do a cameo!

    Ther trick would be putting in enough evil subliminal messages to allow the actors to do the preaching with a straight face.

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  7. for believers the "message" is more important than "art"

    In this case, you're dead-nuts on-the-mark.

    Enterprising capitalists are all too eager to turn this into profit, as well.

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  8. Interesting point, too: none of the other 'blockbuster' movies out at the moment interest me in the slightest. The marketers of Fireproof timed it well: if it had come out at the same time as anything worthwhile, it's stats would have sucked.

    Well, OK, Eagle eye looks minorly interesting. Nowhere near interesting enough to watch in the cinema, though: I'll wait for the DVD release.

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  9. the Raytractors should get together, shoot a christian movie, market it as a christian movie, and make millions of dollars!

    I'm pretty sure we just donated almost 10K for a new website; all we hafta do is get marketting on board with this, and we're golden...

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  10. The sun-sation of Fireproof, starring explosive actor Kirk Camoran in an attempt to reheat his smouldering career, has begun to run out of fire provided by it's heated furnace-mentalist Christian fans, after being flamed by critics worldwide.

    ...

    NOOOOOO... no more puns!! It huuurrts...

    PS: the word verification string was "fkill". I guess the computer hates puns too...

    ReplyDelete
  11. The media is racist against Christians because reviews say a Christian movie stinks? They're a race now? Eek gads!

    Secular review: "Soppy drama, been there, seen that. Cameron could've been replaced by a nondescript block of wood for an improved performance."

    Christian review: "This movie is so biblical that it can't be a bad movie. It represents biblical values so if I hate this movie I risk going to hell. Thumbs up! Kirk ur so hot have mah babby!"

    Yeah, I'm a racist too.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Kirk Cameron can kiss my flaming hot ass, or send in his wife to do it for him.

    lol - the word verification is
    huz r as

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow - I'm pretty sure the Rayalites are reading this; they've posted another "Kirk's Movie kicks sinner bottom!" thread over at his funhouse...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Allfiredup is having fun over there.

    "Watch the atheistic media try to sweep it under the proverbial carpet."

    Isn't it fun how we went from "The Jew-run media" to "The Liberal media" and now the "Atheist media"?

    I'm so glad we live in a country where atheists are in the majority and we can impose godlessness on others

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  15. Blogger Freed said...

    I don't really want to bash a Christian movie, especially one that I haven't seen, but I will say that I didn't like all the pre-release hype.

    The reason is, the churches were sent the film, ours included, very early on so that the pastor and staff could preview it, order tickets and then sell them to the congregations.

    I have no idea if this is right, wrong, good, or bad. All I can say is it didn't feel right to me.


    It's all marketing. I can't blame them for wanting to make money. (movies are expensive to make) So they go to where the audience is and try and drum up some sales.

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  16. I couldn't stand it. So I posted at Rayworld:

    In other movie news:

    Muslim Children Gassed at Dayton Mosque After "Obsession" DVD Hits Ohio
    by Chris Rodda
    Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 08:50:29 PM PDT

    Seems this DVD has been distributed in swing states via direct mail and newspaper insertion, then somebody sprayed a chemical irritant through the open window of a mosque -- into a room full of children and infants being cared for while their parents were at prayers.

    I'll be watching for your energetic denunciation of this hateful act, Ray.

    [Story available at Daily Kos and elsewhere]

    Posted at Ray's blog (whatever it's called today) September 30, 2008 2:19 AM

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  17. I for one, will be going to see Religulous on Friday.

    Unless someone else gets there first, I'll write a wee review over the weekend and post it with the weekend Box Office figure on Sunday night.

    Any chance there's a scene in Fireproof where Kirk has to make a choice of who to save from a raging, godless inferno; a phial of fertilized eggs or a small girl? No, didn't think so.

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  18. I, for two am going to see Religulous on Friday.

    I've been waiting a year to see it. Since I first read how Maher scammed Ken Ham into giving him an interview at the grand opening of the Flinstone Sin and Salvation Adventure Land.

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  19. I wonder what sort of box office 'Fireproof' is doing outside of the U.S?
    I haven't seen it, so can't comment on the film, but I suspect Police academy 36 would draw in more punters here in the U.K.

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  20. I was thinking about a christian movie I do like.
    They can't be all rubbish.
    The only one I found was 'Luther'. Not exactly my favorite film and my protestant (lutheran) father didn't like it (well he's not so fond of watching movies, anyway), but at least I didn't feel like I wasted my money on it.
    Do you know some other christian movies worth watching?

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  21. So the fact that people bought the tickets to see the movie ahead of time proves that Fireproof is the better movie, you see.

    where did you see such a claim?


    Yep, it has nothing to do with:

    * The smaller amount of blockbusters in the early fall.
    * The limited number of theaters that would actually show Fireproof. (Only 10 screens in the whole New York City area (New Jersey included))
    * The Christian organizations that have been promoting the crap out of the film (and making fun little group trips to see it).
    * Advanced ticket sales don't mean crap.


    Ignoratio elenchi: irrelevant conclusion. The article claims that a market exists for a movie like Fireproof to succeed. All of your points are irrelevant because they do not address the claim.

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  22. Tilia said: Do you know some other christian movies worth watching?

    I actually didn't mind The Chronicles of Narnia. It didn't preach, and to be perfectly honest there wasn't much beyond some minor symbolism that suggested religion at all.

    It was heavily propped up by Christian media and marketting - but it was fairly entertaining on its own.

    Not my favorite movie, of course - but it was enjoyable.

    I also like The Temptation of Christ, myself. A bit old, the sound track (Peter Gabriel!) and acting were great, and not having an intimate knowledge of scripture, I found the twist at the end a great interpretation of the whole thing.

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  23. Whateverman:

    Do you mean The Last Temptation of Christ, with Willem Dafoe? I don't know about Protestant Evangelicals, but Catholics hated it. That's when William Donohue first made a name for himself. They staged a mock crucifixion, out in LA, I believe. The Narnia movie was a decent movie, but Aslan is Christ. That was pure Christian allegory by CS Lewis. I liked the movie about Lewis, Shadowlands, but then I think Anthony Hopkins is a great actor.

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  24. Somehow I lost my last response...

    You're right, Rufus - thanks for the correction.

    A tanjent - I own the soudtrack to that movie, and have loved it for almost 2 decades. back when it first came out, we found Peter Gabriel had put out a second/companion album called Passion - Sources.

    It's a list of the original tracks that he sampled and used in the final soundtrack. It can be a bit hard on the ears, especially for someone used to Western music - but I hafta say that this album is one I'd want to be stranded with on a desert island.

    There are some very famous names on it (probably none of whom you've heard of). If you've got ecclectic tastes, and like being exposed to new stuff - I couldn't recommend more strongly.

    At the very least, it'll help you discover Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

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  25. whateverman,
    you're right. Narnia is OK. I also liked the books, but I shouldn't have read the last one.

    ReplyDelete

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