This was NOT your typical press event. I mean, how many times are celebrities asked to stroll down the black carpet?
Photo by Nancy Stadler
But given that yesterday's event at the Loews Boston Common was to help promote DreamWorks Animation's "Bee Movie," the folks at AMC Theatres went all out. Decorating the lobby area in all sort of bee-related colors. Which explains the bright yellow balloons & caution tape. As well as the aforementioned black carpet.
Anyway ... "Seinfeld" fans from all over New England crowded into the lobby of the Tremont Street multiplex, eager to get a glimpse of their favorite sitcom star. Even members of Beantown aristocracy -- like Celtics coach Doc Rivers -- dropped by to get in on the fun.
Celtics Head Coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers signs an autograph for a fan at yesterday's "Bee Movie" press event. Photo by Nancy Stadler
Finally the man of the hour arrived. Having started his day in Toronto (Where he also did press for "Bee Movie"), Seinfeld was very gracious to his Boston fans. Signing whatever was thrust into his hands, while -- at the same time -- cracking jokes with the reporters who were gathered along the black carpet.
Jerry Seinfeld talks with the press during the Boston leg of his "Bee Movie" publicity tour
Jerry then led all those assembled in the theater that had been set aside for last night's event. Where -- after apologizing for arriving late (Evidently, Seinfeld and his cohorts had some trouble getting through U.S. Customs when they arrived at Logan) -- he introduced the directors of "Bee Movie," Simon J. Smith and Steven Hickner.
Hickner then grabbed the mike and walked those in the theater through a series of "Bee Movie" clips. Laying out the basic story of the film, which deals with Barry B. Benson (voiced by Seinfeld) who has just graduated from college but isn't quite sure what he wants to do with his life. Barry just can't bring himself to be like his buddy, Adam (voiced by Matthew Broderick) and throw himself whole-heartedly into the humdrum life of the hive. He longs for something more.
Copyright 2007 DreamWorks Animation. All Rights Reserved
Which is why Benson arranges to tag along with a group of pollen jocks one morning. Just so he can then get a sense of what life is really like on the outside before Barry has to become just another drone, making honey day in and day out. But then -- when those pollen jocks mistake a bright yellow tennis ball for a moving flower -- Benson finds himself swept into this amazing adventure. Where he first befriends a human florist named Vanessa (voiced by Renee Zellweger) ...
... Then -- when these two new friends make a trip to the grocery store -- Barry makes a shocking discovery. For years now, humans have been stealing honey straight out of the bees' hive. With little or no thought about what impact this theft might have on the greater bee community.
Well, Benson sees this theft as a travesty of justice. Which is why he decides to file a class action suit against humanity, seeking reparations for the hundreds of millions of gallons of honey that humans have stolen over the years.
Copyright 2007 DreamWorks Animation. All Rights Reserved
Based on the 45 minutes of footage that was shown last night, "Bee Movie" seems to be a smart but surprisingly sweet comedy. One that successfully translates Seinfeld's stand-up sensibility to the big screen.
But, of course, given everything that's riding on this particular animated feature ... Well, that's why Jerry is out there making this publicity tour. Talking with reporters, conversing with his fans. All the while reminding folks that "Bee Movie" will be arriving in theaters on November 2nd.
Mind you, this old fashioned approach to getting the word out about this new DreamWorks Animation release is coupled with a unique new hi-tech approach to promoting "Bee Movie." In that Jerry has shot 23 minute to a minute-and-a-half long promotional films (Which Seinfeld calls "TV Jr.") which will begin airing on NBC starting in October.
Each of these mini-movies tries to put a humorous spin on how animated features are actually made at DreamWorks Animation. In one of these "TV Jrs.," the studio's animators are working so hard on trying to complete "Bee Movie" that they're just not going home to eat, sleep or bathe. Which is why they're forced to "freshen up" by taking a bubble bath in that decorative fountain that's found at the center of DreamWorks Animation's Glendale campus.
Or -- better yet -- in another mini-movie, Seinfeld reveals the danger of making fun of the studio coffee boy. Whose last name just happens to be Spielberg.
As I mentioned earlier, these 23 "Bee Movie" mini-movies will be shown on NBC in the weeks leading up to the release of this new DreamWorks Animation film. But within a few hours of these shorts' initial airing on the network, these "TV Jrs." will then be posted on YouTube and/or on websites like AintItCool. With the hope that this move will help build good buzz for "Bee Movie."
Do you think that using the Web in this way will make it any more likely that you'll go out of your way to see this new DreamWorks Animation release? Or are you more impressed by old fashioned publicity events? Like Seinfeld's appearance yesterday at the Loews Boston Common, where he chatted with reporters and shook hands with fans? Which technique do you think works best when it comes to the selling / promotion of a new motion picture?
The best angle in the PR biz is to hit from as many angles as possible. Any one approach, whether it is on the Web or meet-n-greets,is not enough. That's why using the "healthy kids" route is not going to hurt the promotion of "Enchanted".
As for "Bee Movie" --- it probably is going to need all the help it can get (just a guess) Oh, and Seinfeld is HIGHLY OVERRATED!
I would say this press event worked well - as evidenced by the glowing review it received here. Then again, all Dreamworks press events work well here. Press events (regardless of how much they cost the studios) are designed to get so-called "free publicity" - the last 30 seconds of a newscast, or a newspaper blurb. Studios don't have the control they want over the free publicity, so to control the message and guarantee audience awareness, you gotta go with national tv ads, which is what the tv jr ads are. Different techniques for different goals.
AMC was paid for a theatre rental - they did not go "all out." Perhaps some concession workers helped put up the Dreamworks-supplied decorations, but AMC's main involvement was a projector and a room with seats.
Regardless, I plan on seeing this movie, and hope it does well. The times I've talked to him, Mr. Seinfeld seemed very genuine and your basic off-the-shelf nice guy. He's also fortunate to have the clout to get a good marketing campaign. At one time, he toyed with opening an advertising agency after his TV show ended, so he probably had some strong ideas about promoting the film. Already it's better than touring with an inflatable cheese slide.
Here's a little secret....NOBODY on Seinfeld was funny.........!
Jeez, I thought there was something wrong with me all those years Jim forced me to sit through the achingly-unfunny Seinfeld.
Glad to know I'm not alone.
fabshelly.....you have no idea what an uphill battle it has been when I explain to people that though the MATERIAL is funny.....I could not stand to even look at those actors on that show. yeah.....Michael Richards....Real funny guy?!?!!? I think the world arees with that one now....
One down....three to go..
And while I am ranting and this is off topi..., I have to say that Jim's book reviews seem to always talk about the best part of the books , which leaves me to be very hesitant on his reviews for books.
Everything I've seen so far promoting this film reeks of flop sweat and desperation. At this point I'll bet everyone at DW is just anxious to get it out and then go on with their lives and hope that the next film will be better.
Where's the scathing article that talks about how Bee Movie is in desperate trouble, that it is going to be very difficult to live up to the expectations set by Seinfeld, and how if the movie flops it could spell the end of Dreamworks and Seinfeld. What? Those are only reserved for Pixar movies?
I just don't like the tone I have been seeing that the OVERRATED Seinfeld is the bee all and end all to make this movie work. And since that topic has been mentioned let me say that I NEVER have seen a single episode of "Sienfeld" and quite content at that. But, it will be interesting to see if this movie does well, mediocre or flops in the tough animaion market.
First off, I want to say I enjoy Jim's site and also enjoy getting the "dirt" on all things Disney, but I have to agree with jewalker.
I thought I was the only one that thought that Jim was on Dreamworks payroll. It's not just this movie. Does anyone else remember the GLOWING articles about Over the Hedge? Where Jim was fawning over Dreamworks then too?
I guess negative articles about Dreamworks don't generate controvesy like negative articles about Pixar.
But in Jim's imaginary world,
Dreamworks = all things good
Pixar = Disney paid too much and Pixar stinks
But since Jim likes to talk box office all the time
Dreamworks - total BO = 1.7 billion divided by 8 movies = 211.9 mil avg
Pixar - total BO = 1.9 billion divided by 8 movies = 238 mil avg
*please note that Dreamworks achieved this ALMOST entirely with so many Shrek's I can't remember how many there are now.
In the real world,
Pixar = innovation
Dreamworks = ripping off Disney/Pixar or the same old crud over and over and over
BalooJ, I wish I was you.
jedited, I loved the hell out of OTH, but am a big fan of the comic strip as well. Disclaimer: When I saw it, I was on the way to Korea, so maybe it could have been Ishtar and I would have loved it, just from the Happy.
The idea that Jerry Seinfeld isn't funny is, well...hysterical! But, it does make very clear why most of the "full time posters" on this site are in love with numbers...because speculating on box office numbers and hemorrhaging over Disneys inability to market Pixar films, is really the definition of funny...so, you know funny! Just a thought, if Seinfeld were in a Pixar film, would he be funnier? Nah, you people aren't that transparent. So, just to recap, here are the new rules...
*Pixar = Infallible
*Dreamworks = Unfunny Pop Culture garbage.
*Motion Capture = The end of all that is good.
*Jerry Seinfeld = Not Funny!
Got, it...can I be in the club now?
While I like quite a few Dreamworks pictures (all the Shrek movies and Over The Hedge), this has the same tone of desperation and unfunniness that Shark Tale had. It doesn't look funny, and the campaign seems to be shoved down our throats. I gotta say, my hopes aren't high for this one.
As for the advertising, I think TV Jr is a cool idea. I can remember being a kid and going nuts whenever Disney did a little preview (like they do on Disney Channel with SuperShortShow) or a TV special (like they did for Hercules). When kids are so into YouTube and stuff, this is gonna be a chance for them to watch and re-watch them to get excited about it. Goodness knows I've done that with the Enchanted trailer....
Bobbydafan: " If Seinfeld were in a Pixar film, would he be funny? "
I don't think it's possible for him to be funny anywhere.
Now, annoying, you got something.
BTW, this does read like something I'd have written for LaughingPlace, back in the day.
I agree Seinfield is overrated and this movie is as well.