Opinion: Fox’s Marketing Campaign for ‘Dawn Treader’

Posted December 16, 2010 1:16 pm by fantasia_kitty

By fantasia_kitty

There’s been a lot of feedback on our forum and news story comments on Fox’s marketing campaign for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Mainly, how poor it was based on how the movie is doing in theaters. But is that really Fox’s fault? I’ve typed up my own thoughts on Fox’s marketing campaign.

Positives:

The Dawn Treader at Cleveland Point - Picture sent to us by ellz_bellz

There were a few things that Fox did I thought were truly brilliant. First, when they opened up The Spit and the Cleveland Point filming locations in Australia to the public eye. Watching the Dawn Treader being built on the opposite side of the world, and even though I wasn’t there, getting to see the daily progress of the sets being built and then filming on them was just so very cool! This was easily when I was most excited about The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

The second superb thing they did, and in my humble opinion the best piece of marketing anyone has done for any of the movies, was Operation Narnia. It may not have been the best draw for the movie perhaps, but the concept of it was truly Narnian — reaching out to children in need. Fox did Lewis proud here I think!

My third favorite thing they did was transforming The Matthew into the Dawn Treader and sailing her around England with children from several countries on board! icarus was lucky enough to get to see her, and Paul Martin at NarniaFans.com got to sail on her! Really very cool!

Other things I felt they did well. I felt the timing in which they released their individual marketing pieces (ie posters, trailers) for Dawn Treader was good. It certainly wasn’t like the Prince Caspian marketing fiasco when Disney started building excitement and anticipation really early on and then dropped off the face of the earth for a few months, and the blasted everybody in the face with an overabundance of news two months before the movie came out. For those following the Dawn Treader news, there was a good, steady build of excitement.

I felt worldwide advertising for Dawn Treader was superior to Prince Caspian. I don’t remember getting very much in the way at all of worldwide spy reports on that movie’s marketing, but we got quite a lot for Dawn Treader. The Regent Street Christmas Lights celebration was especially fun.

Mixed:

Advertising to the faith community. Better than Prince Caspian, not as good The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. They tried, but I’m not sure the faith community responded.

I’ll give the online marketing an ok in my book. The official website was fun. Towards the end Fox did pretty well putting out trailers and video clips on various movie websites. IMDb got some very nice advertisements for that site. But I’m still waiting for the production to do an official website that releases NEWS. It’s been a long time now but does anyone remember the official Lord of the Rings website? The Narnia movies desperately needed (and still need) a site like that one.

After filming wrapped up at Cleveland Point, Fox really clamped down on the news. You may have noticed the lack of exclusive interviews from the fansites this time around? Well it wasn’t for a lack of trying. We simply weren’t allowed to post anything. On one hand I can understand that because you don’t want film details too early, but on the other hand, you start to get the feeling that the production isn’t excited or doesn’t care about their film.

Negative:

Well I really felt like there were a few places Fox missed some golden opportunities for marketing. The number one thing that stood out to me was missing Comic-Con 2010. Why was there nothing there? I just didn’t get that. Especially when they showed up at some other place (I forget where now) with some kind of display a couple weeks later. Could they have not had something ready for Comic-Con just a few weeks before?

And then the two killer things:  Merchandise being the first. Oy. I understand that Fox doesn’t do as much merchandising as Disney. And maybe the Prince Caspian merchandising failed so miserably at bringing in money that Fox didn’t even want to try, I don’t know. But after claiming to return to making a movie for kids, there sure was a lack of stuff to draw children’s eyes — and in turn beg the parents to take them to see the movie. And I know so many people that would have killed for a Dawn Treader replica.

And then finally, the quality of the marketing pieces. The first teaser poster aside, I don’t know what they were thinking? I mean, I just didn’t get it. To release so many official posters of an obviously incomplete Dawn Treader. And the international poster has the sail backwards. Billboards with one character’s clothing overlapping onto another one’s head. Very, very sloppy. And I just did not understand why as those are fairly easy fixes to make. But they didn’t, and in bookstores in Europe you can purchase The Voyage of the Dawn Treader with an incomplete sail printed right on the cover.

……

But at the end of the day, looking back at the full marketing campaign, I have to give Fox full marks for at least doing everything they needed to do. Not high marks for quality no, but they told people the movie was coming. I may have a lot of people disagree with me perhaps, but in my middle-of-nowhere town, I saw posters, I saw a theater stand, I saw books and magazines in bookstores, and I saw a couple of commercials on TV. So outside of NarniaWeb and the internet, I knew this movie was coming.

To address something I’ve been seeing all over this site that I know is going to come up again…
“Yeah, but my brother/sister/mom/kids/uncle/cousins/best friend/pet monkey had no idea this movie was coming out til it was in theaters!”
… to which I sit back in my chair and smile wryly. Really? My family and friends knew Dawn Treader was coming out the moment it was greenlit and I never stopped babbling about it til it hit theaters. I still haven’t, actually.

So I think that speaks volumes, if the top fans of the Narnia movies, who visit this site, are not talking about the Dawn Treader movie with their closest friends and family. Yeah, I think that says quite a lot. And I don’t see how the blame for that can be laid on Fox’s marketing department. That ball would be in the filmmaker’s court because they’re not making movies that people find worth talking about.

So there are my thoughts, and we would love to hear yours, so feel free to post in the comments section below or on the forum here.

127 Comments For This Story

  • Caspian says:

    I agree. Better than PC’s marketing, but not as good as LWW. I would definitely do drastic things for any VDT merchandise. Like props or replicas or anything. And Happy Meal toys would have been such a great way to go.

    And at this point, everything depends on word of mouth. I’ve been spreading the news like a wildfire. So "Take your friends and your enemies". Whatever it takes to see VDT succeed. 🙂

    • waggawerewolf27 says:

      The happy meal toys might be available through Burger King.

    • JadistarkilleR says:

      exactly– better than PC marketing, not as good as LWW

      BUT for this movie, they needed marketing BETTER than LWW.

      why? because this film has been stalled way too many times that it has totally lost the wind in its sails (pardon the pun) that was generated with LWW. what Fox should have done– and i KNOW they can do this, given their treatment of the X-Men and Star Wars franchises– is a marketing blitzkrieg of this movie STARTING Comic-Con season and NEVER LET UP TILL THE DECEMBER RELEASE. that is 6 months of showing something to your target audience. what they did for the said franchises was– for lack of a better word– BRAINWASHED people to seeing it. what i felt the marketing did for VDT now was a "Harry Potter" approach. BIG MISTAKE

      why? because there is a HUGE difference between the two franchises– Harry Potter had MOMENTUM for 6 consecutive films that came out practically every year– Narnia doesnt. i’m not even going to start with the difficulty of the general public identifying lead characters to associate with the franchise because the leads almost always change in Narnia stories. and THAT is a MARKETING OPPORTUNITY that is totally MISSED! the public dont know who the new characters are? so you have 6 months to orient them on who they are. you think it was easy to market at least 9 different characters in LOTR with names so difficult to remember? heck no! but look, going into the theater, the public at least knows what characters LOOK LIKE even if they cant remember or pronounce the name. they knew that blond dude shoots arrows (Legolas), that dark haired scruffy dude wields the sword (Aragorn), the old man with a beard is some sort of wise man (Gandalf), that kid with the big blue eyes is somehow the center of all this trouble (Frodo). it was knowledge and enticement all rolled into one. so for something that was as stalled and as confusing as Narnia might be, it is hardly impossible to market it and entice people to go see it. you just need to have a marketing team that knows how to sell it.

      and unfortunately, nobody seems to know how to sell Narnia.

      • columba says:

        As a pastor, the resources came out far later to our church. Disney did a far superior job alerting us in advance. And sending physical publications as well as emails. The Narnia Faith site had great resources, but came out very late. They needed to mobilize pastors 6 months ago.

      • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

        columba, that’s a good point to bring up to them. please contact them .

    • StBrianofMinneapolis says:

      I have found a replica. It’s not very accurate, but it looks better than the vast amount of no VDT merchandise out there.

      http://www.handcraftedmodelships.com/narnia-dawn-treader–model-ship-16inch.php

  • jmw86 says:

    I believe you’ve pretty much nailed it fantasia_kitty. I was also waiting on a dawn treader replica. Thanks for the post.

  • Duke says:

    I have a bone to pick with their advertising. I live in Toronto, most populated city in Canada. I barely see posters, and i always go to the theatres almost every 2 weeks and i didn’t see the trailer at all. I only seen it in facebook when someone posted it in their wall.

    • NarnianHarper says:

      Get this – I was outraged when I found out VoDT wouldn’t be showing anywhere in 90 miles from where I live in Montana, but the local theater lady said only 20 copies of the movie had been shipped to the entire state of Montana! It is hardly showing anywhere up here because they didn’t get enough copies to the state. And they wonder why they aren’t making money??

      • NarnianHarper says:

        I was going to bring my entire youth group of 25-40 kids, and everyone in my church wanted to see it. Look at how much money they missed out on. VoDT is showing in one theater in 200 miles here – a travesty.

      • Lady Polly says:

        That’s crazy, my cinema is a small independent one, and we even got it (mind you i live in Australia so that could be the difference)

  • waggawerewolf27 says:

    Right on! I don’t know why I couldn’t buy advance tickets until two days before the Dec 2 release. The online Hoyts site wasn’t advertising VDT tickets beforehand, only as coming soon, though it advertised other films eg Harry Potter. Even the girl at the ticket counter didn’t seem to know what I was talking about, even though an upstairs poster of VDT was staring her in the face.

    It didn’t just happen to me either. A local minister trying to organise a theatre party for parishioners also had the same problem.

    • nic says:

      That almost identically happened to me, was going to book opening night tickets a week earlier which turned out to be 2d and 3d was opening a week earlier that night. But was a good surprise & saw the film that night with a friend. Again, i initially thought they had made a mistake as wasn’t advertised on line or anything for that date.
      But too early to say about the overall marketing campaign being anything else except fun to talk about i think, as anything is jumping to conclusions because it may be a christmas/holiday season package of marketing that suits Narnia rather than first few weeks.

    • Queen Su says:

      I was able to book my midnight showing tickets online a little less than a week in advance through the theater.

  • Valiant says:

    I live in a large city on Canada and saw very little in terms of Marketng. I’m wondering if it was just here since everyone else seems to think that the marketing was pretty good. Most people here didn’t even know there was another Narnia movie coming out…

    I could only buy tickets two days in advance as well. I wonder why.

    • Valiant says:

      Also, I’m wondering if its common for movies to only show their trailers on t.v. a week before the movie comes out. For some reason I never noticed whether this was the case or not before, but I did notice they did this for VDT.

  • Alambil and Tarvis says:

    I would still like to see toys…like a Lego Dawn Treader complete with a sea monster. Yeah. 😀

  • Susan says:

    I totally agree also! And I agree w/ the faith community. I’ve been to two Christian bookstores in hopes of Narnia merchandise as they had quite a bit for "Prince Caspian". One I went to just had the books and the poster thing for the new film (to advertise), but nothing else. And the other had nothing for it. Before they had posters for "Prince Caspian" on the windows of the stores. And last year Target had the action figures, so was hoping they’d hop on the band wagon again.

    I also agree w/ @waggawerewolf27, Burger King should’ve bought the rights to the toys, as McDonald’s didn’t have toys for "Prince Caspian" & Burger King’s had pretty good movie toys lately; better than Micky D’s in my opinion. They’ve had the "Twilight" saga toys for the last 2 movies & they had "Indiana Jones 4" toys when it was out. They should’ve done that.

    And I also don’t see posters for sale. I was lucky enough to have a theater that gave away free posters for the movie. I got the one w/ just Aslan & then the one w/ all the main characters. That’s about all the merchandise I have from this movie. I haven’t seen many mags. either. The Movie Magic with "Harry Potter" on the cover has a little bit about "Dawn Treader" in it, but that’s about all I’ve seen. Maybe a couple others. Not much out there.
    Oh and, anyone notice how no one from the film were on any talk shows to promote it? Like Jay Leno or David Letterman or anybody!(At least I’m pretty darn sure no one was.) No Ben Barnes, No Georgie, or anyone.

    • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

      that was strange no actors on talk shows- except ben who is on stage in london. but liam neeson was on The View today 12/17 watch it on abc,com

  • just jill says:

    I agree with the article. I was hoping to buy my kids a Dawn Treader Legos set for Christmas. I was sure there would be one since there was one for Prince Caspian.

  • Queen Elizabeth says:

    I’m surprised they weren’t on ET. or the Insider.

  • ~queenSUSAN~ says:

    I had no idea LWW was coming out until I saw a full-page spread in a book catalog. Why wasn’t there more of that with VDT? (as an aside, my family knew all about VDT before it ever hit theaters!)
    Also, I am majorly disappointed that there is no Movie Companion this time around! What a bummer!
    And seriously, why is there no model ship to play with? I mean, talk about perfect movie merchandising! Fox missed the boat on that one. 😉

    • ~queenSUSAN~ says:

      I forgot to mention, there was a lot of Dawn Treader word-of-mouth among the faith community. At least, from what I could see. Glenn Beck mentioned it on his program as well, I heard.

      • NarnianHarper says:

        I was so glad he did – every book he gives a plug for hits the top of the bestseller lists, so hopefully that will work for movies!

  • Tribunal says:

    The posters and commercials sure were awful.

    • NarnianHarper says:

      Yes – it’s like they did their best to turn hardcore fans off instead of on. I’ve talked to a number of Narnia fans who didn’t want to see the movie because of the weight given the White Witch and the green mist in the posters and trailers. I have a bit of a hard time convincing them they aren’t as large a part in the movie itself.

      • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

        that’s stupid and childish for narnia fans to jump to negative conclusions so quickly. to snobby if u ask me- they should at least give the movie a try before slamming it. very closedminded.

    • FriendOfNarnia2 says:

      That was the problem. The last trailer wasn’t too bad, but everything else was mediocre at best.

  • kamarkam says:

    I knew VoDT was coming out, but only because I stalk this website and many other Narnia sites. But I was disappointed that in my area, I saw only two or three trailers on TV! Plus, there was very, very little advertising in the movie theaters. I DID however see the trailer before Harry Potter 7 and screamed quite loudly, embarrassing my friends. I was more excited about the trailer than HP7. ;D

    I certainly hope Fox starts making some sort of merchandise, or at least Burger King makes toys. Like Susan said above, it’s been hard finding posters even. I was sorely disappointed when Borders didn’t even have a display in honor of the movie! They make a huge fuss about Harry Potter and Twilight, but nothing for Narnia! Shame on you, Borders. -.-

    • DOECOG says:

      I saw Harry Potter 7 in theaters and there was not a VDT trailer in front of it. I was disappointed to later find out some showing got to see a Dawn Treader trailer.

  • Bri says:

    I will say this — I saw trailers and TV spots. But I live in a suburb of Dallas and work in the city, and I didn’t see billboards. I didn’t see magazines. I didn’t see bus stop ads or wraps on the buses.

    The only people I know who knew that it was coming out was people who were watching for it, and I knew some people who were watching for it who didn’t know it was coming out.

    I feel like they’ve tried to advertise to the people who were already going to see it, and that’s the kind of strategy that works for something like Harry Potter or Twilight where most people already know whether they’re going to see the movie or not and only need to be told when it is and nobody who hasn’t made up their mind yet is going to be convinced by a commercial.

    But Narnia isn’t that kind of franchise. It’s got staying power, as it’s been popular for a lot longer than HP or Twilight, but it doesn’t have that level of popularity right now.

    And they had the continuity issues that I don’t feel they ever quite managed. I mean, it’s been years since PC, which a lot of people not invested in the franchise don’t remember anyway. Half the four main characters are missing, which they kind of tried to skate around. And it looks different.

    I think they tried too hard to make the connection to the previous movies with thin evidence that it’s actually there. One of the high points of the Narnia books is that each tells a very different story, and they could have tried to capitalize on that but didn’t. The ads didn’t emphasize plot points, so a lot of people, even fans of the series familiar with the books, came away from watching the trailers not quite sure what was supposed to be going on.

    It was all very…confused.

    • Bri says:

      "Confused" isn’t really the word I’m looking for. Maybe "formulaic"? Like, in a Harry Potter trailer, you can just be like, *shot of Harry/shot of Hermione/shot of Ron/shot of Voldemort/somebody almost kisses/release date* and you’re done. For a Twilight movie, you can just be like, *shot of Edward/shot of Edward and Bella looking lusty/shot of Jacob prominently displaying his muscles/release date* and you’re done.

      I feel like they tried to do that with the *Edmund/Lucy/Susan/Peter/Caspian/Aslan/White Witch/Eustace/boat with a purple sail/Harry Potter’s not the only one who can have snow inside/release date* and it just didn’t work.

    • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

      I agree, it seems like everything about this movie has been confused- from the production issues to Fox’s handling of it, to the advertising, the merchandising. I mean, Disney already laid out a successful battle plan with LWW, why not follow it to the letter instead of half-@ssed like they did? If I hadn’t been a fanatic, i certainly wouldnt” have been persuaded by the 2-3 commercials I saw. I think the most advertising came from Carrie Underwood’s involvement. And why was Liam Neeson on The View TODAY promoting the movie instead of 2 weeks ago? I am just baffled.

  • Starlily says:

    I only saw one trailer, and it was only the tail end of it (my family rarely watches TV at night, when trailers are shown). And since there were hardly any books connected with the movie other than original, I didn’t see any displays in bookstores. My state doesn’t have billboards either, so basically I saw almost no advertising. But of course I still knew the movie was coming out. 🙂

    Still, in my opinion, based on what I’ve personally seen in my own home, I think they could have done a better job at advertising. But I’m not speaking for everyone. Maybe I just didn’t watch enough late TV. 😉

    • Starlily says:

      Oh, and this made me laugh:

      “Yeah, but my brother/sister/mom/kids/uncle/cousins/best friend/pet monkey had no idea this movie was coming out…"

      LOL! Pet monkey. Good one. B)

    • Lady Polly says:

      I saw one billboard briefly from a plane (the air port was IN the city)

  • Farsight1 says:

    I live in Brazil and I got to watch TV spots for the film multiple times before it was released on a number of different channels. Maybe that explains why it’s doing better internationally.

    • Anhun says:

      That’s interesting. I wonder why they were promoting it more overseas?
      I saw only one commercial the entire time leading up to the film. A bad commercial too. Some mindless action shots and a dragon. It looked like a sequel to Eragon. If I wasn’t in love with the series, I would have had no interest in seeing it based on that commercial. In fact I probably would have forgotten the movie was coming out.

  • Mike says:

    You make some good points. What seemed missing was a sense of "polish" on the marketing – for example, the odd posters and lackluster official site. This spilled over onto the trailers as well. Not the teaser, but the international and theatrical versions had some choppy music editing that the Disney trailers did not.

  • Griffle says:

    "It’s been a long time now but does anyone remember the official Lord of the Rings website? The Narnia movies desperately needed (and still need) a site like that one." – Isn’t this what Narniaweb is for? 😉

  • Raticus says:

    I feel as if the recent controversy about Liam Neeson’s comments about his own personal feelings about Aslan was something manufactured by Fox to drum up hype and support from the evangelical Christian community. This is most self-evident with how Fox News’s Glenn Beck recently talked about Narnia (gee, now all of a sudden?) and slammed Liam Neeson for his own personal religious beliefs. Glenn Beck is a political commentator, and when he launches in to Liam Neeson or makes narcissistic remarks about other religions, it drags Narnia into the Culture Wars. It makes me sick to my stomach that somehow he is "defending" my favorite book series, when really, he’s doing more harm than good.

    This is not the type of publicity Narnia needs, and I feel it is shameful to the books and C.S. Lewis.

    • Lewis Tolkien says:

      No offense, but I think you’re comment sounds a little paranoid. Glenn Beck has talked a lot about C.S. Lewis on his shows (TV and radio) before. His favorite of Lewis’s books is The Screwtape Letters, which he has promoted on his show before. What was Fox’s stake in having him promote the Screwtape Letters many months ago exactly? Beck has made it clear for a while now that he personally is a fan of C.S. Lewis’s, so why in the world wouldn’t someone who loves Lewis want to promote The Voyage of the Dawn Treader? That’s not some secret plot instigated by the evil Fox. It sounds to me like you just don’t want anyone who disagrees with you to be able to have the right to discuss publicly the things that he likes and dislikes.

      Furthermore, I don’t really see how his suggesting that Neesom was ridiculous for suggesting that a figure who died for another’s sins and rose against was a representation of Buddha was dragging the film into the culture wars. Did he mention abortion? Prayer in the schools? Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays? No, he merely expressed his opinion that what Neeson said made no sense. Please don’t be so closed-minded about people who merely disagree with you. He was talking about the books and movies as quality entertainment with a good message. This is not political at all unless you are personally desperate to turn it into something political.

    • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

      I feel like it’s the opposite situation, like they are freaking out Liam said that , and so now they are trying to do damage control by giving glen beck tickets and merchandising to make up for how Neeson offended the faith community, because they watch glen beck alot. like they bribed glen beck with free stuff to put it on and defend it.

  • Moonwood says:

    I did not see a single T V spot. not one.
    I hope it’s not because I didn’t watch S. Palin’s cheesy show… Because if it was only on her show, I think that may explain everything.

  • Pepper Darcy says:

    Good post, Fantasia! Ha, ha! I bet *my* friends and family would wish I would *quit* going on and on about Narnia! 🙂 It’s been ‘Narnia’ EVERYTHING since June 18th! 🙂 LOL!

    But, hey! I really enjoyed this post. I really, REALLY agreed with the merchandise part. I was *SO* looking forward to some neat posters, calendars, and action figures… and ‘nota’ one! 🙁

    Great post! 🙂 I thought it was definately better than PC. Because I didn’t have to be ‘on’ Narniaweb to notice Narnia. With PC, all I could get of ‘Narnia’ was on this site. 🙁

    I would have liked to have seen them at the Comic Con though. Oh, well! Just as long as we get SC! 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts!! 🙂

    • Lady Polly says:

      I know what you mean Pepper Darcy, whenever i was chatting with my friends and there was a lull in the conversation, i would start on about Narnia AGAIN, thankfully all my friends respect me… and my ‘weirdness’ 😉

  • ellz_bellz says:

    i just don’t understand why there has only been one major premiere so far! for PC they had multiple worldwide preimeres, especially in slovina, where they spent the majority of the time filming, but so far there has been no appearances in Australia, the base of the shoot!

  • mary says:

    RAticus, you are so right! Narnia can and does appeal to people of all faiths, and none, and to liberal Christians (like me) as well as the right wingers. To drag a classic book into the culture wars is a shame, and will cause it to lose some viewers while it gains others. But-

    To the main point, I don’t think the marketing was particularly good. I was looking out for the movie, since I’d enjoyed the previous two and VODT is one of my favorites of the series. Didn’t see any posters or displays anywhere, and I don’t think there were many TV spots. And my sister, too, tried to buy tickets in advance and couldn’t. In fact, after she’d queried our local theatre and heard (correctly) that the film was starting Friday, I asked (because they didn’t have a single poster up IN THE THEATRE!) and got told, on Wednesday, that the film would not be shown there. Yikes!

    Well, we managed to get tickets and go on Friday. We are going again with a friend this Saturday. But Fox and Clearwater Cinemas didn’t make it easy!

  • lilims says:

    Tron Legacy opens Friday. Time to step up the game Narnia fans!!

  • thesithempire says:

    The marketing that arrived came too little, too late, and wasn’t diverse enough.

    The bigger problem with the franchise is that they’re failing to engage a cross-section of viewers. And that’s somewhat understandable, though it reeks of feeble marketing and/or a reduced budget for marketing.

    But thanks to the first film, it’s a tough film to sell. I’ll explain that:

    To the older teen (non-Narnia reader and non-Christian), this series is perceived as either a children’s series or a series for right-wingers (since the average teen doesn’t have enough of a brain to realize that many Christians are not necessarily right or left), or both.

    The younger teen would be interested, but he/she requires his parent to take him/her.

    To the average 20/30-something, Narnia suffers from a similar problem. Most of you forget that for this group, whether they were fans of the book, Christians, or neither, TLTWATW was a failure. It failed to capture the magic of the Lord of the Rings, which is still hot (judged by the huge anticipation for The Hobbit). TLTWATW failed to engage the average viewer in any kind of profound sense. Yes, some loved it. But many didn’t care for the actors, or the mediocre effects, or the lack of scope, or the cheese-factor (the goofy fox, Father Christmas), which all lent to an impression this was a movie for little kids. Peter wasn’t terribly liked; Susan was nondescript; Edmund was great, but an antogonist for most of the film; and Lucy was generally liked, but is a little girl, and hardly a character anyone above 10 is going to latch onto as someone you *need* to see more of. Thus, a big failing for some was not having a likable Peter and Susan. The other major complaint was Adamson’s tepid direction and lack of vision. My cousin, who loved the old ’70s animated special, thought the film was mediocre, and emotionally paled to the cartoon! Think about that. A 40 year old man thought a cartoon was more emotionally engaging than a major motion picture. And he’s right. Michael J. Lewis’ soundtrack to the animated TLTWATW is astoundingly brilliant and emotive, and the adaptation is straight from the book, which translated perfectly to the screen, and pleased a wide swathe of Narnia fans. At any rate, my cousin hasn’t even seen Prince Caspian, having lost interest right off the bat. Reading comments on various message boards (besides this one), I see he’s not alone in this regard.

    Therefore, without an engaging first film (engaging to those beside the fans on this board), a large segment of those who went to see TLTWATW didn’t bother coming back to Prince Caspian b/c they imagined it was more of the same. Its merits and/or flaws as a film (and I think it’s far better than the first) didn’t matter to the many who lost interest in the first.

    That was Disney’s failing. If Disney wanted to reinvent the series and target a more diverse audience who like fantasy action/adventure (which is what the 2nd film is), they needed a far better campaign. It didn’t help that the fanbase were too peeved at nonsense like Susan kissing Caspian to even support the film! (And it remains a solid film, flawed in some areas, but great overall).

    That same issue is presenting itself with this film, which is also arguably a great movie (again, flawed, but a great, fun ride all the same).

    It’s just not seen as being something older teens or adults will be interested in (not dark or engaging enough to capture the primary moviegoing audience in the United States). By the same token, it can’t go too dark or it will risk offending the fundamentalists and too-sensitive parents.

    But putting aside its humor, Toy Story is undoubtedly a dark film, the grimmest of all three, and that’s being considered for Best Picture! Where the Wild Things Are was another film for all ages, but had very somber, edgy moments in it. That was also critically and commercially succesful (except by those who only like light and fluffy movies).

    The Silver Chair, if it ever gets greenlit, IS a dark book. There is something wonderfully offbeat and edgy about it (though obviously not in a cheesy Twilight or even Harry Potter way). The Silver Chair is simply a great fantasy classic, quirky, moody, and wild. What it needs is a boost in four areas: director, lead actress, supporting actor and budget.

    1. I love what Michael Apted did. And I even love what Adamsom did with PC. But to revitalize the franchise, a director with a bigger name, is required, and YET, someone who can do this kind of film justice. Spike Jonze (Where the Wild Things Are) would be ideal. So would Guillermo Del Toro, who’s a huge fan of fairy tales and fantasy. These would bring in a huge older demographic, who trust their films.

    2. Whoever plays Jill Pole has to be a brilliant actress, preferably British, who can genuinely emote and draw in viewers.

    3. Glumpuddle cannot be a Jar Jar Binks. He has to capture the book’s description, and yet not be annoying or goofy. He’s a sidekick character, but needs to be one that can be taken seriously, be endearing, and yet as quirky as he is in the book. So you need a great actor for the role, and the right actor who can naturally embody the Marsh-Wiggle’s emotional state of mind.

    4. The film needs a bigger budget to properly get the epic aspects that the book conveys, and more importantly, that people will be willing to spend their money to see.

    With such a production, they can and should market it to several different groups, especially:

    Younger viewers (not little kids, however) during certain time-frames and channels (Cartoon Network, particuarly during popular shows like The Clone Wars, and Ben 10).

    Older audiences during different times (and with a slightly different trailer/TV spot) that emphasises the dark fantasy/adventure aspect.

    I think that will ensure that Narnia fans get to see the remaining books produced.

    • Pepper Darcy says:

      you had some good points on somethings, a little off on others, but I was really surprised (and I don’t mean this rudely) that you thought Lucy didn’t appeal to anyone over ten (whether book fan or no). I *am* a book fan. And I *am* 21. And I *love* Lucy as a little girl 🙂 I’m not trying to undo everything you just said, but that took me way off guard when I read it since I *did* like her!

      And I DO agree with you 100% about Puddleglum’s casting. Someone suggested Johnny Depp, and I would have liked to start freaking out 🙂 Puddleglum doesn’t need to be an idiot like ‘Jar-Jar Binks’ to capture the show 😉 Get an actor with class (like Patrick Stewart 😀

      Puddleglum is funny in a way where HE is DEAD serious, NOT goofing off, but *we* (the audience) see it as funny. Patrick Stewart could definately pull that off 😉 And he’s a grandfatherly, mentor role. They brought in Liam Neeson, and that was a good pull, for his voice. I think it’d be great to bring Patrick Stewart onboard! 🙂

      Thanks for your comment, it was an interesting read! 🙂

      • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

        I was only joking about Johnny depp cause his new movie opened against VDT. i was being facetious- no, i really want andrew adamson for glumpuddle LOL . actually, they are into casting unknowns mostly, which i appreciate.

      • Pepper Darcy says:

        Queen Shelly Belly, I DIDN’T know you said that! I had NO idea who said it. I had just seen the idea mentioned before etc. and thought ‘wow… disaster!’ I was speaking as I know it’s an idea, but don’t know whose idea.

        I’m really sorry and hope I didn’t offend you! I certainly wasn’t speaking that against you! I’m SO sorry! 🙁 Forgive me?

      • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

        hey, pepper, no sweat! : )

      • thesithempire says:

        Hey Pepper: Sorry for the lateness of my response, but this forum doesn’t inform me when new comments are made (or my settings are off).

        I didn’t mean to imply that Lucy wasn’t likable. She is. It’s just that few adult viewers are going to be interested in following the continuing adventures of a ten year old girl. Peter needed to be more likable. Even though it’s an ensemble cast, Edmund is on the "dark side" for much of the film, so whoever played Peter had to be a strong actor and someone audiences bonded to. No offence to his fans, but the general consensus among the average viewer seems to be that Mosely was out of his depth, not just a mediocre actor, but not right for the part. He certainly wasn’t my conception of Peter at all (though I grew to like him in PC). I thought the BBC version came closer (and I saw that afterwards, so it’s not a nostalgia thing).

        Just my .02. More below.

    • Lewis Tolkien says:

      1. Tracking surveys have already shown that interest in this film was almost evenly divided between men and women and between adults and children. When I saw the film there were actually significantly more adults in the audience than children.

      2. I’m an adult and I liked Lucy in LWW (better, in fact, than Lucy in PC or VDT).

      3. The people who like that silly cartoon of LWW better than the theatrically released film are very far and few between. Most people have a bias in favor of what they grew up with. That’s why so many like those cheap, slow BCC films too. Your brother is merely showing a common tendency to prefer the familiar from childhood over the new. I can’t see how anyone who did not see the cartoon when they were young could possibly prefer it to the movie version.

      4. If LWW was so dreadful, why were the DVD sales so good? Wouldn’t word of mouth have killed DVD profits? Why was its run in the theaters so long? I agree that LWW could have been a better film than it ended up being and I was never terribly impressed with Adamson or the actors. However, I like that adaptation significantly better than the most recent two. And, importantly to me, they were much more accurate to the events and the mood of the book. I think they would have done well to cut back on the big battle a bit though and to cut the overall run-time too, since it did drag on a bit.

      5. Why should every film be made to appeal to teenagers? I’m absolutely tired of it. I would like more family-friendly films, regardless of whether some 15-year-old boy would find it "cool" or not.

      6. I actually hope they don’t raise the budget for the next film. Not only would it be harder to make money on it (insuring a likely premature end to the series), it would probably cause the film makers to focus more on SFX than the story. I think the ridiculously large budget for PC is one of the reason’s why Lewis’s story got lost in the actual film.

      7. I, as an adult, thought that LWW with it’s crucifixion scene and general violence was darker than Toy Story 3, which was a great cartoon, but still more cute in my opinion than "dark" or profound.

      8. I’d also like to see another director, who is a bigger name and who has more experience with live-action fantasy films. Del Toro would be great, but he’s already said he won’t do the Narnia films because he doesn’t like the Christian elements in them. Since they seem intent on not filming C.S. Lewis’s version of these stories anyway, I would love to see someone truly innovative like Terry Gilliam take the helm. He can make a good film on a small budget too (he did The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus for only a little over $30 million I believe). If they are going to go with a more conventional, less innovative director anyway, then I hope to God they actually stick to Lewis’s story, because it’s bound to be better than what they can come up with.

      9. I agree with your assessments of what needs to be done with Jill and Puddleglum.

      10. Overall, I as an adult liked the first film significantly better than the last two, though PC and VDT are not bad films in and of themselves.

      • Twinimage says:

        I agree with most of your points.

        Though, a big name director doesn’t equal success.
        Ang Lee, an oscar winning director, directed "Hulk" and it was a horrible movie. We need a director (as well as good script writers) who have read the books, understand them, love them and want to adapt them faithfully.
        We need someone like Zack Snyder. His films may not be perfect, but they stick to the source material, which is key for a film adaption.

        I am also tired of film makers trying to conform every movie to the usual formula that every blockbuster movie has been doing for the past 5+ years. If they will just make a faithful adaption, it will appeal to most everyone.

        The problem is, Narnia isn’t Harry Potter. What I mean is, Harry Potter is popular right now, because the books are popular. Narnia isn’t popular right now. Most people today, especially young people, haven’t read the books, or care to read them. And reading LWW in grade school doesn’t count, cause most everyone’s done that.

        One more point I want to make. "Dark" does not guarantee success. It works well for marketing right now, but once they see the film, it will still fail if it’s not a good movie. Just because LOTR or the Dark Knight were successful, doesn’t mean every movie right now has to be dark to compete with other movies today.

        LOTR wasn’t successful because it was dark. To say that would be very narrow-minded. LOTR is a masterpiece, a great piece of film. It’s very exceptional, because it took years to make and luckily it was implemented wonderfully. It wouldn’t be fair to compare almost any film to LOTR, because it’s so unique in that aspect. That’s why it was so successful.

        And in response to something thesithempire said, Narnia shouldn’t capture the magic of LOTR, because it’s not LOTR, it’s Narnia. If you want LOTR magic, you watch LOTR. This is a common problem filmmakers make. They want to mimic other franchises, but they should bring out what is original, unique and special about Narnia.

      • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

        I talked to a famous director on a radio show (i forgot his name, sorry, im not a real movie buff) and he said the main problem with the narnia movies was hiring a animated director for a live action film. he was not impressed with AA at all and thought they could have been handled way better.

      • thesithempire says:

        Lewis Tolkien: Let me address your points individually:

        <<1. Tracking surveys have already shown that interest in this film was almost evenly divided between men and women and between adults and children. When I saw the film there were actually significantly more adults in the audience than children.>>

        I think that’s as it should be. Family film has a bad connotation as if it means "for kids." Star Wars was a family film. Even the LOTR trilogy were technically family films, since they were PG-13 rate.

        <<2. I’m an adult and I liked Lucy in LWW (better, in fact, than Lucy in PC or VDT).>>

        That’s fine. Opinions differ. See my comment above (which hopefully explains what I meant).

        <<3. The people who like that silly cartoon of LWW better than the theatrically released film are very far and few between. Most people have a bias in favor of what they grew up with. That’s why so many like those cheap, slow BCC films too. Your brother is merely showing a common tendency to prefer the familiar from childhood over the new. I can’t see how anyone who did not see the cartoon when they were young could possibly prefer it to the movie version.>>

        Actually, he’s not alone. I’ve polled several friends and family members. All of them prefer the animated version, and some of them own it on DVD and have seen it recently. I do think Michael G. Lewis’s soundtrack is infinitely superior (actually it’s one of the best fantasy soundtracks out there). It’s extrememly moving and, yet, otherworldly. The cartoon is also more faithful to the book in terms of narration, plot, etc. And there’s a feeling to it that certain shows in the ’70s had that a glossy, overly produced modern film just can’t capture with. It’s hard to describe, but it’s not just nostalgia. ’70s fantasy and horror have a certain surrealistic element that’s perfect for the genre.

        <<4. If LWW was so dreadful, why were the DVD sales so good? Wouldn’t word of mouth have killed DVD profits? Why was its run in the theaters so long? I agree that LWW could have been a better film than it ended up being and I was never terribly impressed with Adamson or the actors. However, I like that adaptation significantly better than the most recent two. And, importantly to me, they were much more accurate to the events and the mood of the book. I think they would have done well to cut back on the big battle a bit though and to cut the overall run-time too, since it did drag on a bit.>>

        Well, I never said dreadful. In fact, I agree with you. It’s mediocre. But I own the DVD nonetheless, and people I know like it. I like parts of it. But it could and should’ve been SO much better. You’re right that Adamson was out of his depth. The film needed a surer hand, stronger casting (see my comments above), greater scope and vision. A first film of a series is pivotal to build a fanbase for a series. The fact that the numbers were cut in half for PC was not a failing of PC, but of TLTWATW to make that audience want to come back. Frankly, I’m surprised that Disney didn’t seek out a more experienced director. That said, I think Adamson upped his game tremendously with PC, though that one has its flaws too (Caspian’s accent — who on earth thought that was a good idea?! Your lead should never sound cheesy.) But by then, the damage was done. You’ve lost half your audience. I understand Disney trying to market to an older crowd, but then they botched that by putting up against huge films. And the purists didn’t help with their "Suspian" fixation. Fact is, if you’re going to make Caspian older in the first place–and if he’s not gay–then he’s going to be interested in Susan, who’s described as "beautiful" in the book, and who’s a single queen (Caspian’s in line to be king — how perfect a match that would be in his mind). If people want to take Adamson to task for making Caspian older, I get that. But not for some sweet, innocent attraction that culminated in a blink-and-you’ll-miss it kiss. To me that was ridiculous, and underscores the reason most fans are disregarded by filmmakers and studios.

        <<5. Why should every film be made to appeal to teenagers? I’m absolutely tired of it. I would like more family-friendly films, regardless of whether some 15-year-old boy would find it "cool" or not.>>

        I agree with that. And in fact, I hate that trend in Hollywood. I was thrilled that I barely saw any in the theater when I saw VofDT. They’re usually the ones who can’t shut up, keep opening and closing their cell-phones, and are a general nuisance. So, no, I don’t think the film should be geared at that audience. That said, I don’t think Narnia is for little kids either. This lack of an easy demographic is what makes the marketing people at Disney and Fox pull their hair out. These studios have become so corporate-minded, rigidly-thinking, unimaginative and machinelike, that they don’t know what to do with a film of this nature. They had the same problem with Where the Wild Things Are, or even Bridge to Terabithia. These are films for all-ages, and not the cynical-minded (which is where 15-30 male demographic in the U.S. stands, for the most part).

        <<6. I actually hope they don’t raise the budget for the next film. Not only would it be harder to make money on it (insuring a likely premature end to the series), it would probably cause the film makers to focus more on SFX than the story. I think the ridiculously large budget for PC is one of the reason’s why Lewis’s story got lost in the actual film.>>

        That’s an interesting perspective. It all depends on the filmmaker, though. A George Lucas, who’s far more slanted towards technical aspects than things like narrative, characterization and dialogue, is going to skewer the film a certain way. Alfonse Cuaron, Del Toro and Christopher Nolan, for example, know enough to give a story heart, and great characters, and layers of depth. For them, a larger budget just means a better looking film, one that has greater realism and breath. Audiences now expect photorealism from their special effects, and are less tolerant of flaws in that dept.

        <<7. I, as an adult, thought that LWW with it’s crucifixion scene and general violence was darker than Toy Story 3, which was a great cartoon, but still more cute in my opinion than "dark" or profound.>>

        You may be right, and yet Toy Story 3 feels darker and more profound. Of course, it’s a story about facing our mortality. In contrast, Aslan’s sacrifice in Adamson’s LWW feels out of place b/c the rest of the film is lacking any kind of gravitas. The awe of just the mention of Aslan is missing. Lewis’ amazing dialogue is missing (not entirely, of course, but in large swathes). The creature designs were subpar. And Narnia, as a place, is practically unseen (and what is seen feels a little bit like it was designed in a studio-setting somewhere in California). The sometimes weak acting (including some terrible voice acting for the creatures) doesn’t help either. And Tilda Swinton and the all-too recognizable Deep Roy as her dwarf just lacked the presence, power and viciousness of the White Witch, IMO. Without a STRONG villain, you don’t have a palpable threat. Maybe it’s just me, but I think as brilliant as she is as an actress, she was yet another miscast actor.

        <<8. I’d also like to see another director, who is a bigger name and who has more experience with live-action fantasy films. Del Toro would be great, but he’s already said he won’t do the Narnia films because he doesn’t like the Christian elements in them.>>

        I didn’t know that! What a shame! Alfsonse Cuaron would be great if he doesn’t have hangups about Christian themes.

        <<Since they seem intent on not filming C.S. Lewis’s version of these stories anyway, I would love to see someone truly innovative like Terry Gilliam take the helm. He can make a good film on a small budget too (he did The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus for only a little over $30 million I believe). If they are going to go with a more conventional, less innovative director anyway, then I hope to God they actually stick to Lewis’s story, because it’s bound to be better than what they can come up with.>>

        I agree. Fantasy cannot have conventional direction. It needs both innovation and faithfulness to the story. It’s a tough balance, but it can be done.

        <<9. I agree with your assessments of what needs to be done with Jill and Puddleglum.>>

        Thanks! Hopefully, we’ll see what happens!

        <<10. Overall, I as an adult liked the first film significantly better than the last two, though PC and VDT are not bad films in and of themselves.>>

        I loved VDT. In fact, I was shocked that the director managed to capture a certain "feel" that the prior two films only had in small doses. We’ll see what I think when I see it a second time this week. Overall, they’re all enjoyable, and the series deserves to be made in full. I think they suffer in part b/c of the stupid culture wars in the U.S., with two extreme polarized sides constantly sniping at each other. I also think that this is culture that loves the lowest-common denominator in human behavior, so films that lack edgy sex and violence don’t cut it for a lot of people. (Of course, there’s a place in art for both sex and violence. But the demographic I’m referring to isn’t interested in art, but exploitation, which deserves no place in society).

    • martin the warrior says:

      we are not supposed to write a ten page report paper on VDT. 🙂

  • nic says:

    Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a beautiful film, I think it’s a great adaptation and now having 3 great and different Narnia films ( for probably quite a few people to discover for the first time or to re-acquaint themselves with the Narnia stories ), that in many respects the over all chronicles has to be in great shape if they can get breathing space with people.
    The least enjoyable time i had with VOTDT was my first viewing, and that was because of hype of one kind or another – anticipation etc – coupled with comparatively fast paced episode (as well as knowing the book), for me meant i couldn’t get the film as it is like i wanted to. Once that was cleared then brilliant times subsequent viewing although i have prefered 3d thus far by quite long way. The 3d is great, can’t get how people say 2d better, way way better thus far in 3d for me.
    There was a respectable number of people for my fourth time, the most(i.e. increased #) in the cinema thus far the times i’ve seen the film which has been on release 2 weeks here(first week not really known about i don’t think) – so fingers crossed this is beginning of a trend.. Only concern is Narnia has one standard poster placement hidden away in main entry foyer in side enclave, and the narnia stand is only viewable and again to the side once you get to entrance of cinemas themselves at end of hall.
    Is a great film and be very happy for M. Apted to do another Narnia ([particuarly MN), although for the series sake to do a diff. stylistic Narnia mysticism again, i really liked especially the way they did the two diff. star souls presentations from the book.
    Just gotta hope enough people notice another great Narnia adaptation is playing on their christmas/holiday break over the next month or so – & that it is one of best times in cinema to have & rather special;) I see it two more times with diff. people/groups at minimum, although skimping n saving is worth it to make most of time seeing film run like Narnia at cinema -especially 3d.

    • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

      I know, i’ve only seen it once so far. the first 15 mins. i was kinda in shock i was finally seeing it. Then the rest is a blur, and I’ve had to come to grips with the fact so many of the most famous scenes weren’t in it. I was so looking forward to seeing a better produced version of the BBC series and when the gov. gumpas scene wasn’t even there i started to get confused , then every scene was so rushed, then this gross, long sea serpent scene would not end, then I started I tune out, and when i tuned back in it was the waterfall scene that abruptly ended. I kinda walked out of there going , whoa, what just happened? same thing happened with PC, i walked out more shell shocked than anything and it took repeated viewings to get used to the screen version.

      • nic says:

        me too, High Queene Shelly Belly, first viewing seemed like a blur experience abit like your one with similar things contributing to that as they did for you -and i grabbed on to the Eustace arc which was the strongest impression to hold on to first time around -i mean turning into a dragon is hard to be blurry even on first viewing! But the second time i saw it(which was also a 3d), was a real joy/great time and everything i’d been excited of in my anticipation of the first viewing experience. And then each one after been top too although 3d been my fav. times.

  • LittlePrincess64 says:

    In my opinion, I think they needed to get out the cast more into the media, we barely got interviews with them. Even less with mass medias, I wish we could have seen Ben, Skandar, Georgie and Will more, like in talk shows, and more TV shows. What about MTV for example, they covered the last movies but I didn’t see a thing for this one.
    The same for magazines, they just did a photoshoot together, and Georgie a couple. But we didn’t get them on some of the big movie magazines.
    I’m sure that would have helped, a big portion of the teenage audience watch movies because they feel identified with the kids or attracted, you just have to take a glance of how much girls fancy Skandar and Ben.

    I have to say that here in Mexico City they did a good job with the promotion, there were tons of billboards all over the city, and I caught a TV spot once, but I don’t watch TV that much to notice how often they were.

  • Non-Negotiable Comment says:

    The marketing was perfectly fine. If you want to know why this film is tanking, I would respectfully suggest that people put aside their natural inclinations to blindly defend all things Narnia (not an awful trait, necessarily–I do it too, sometimes), and READ what the critics are saying, instead of dismissing their many valid points. The failure does not lie with the marketing department. The blame needs to go to the top. The producers had one last shot (and two and a half years) to make something spectacular that would capture the imagination of the film-going public. They failed miserably. I know many of you enjoyed it, and that’s a good thing. If you know what you like, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. I wish I could be there with you. Unfortunately, when you evaluate it objectively, ‘Dawn Treader’ is a terribly mediocre product of the cinema that is getting EXACTLY what it deserves in terms of box office business. This film should have evoked joy and wonder for the masses. Instead, it reeks of a very distinct fear of failure that compromises every frame.

    • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

      I think the product quality translates into a dropoff AFTER opening weekend if the quality isn’t there. The word of mouth talks people out of going, and repeater type viewers don’t go again. The first weekend i think is composed more of hardcore fans who have been waiting for it, and people who were media-blittzed into trying it out. (LIKE WHAT DISNEY DOES- brainwashing you into going from massive promotions everywhere in all areas, toys, happy meals, books., posters, etc.) i really get the feeling no one knew about it. To have almost NO ONE there on opening weekend was very weird. Esp. from a franchise that has made 750 + 450 million before.

  • didier says:

    I think one big change in the promoting of the movie from the previous 2 was that it wqsnt promoted in the Disney Channel. Disney Channel had this cool behind the scenes mini episodes coming on constantly through out the day. that i think is the reason why so many kids didnt know about the movie or why they werent as interested.

  • Lakepd45 says:

    Just Give the rights to Warner Brothers.

  • Reepicheep says:

    Fox’s biggest mistake was when they axed the game.

    • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

      yeah, that was penny wise and pound foolish, same with the burger king toys.\, Any toys for that matter. Comeon. no dawn treader model? No calendar?no buttons? no reep stuffed animal? after she asks to finally hug him? wouldn’t every little kid want a reep plush to hug after seeing that? No t shirts until after the movie’s opening? I woudn’t ever have thought of a Fox webstore to find merch, that never told anyone where to get stuff, And no IPOD game app? Come on. that would have promoted the movie more than a silly website game.

  • John Freeman says:

    I have been talking about it since day one and almost went
    on a craze when I found out it might not be made!! My daily routine cinsisted of Narnia web, fb, email,& then world news;I was always here first!! If you wanna REALLY know about a movie, then you’ll seek to find out about it!! So, now the worried, suspense for SC to get greenlit!!

  • The Inscrutable Rutabaga says:

    Thank you for the post fantasia_kitty, I agree with you on just about every point. I think FOX did fairly well in advertising, and I must say I loved seeing the billboards around 🙂 Do wish there had been more toys, though.

  • Twinimage says:

    Yeah, I felt like there was a lack of merchandise as well as there being no appearance at Comic Con 2010.
    As others mentioned, there was no video game! That would have helped people realize the movie is coming out. However, I am really sick and tired of low quality video games based on every movie that comes out. So I’m glad they didn’t make it.
    Overall, Fox did… ok, I guess. Considering how the movie turned out, it got the marketing it deserved I suppose.
    Do trailers count as marketing? There were around 4 trailers. As far as the trailers go, that may have been the worst part of their marketing, mainly because they were false advertising. They made you think Peter, Susan and the Whit Witch were a more important part of this movie. It would have been better had they kept it a surprise for people. What I hate the most is the posters. Oh MAN were they horrible. Too many characters and too much going on all on one poster. And it had Peter, Susan and The White Witch on it! Of all things to show, they showed the White Witch! They really played up the fact that she was in this movie. And that’s why I feel less positive about their marketing. But it’s the movie that counts. In the end no one will remember how it was marketed. They’ll remember how good (or bad) the movie was.

    • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

      I think the blurry, dark colors of the posters were more artsy and adult looking. young people want bright and colorful. with clean lines. I think it made the movie look more serious in tone than a young people’s movie. This movie should have been promoted more like an indian jones feeling campaign, i think. a happy lark on the high seas- adventure! not with lucy looking like a 30 year old, somber zombie in the poster- look at the dark circles under her eyes- they should have aged her down- not up. the whole poster looked BLEAK- not inticeing

      • thesithempire says:

        No, I strongly prefer the artsy posters to what you describe. Narnia is not a kids franchise. It’s an all-ages one, and in that it’s based on a fantasy series, which does deal with somber issues, the marketing should reflect that. The first poster, I thought, looked terrible. The later ones, however, captured what I think they should: engender a sense of mystery about the voyage.

      • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

        but how old are you, sithempire? and male?

  • narnian21 says:

    i don’t think it was marketed well in the US. We heard that there were billboards and buses advertising the movie and a whole bunch of other marketing news in other countries, but it didn’t seem like we heard a lot about the movie in the US. the only way my parents knew about it was because i kept reminding them. My mom didn’t really see anything reminding her it was coming. All we got was the trailers and it was only the newest trailer that really got me excited about the movie. theaters kept showing the first trailers which i didn’t like. Looks like word of mouth is the way to go now

  • Bethany says:

    They needed the movie companion… LWW and PC both had them, why couldn’t VDT have one too? It builds excitement and brings the fan into the movie production.

    And they definitely needed to do something to get people talking…

    • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

      they do have one, but, once again, it is only being marketed in europe. I saw that on narniaweb or another narnia site. I wanted one too, i think you can get it through the web , europe amazon or somehting-

  • theprincessspy says:

    On the whole, I feel like the marketing department did a good job in the sense that people knew the movie was coming out. (When I went to see Toy Story 3 back in the summer, the gigantic Narnia ship display with spinnable wheel/rudder/thing was already prominently displayed in the theater.)

    However, I have yet to see a poster that I like; all the ones that have come out have at least one of the following: poor coloring/contrast, pics of Peter and Susan (even if you remove my purist-ness, they were in the movie for all of…60 seconds?) pics of the White Witch, cliche taglines, and snow (a pet peeve, both because of my purist side and because there’s only 30 seconds of snow in the movie). But they were there, and they were visible, and I guess that’s what counts.

    As for the faith community, I’m in agreement that it was poor marketing compared to the other two. But really, what did they have to offer? A cliche temptation theme (that overwhelmed the movie in ways Lewis never intended) that was more about overcoming temptation yourself than needing the help of a ‘Higher Power’, a blink-and-you-miss it redemption scene by said ‘Higher Power’ and a cliche line to boot, some ‘true beauty’ lines, and one powerful-moment-lost statement about Aslan being in our world by another name. The movie is family friendly, but as for being the allegory-filled wonder that the movie versions of LWW (and, to a point, PC) were…it wasn’t happening.

    Also, to a point, I think the behind-the-scenes on Disney Channel were vital to the other two and the lack thereof probably contributed to VoDT’s failure at the box office.

    But I wouldn’t blame the movie’s failure to succeed monetarily on the marketing department (not like we could in PC). I’d blame it on the movie. It’s confusing if you haven’t read the book; it’s a huge disappointment if you have. Either way, no one’s going to go home and rave about it. :/ 🙁

  • kristine says:

    I honestly was not suprised at the poor numbers, mainly because the marketing was so poor. Whereas Disney made the mistake of marketing to the wrong audience (teens, etc) to the point of losing the family audience, with Fox I thought the issue was the complete lack of marketing all together. I saw nothing around where I lived to alert the casual moviegoer that VDT was coming out at all.. no billboards, no posters,etc. I also noticed there were no features about the movie at all in the holiday movie previews in entertainment weekly and other magazines I subscribe too. At least HP had several covers and when PC was coming out there were articles on it as well. VDT has absolutely nothing except one or two footnotes at the bottom of the articles if at all. It was also absent at comic-con. There was also no US premiere so I am not surprised it is doing so poorly here. It’s such a shame. How much did fox even spend on marketing? Aside from a few TV spots, I didn’t see anything else in terms of advertising.

  • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

    and why weren’t georgie and skandar on a million tv shows while they were here promoting the zoos? and i never heard about that either, until afterwards on here.

    • Pepper Darcy says:

      hey, I hope I didn’t offend you by saying that about Johnny Depp. I had no clue who said that. I saw it *so* long ago, and I hadn’t paid attention to the name. I’m really sorry. I hope I wasn’t too much of a jerk. Forgive me? 🙁 Again, I’m very sorry! I open my mouth and get myself in lots of trouble 🙁

    • Kristine says:

      So true! Why did they not send out Georgie, Ben, and skandar to do the talk show circuit? It makes no sense to have them show up to a zoo where it is not nationally televised. The 3 have great charisma and they really should have put them out there In the mass media. Also, where are the red carpet premieres all over the world? Usually there are premieres in other countries and pics of the cast always help. My guess is fox tried to save money and in so doing really killed any chance of the franchise turning around with Vdt. They turned an event movie into an afterthought that never registered with the casual moviegoer.

      • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

        I agree, not even the bottom line, basic regular stuff. very odd. almost like an independent flick

  • Tuxedo Dragon says:

    I didn’t really see a lot of commercials for the film on TV. When Caspian came out I saw a ton. I heard they’d aired something during a Harry Potter Marathon. Which is good. I also saw the piece the 700 club did about it. But there just didn’t seem to be a lot of tv spots. At least from my point of view.

  • Roger says:

    I agree with many of the comments here. Before LWW I had never read anything by Lewis. What caught me was the LWW teaser trailer and then going to the web site and seeing the mini-documentaries. They were excellent. I then really wanted to see the movie. We are talking about a few months before the release. LWW had a excellent marketing campaign. I have since read all the Narnia books many times. PC did not do the same thing.

    On VDT the web site has been very poorly used. I have enjoyed the game and have done very well on the game. The game can, at best, be only a small part of a successful web site. The web site had almost nothing else. This can still be corrected. With what me are now finding out about the FX of VDT, they should have had a documentary out this last summer. They could have had documentaries about Georgie Henley and Will Poulter. When production wrapped we had a few letters from Ernie Malik, but they stopped. There was no sustained campaign to engage the fans except for the two major fan sites. Fan sites do not have the resources to mount a major campaign, and that is not their purpose. NarniaWeb and NarniaFans did very well. Fox did almost nothing. Go to Foxmovies.com. A very poor web site. Narnia.com is poor. What is Fox doing to engage people enough to want to see this movie? Walden is trying, but they do not control advertising. The Fox distributors in each country do the advertising.

    • waggawerewolf27 says:

      I agree that the website was not good for visitors. Some people just want to visit the site and enjoy the news and trailers. Even if they are interested in a game or two there should be no obligation to have a facebook or twitter account, which annoyed me.

  • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

    liam neeson was on the today show, today, along with the view

  • Moonwood says:

    Spoiler alert—
    Just saw it for the first time.
    I can’t believe how good it was !! Yes, annoying plot changes ( what do you expect ) yes, it was ‘dumbed down ‘ for younger kids, but—
    It was soooo good ! It kept the spirit of the book way more than the other 2 movies, which frankly, I like far less now. I will buy a copy of the dvd for all my friends.Finally, a Narnia movie I can really be proud of representing Narnia.
    LOVED the illustrations from the book at the end, dragon tears, Caspians remarks about Reep not shutting up, but that look that said he loved him.
    The de-dragoning was satisfactory.
    Duf’s were perfect in every way.
    Just wish it was longer. I hope for an extra half hour on dvd : I sneezed and missed half of it. More, more ! I still not satisfied !

  • Moonwood says:

    In all sincerity, I can now say that the only reason a critic could have for really disliking this movie is the allegory; which as far as I’m concerned was the best part of the movie.
    And I also cried at the end.
    That doesn’t make me a queen!

  • Moonwood says:

    On topic, the marketing for this movie SUCKED, I saw it friday night at 9 20, and we were FIVE in the audience to see this jewel of a movie

    • Not Of This World says:

      It might been the city or Theater you were in.

      • Moonwood says:

        Don’t bother responding to my comments, Not of this world, I find your politically charged cracks arrogant, and irritating at best. You are the perfect example of ‘the ugly American’, and do not represent your culture, as you seem to think you do.

      • Not Of This World says:

        No offence, but I found you coment rude. I said nothing against you at all. And I’m not an "ugly american". I try to live my life the way God wants me to. I only represent my self. And I have no intent to offend anyone. If I had, I’d like to appologize. But be more carefull with your words please, Moonwood.

      • barnesfan#5 says:

        Wow, moonwood that was very mean and needless. Not Of This World was just responding to your coment about your veiwing of narnia. He said nothing mean or rude to you, then you blew up and were mean to him. That is not the Narnian way.

      • Moonwood says:

        You have a point, B. fan , but I was refering to several other comments he has made in he past, that it seems he decided to forget. He has been ‘following me around’, making subtle, and definately not-subtle cracks about the inferiority of certain countries.This has been going on for a while, and I wanted him to stop. Obviously, he can’t take a hint. So here we are again.

      • Not Of This World says:

        I am not "following you aroud". I don’t even remeber your user name. And if you are talking about that one time that person said some rude things about the Rupublican party, I stated my oppinion. That’s it. I’ve not made a political statement since. You are incorect with your acusations.

      • Moonwood says:

        That’s good. keep it up, let all that bad stuff out of your system.But I fear if you keep going, your head may explode !
        Why don’t you just let it go

      • Moonwood says:

        Oh, and I almost forgot–the republican party is the ***re of Babylon.
        you pollute this site with your propaganda
        I will not return here, even to see your response
        Over, and out.

      • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

        shucks, just when it was getting juicy. (JUST KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!)

  • rexreed says:

    In Houston they had bill boards with just Aslan on them saying "He Returns." They did a fair amoount of TV advertising, which is expensive, and just tonight, a weel after the opening they are still advertising on TV and the newspaper ads are full color. For some reason the faith community did not attend this movie. Sjame on them. Maybe it is because fewer people read the book or they really do need a Disney like marketing blitz to get excited about a movie. Fox has plenty of marketing experience, but the early trailers looked pretty dull. None of this explains why it did average business in the UK of all places. That really is a mystery to me.

    • Moonwood says:

      I think plain and simple, PC was so bad, ‘Peter an. Cas. were so annoying in it, many people just didn’t want to be burned again.

  • son of adam says:

    Matthew Vaughn should direct the next Narnia movies!

    Stardust budget – 70mil
    Kick-ass budget – 30mil

    • Not Of This World says:

      Please don’t curse on this website, son of adam. This is nothing against you, but there could be little eyes reading these coments. Next time can you find other words to replace them? Thanks!

      • son of adam says:

        sorry, I was just thinking maybe this will help for the next Narnia movies……

      • son of adam says:

        I’m thinking maybe Walden Media will hire Matthew Vaughn, you know, he can do a great movie with such a low budget….

        I heard VDT us B.O. not so well, maybe it would cause The Silver Chair not being made, then I think maybe Matthew Vaughn would help, if they can do the next movie with lower budget, Matthew Vaughn could be a good choice to direct……

        Anyway, sorry……

      • Not Of This World says:

        That’s okay 🙂 And I think I like your idea!

      • son of adam says:

        I hope words could reach Walden Media’s ears……

  • elton says:

    its not better than LWW

  • thesithempire says:

    HighQueenShellyBelly: Well said! I think that’s true.

    Twinimage:

    <<I am also tired of film makers trying to conform every movie to the usual formula that every blockbuster movie has been doing for the past 5+ years. If they will just make a faithful adaption, it will appeal to most everyone.>>

    Potentially. It takes more than a "faithful" adaptation. The BBC versions are extremely faithful. But they’re lacking certain things are important to a larger audience. That said, I would like to see faithfulness more than not. I think VDT has it where it counts. The green mist and kidnappings were necessary additions that don’t take anything away from the film, except it’s desultory nature (which may be what some of you like, but that’s never going to meet the demands of a movie, which requires a through-line).

    <<One more point I want to make. "Dark" does not guarantee success. It works well for marketing right now, but once they see the film, it will still fail if it’s not a good movie. Just because LOTR or the Dark Knight were successful, doesn’t mean every movie right now has to be dark to compete with other movies today.

    LOTR wasn’t successful because it was dark. To say that would be very narrow-minded. LOTR is a masterpiece, a great piece of film.>>

    Darkness isn’t the issue. Fantasy needs to have a grounding in both reality and surreality, and that includes naturally dark elements, like death and evil. There’s no escaping that. Any attempt to cast a fantasy film without those elements is a movie for babies. The problem in this country is that you have hyper-sensitive, overreactive, undereducated parents who think that anything remotely scary or touching on serious issues is too intense for their coddled, sheltered kids. That’s NOT how Tolkien or Lewis viewed their kids or the books they wrote for younger audiences.

    The other problem in this country is that you have a cynical, boorish, undereducated audience who can’t handle anything that requires too much thought, depth or emotion.

    Any wonder that between these two groups, VDT is doing infinitely better in Europe!

    <<And in response to something thesithempire said, Narnia shouldn’t capture the magic of LOTR, because it’s not LOTR, it’s Narnia. If you want LOTR magic, you watch LOTR. This is a common problem filmmakers make.>>

    In fairness, I don’t think I said that (and if I did, I certainly didn’t mean it like that). Narnia is certainly a different world and feel than Middle-Earth. Narnia needs to have its own magic (and by that I don’t mean special effects wizardry). I think VDT captured that. For me, at least. It’s subjective. If I had been in a bad mood, or tired, or hungry, maybe it might’ve slipped by. I don’t like to judge films on a single viewing, any more than I like to judge music. If it captures you that first time, that’s great. But some things need time to grow in the mind and heart. Of course, we’re not the most patient peoples in the world either.

    <<They want to mimic other franchises, but they should bring out what is original, unique and special about Narnia.>>

    The entertainment industry, as a whole, has gone down that path. You see it in music, literature and film, and that wasn’t the case even thirty years ago, where uniqueness was strived for by artists and those in the business.

    Ultimately, if you want to show them that you care about originality and creativity, don’t financially support the cookiee-cutter clones that Hollywood and the media largely churns out. Support smaller films and art that has something to say, and says it with genuine craft, talent and heart.

  • Josh says:

    IMO the marketing for Dawn Treader was the worse marketing for a Narnia movie ever.

    Reasons:
    1) The trailers and featurettes. Raise your hand if you go to Apple Trailers and just surf through all the upcoming releases. In my anticipation for Dawn Treader, I looked up all the movie trailers and featurettes I could find. What did I find?
    They were all the same thing, re-edited a bit! Three different trailers showing basically the same thing over and over again in different sequential order. Same for featurettes.

    2) The "Narnia" hook.
    What was the tagline in the trailer? "Return to Narnia/magic"? OK, so you’re trying to get me excited about the next Narnia movie because…it’s a Narnia movie?
    That was pretty much the only reason Fox gave us to go see this movie (that plus more VFX). The problem: that’s not good enough. Sure I love Narnia but can you promise me you’ll give me a good story? That I’ll exit the theater satisfied? Ooh, that leads to number 3…

    3) No mystery (plus vagueness). I’ve already read the books. You’ve gotta interest me more than just showing me clips of what I already know PLUS this weird green mist that just makes me confused.

    Ultimately the trailer was bad. LWW’s and PC’s trailers were a lot better.

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