There was a time when a movie star only had to show up to the premiere of the film and grant a few interviews before it was released into theaters. With the advent of the Internet and a more globalized box-office focus, the responsibility of movie stars when it comes to promotion has grown massively.
The amount of publicity an actor or actress has to do varies wildly, depending on the film being promoted. If it is a small independent film that was made on a minuscule budget, the distributor probably is not going to spend a lot of money to promote it. Each red carpet event, including premieres and photo shoots, costs the studio money. Those costs are added to the total cost of the film, which must then sell more tickets in order to recoup its budget. As of 2007, the average Hollywood film spent a whopping $35.9 million on marketing costs per film.
There are exceptions to this rule, of course. If the small indie film in question is garnering awards buzz, then a studio might step up and begin spending more money on promotion. The studio knows that if the film gets nominated for Golden Globes, SAG Awards or especially Oscars, that will spur more public interest in the film. Even if the added promotional costs to get stars out to do publicity means a smaller profit margin, it is worth it for the prestige of winning major awards. This is one of the only times that a Hollywood executive might overspend on publicity.
If the film is expected to be a huge hit like “The Hunger Games” was in spring 2012, it will get a full publicity push that could add millions to the total cost of the film. The movie was based on a series of books by Suzanne Collins, so it already had a huge fan base before the first scene was filmed. It was expected to make millions just in midnight showings, and it didn’t disappoint. Part of this was because of the huge marketing campaign.
Stars like Jennifer Lawrence don’t pay for their airfare or hotel accommodations when they fly to different locales for publicity events. The studio generally foots the bill for all of those expenses, including pricey stylists and makeup artists to make sure the stars look picture perfect on the red carpet. With a film like this, those costs are almost negligible compared to the box office profits. The stars of “The Hunger Games” did multiple premieres in the United States then jetted off the Europe and Asia for their premieres as well. Overall, the actors spent over a month doing promotional activities. It paid off when the film broke box-office records across the globe.
In addition to events like premieres, some stars may be tasked with press junkets. These are day-long affairs where dozens of journalists will come to a hotel or conference room and interview the stars of a film in succession. Though food and drinks are often provided, these junkets get the movie exposure in several publications, so they are worth the effort. Some journalists who couldn’t travel for the junket may conduct the interview over a phone or by satellite, maximizing the amount of marketing done in one day.
The newest responsibilities of actors regarding their films come courtesy of the Internet. Live chats where the star will answer fan questions have become quite popular. They not only give fans the thrill on interacting directly with the fans, but they can be done from the comfort of the actor’s home, meaning no travel expenses to recoup. Twitter question and answer sessions have also become popular for the same reasons.
A film can gross up to 40 percent of its total box-office receipts in the opening weekend, so the studios know they have to make a huge marketing push right before the film’s release. That is why so much emphasis has been put on prerelease publicity. The studios take these publicity pushes very seriously, and can react badly if a star does not honor their commitments.
A good example is when Worldwide Entertainment Group sued socialite and occasional actress Paris Hilton for failure to promote the film “National Lampoon’s Pledge This.” They claim they lost over $8 million in revenue because she didn’t show up to promotional events that had already been paid for. Though Hilton fought to get the lawsuit dismissed, a judge allowed the trial to go forward. The suit is a cautionary tale for any actor who doesn’t want to promote a film. Marketing has become a huge part of a movie release, and actors have to participate, whether it is a whirlwind trip around the world or a few live chats from their sofas.
Source by Zack Mandell