Paramount has so far dropped $150 million on the marketing for this weekend's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra — an incredible figure given that all anyone seems to know about the thing is how awful it probably is. We don't recall seeing many billboards near our apartment, so where are they spending all that money? The L.A. Times reports that the studio is skipping the coasts in favor of promoting Joe in America's heartland.
G.I. Joe is embedded in the Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd concert tour, advertised at the Country Music Television Awards, and excerpted on giant video screens at Minnesota's Mall of America. It is bombarding Kansas City, Charlotte, Columbus, and Grand Rapids on new digital billboards.
The subtext is none too subtle: Critics are likely to roast the film, and fanboys of the original toy line and comic book may be indifferent, but if you're a flag-waving, Nascar-loving American, it's practically your patriotic duty to see this movie.
Paramount's decision to focus so heavily on just one segment of the audience illustrates — in a market increasingly fragmented by demographics and swayed by word of mouth via Twitter, text messages, and Facebook updates — the lengths to which studios will go to maximize early exposure among audiences most likely to embrace a film and to minimize it for everyone else.
Will it work? It seems like it might! "I've never had a movie where I have had more responses from competitors scratching their heads and wondering why the tracking is so good," says Paramount chief Rob Moore. It's just a shame Universal never thought to try this for Brüno.