You'd think Paramount and the makers of Up in the Air — Jason Reitman's new universally acclaimed, George Clooney–starring Juno follow-up, about a handsome corporate downsizer falling in love and coming to terms with his transient lifestyle, widely assumed to be a front-runner for this year's Best Picture Oscar — would have an easy time selling it to a nation of unemployed white-collar workers eager for a smart dramedy with an eye on their current plight. Obviously you'd be completely wrong, though! In today's L.A. Times, producers and consultants throw cold water on Air's box-office prospects, playing up the difficulty of advertising a serious, reality-based film with a complicated tagline and no Transformers or farting.
Reports Claudia Eller:
"This movie could either be cathartic or, because it hits so close to home, people may not want to spend two hours with something they're living with every day," said Russell Schwartz, a movie marketing consultant and former studio executive. "It's also a movie that's being released against the tide, when uplifting stories and light escapism are thriving."
"It's not an easily marketable movie," acknowledged executive producer Tom Pollock, whose Montecito Picture Co. co-financed the movie. "It's got romance, but it's hardly a romantic comedy. It's not an R-rated horror movie where audiences know what they're going to get."
And Paramount execs are just totally throwing up their hands:
"The movie will benefit most from strong reviews and word of mouth," said Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore. "The film's issues are not important to 15-year-olds but have real resonance for adult audiences who are dealing with job loss."
We suppose we understand how hard it can be to sell smart, well-reviewed adult-targeted entertainment these days, but has anyone told these clowns that their movie features Zach freakin' Galifianakis?