Section A: Audience and InstitutionsCase Study: Prometheus
Exam Focus• the issues raised by media ownership• the importance of cross media convergence and synergy in production, distribution andmarketing;• the technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels ofproduction, distribution, marketing and exchange;• the significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions and audiences;• the issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically, British) byinternational or global institutions;• the ways in which the candidates’ own experiences of media consumption illustratewider patterns and trends of audience behaviour.
Minimising Risk• Director: Ridley Scott (Alien, BladeRunner, Gladiator, Hannibal, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom ofHeaven, American Gangster, Robin Hood)• Investors trust Scott to make big budget films, often on anepic scale, with international stars and make a profit.• He has a fan base, as do the stars of the film.• It is also in the science fiction genre which also has a hugeamount of dedicated fans and the idea that this film is aprequel to Alien has attracted many more people to it.• That film, as well as Blade Runner, are widely considered tobe science fiction classics and Ridley Scott’s return to thegenre is a really big deal for fans.
Budget• Ridley Scott is said to have originally asked for$250, 000, 000.Fox said “Make it PG rated and we may give youthe money”Scott said one word..."NO".The final estimated budget was around$130,000,000
Media Ownership: Production Companies• Brandywine Productions is an American film production companymost known for its Alien film franchise.• Dune Entertainment produced films like Percy Jackson & theOlympians: The Lightning Thief, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The A-Team, Knight and Day, Unstoppable, The Chronicles of Narnia: TheVoyage of the Dawn Treader, and Gullivers Travels’ Wikipedia• Scott Free Productions is Ridley and Tony Scott’s productioncompany and it works closely with RSA Films,(the advertisingcompany started by Ridley Scott more than forty years ago) .• Distributed by 20th Century Fox suggesting they have put moneyinto the production in order to get distribution rights.
Production• Principal photography began in March 2011, with filming taking place inCanada, England, Scotland, Iceland, and Spain.• Shot at Pinewood and Shepperton Studios• This is the fifth time that Ridley Scott has shot at the studios; previousfilms have included Alien, Legend, White Squall, and Robin Hood.Ridley Scott said of working at Pinewood and Shepperton: “It’s myheritage, my personal heritage, I film everywhere in the world and I thinkall things considered what we have to offer here are as good as anythingyou’re going to get in Hollywood.”
New Technologies: 3D• The entire movie has been shot in 3D and theexperience has been so compelling for Scottthat he writes:• “I will never be the same again. Even with adialogue scene, the arena in the room grows.There is no question that you can be drawn infurther by the feeling that you are there.”’
Targeting Audiences: Classification• Fox was keen for the film to be open to a wider audience and so pushed for a moreteen-friendly rating• Ridley Scott hints that the violence may have been toned-down enough tofacilitate a PG-13 rating, but intriguingly suggests that the impact will match the R-grade shocks of Alien and Aliens.• Scott said early in the production of the film "The question is, do you go for the PG-13, [which] financially makes quite a difference, or do you go for what it shouldbe, which is R? Essentially, its kinda R."Scott said: "Its not just about the blood, its about ideas that are very stressful. Imnot an idiot, but Ill do everything I can to get the most aggressive film I can.”• The film was eventually released as a 15 certificate.
Targeting Audiences: Stars• Charlize Theron "Snow White and theHuntsman"• Michael Fassbender "X-Men: First Class"• Noomi Rapace "The Girl with the DragonTattoo
Media Ownership: Distribution• 20th Century Fox were responsible for thedistribution and the complex marketingcampaign for the film.• 20th Century Fox allowed audiences toimmerse themselves in the world of“Prometheus” long before the film wasreleased.
Targeting Audiences/New Technologies/Proliferationof Content : Online Marketingwww.projectprometheus.comThe Project Prometheus website allowed audiences to look atthe fictional company ‘Weyland Industries’.
Targeting Audiences/New Technologies/Proliferationof Content : Online Marketing• Users could join “Project Prometheus” to play games, readsecret materials, create I.D. cards, etc.• These features allowed audiences to interact with the film andbuilt momentum for its release.
Targeting Audiences/NewTechnologies/Proliferation of Content : David 8• Michael Fassbender plays a character called ‘David’. The website builds andelaborate back-story detailing his creation.• A Twitter account was also set up to allow users to interactwith David using social media.
• This .gif image is another great example of using the web toimmerse audiences:
Cross Media Convergence: TEDWebsite• To fuel the sense of expectation four short ‘viral clips’ werereleased onto the web• These created a detailed back-story to the film• The most significant of these clips used the increasingly well-known and significant TED (Technology, Education, Design)conference• It featured a character from the film, Peter Weyland, making aspeech to the conference in 2023 some 50 years before thesetting of the film
TED Website• FROM THE TED WEBSITE:TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to IdeasWorth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as aconference bringing together people from threeworlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Sincethen its scope has become ever broader. Along withtwo annual conferences -- the TED Conference inLong Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and theTEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK eachsummer -- TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project andTED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows andTEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.
TED Website• The TED website describes Weyland, the keynotespeaker, in the following terms:• Peter Weyland has been a magnet for controversy since heannounced his intent to build the first convincingly humanoidrobotic system by the end of the decade.• Whether challenging the ethical boundaries of medicine withnanotechnology or going toe to toe with the Vatican itself onthe issue of gene-therapy sterilization, Sir Peter prideshimself on his motto, “If we can, we must.” After a three yearmedia blackout, Weyland has finally emerged to reveal wherehe’s heading next. Wherever that may be, we will mostcertainly want to follow.
Targeting Audiences/New Technologies/Proliferationof Content/Cross Media Convergence: Viral clip 2• Viral clip 2 – creation of the android David• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWmbqH_z7jM
Targeting Audiences/New Technologies/Proliferationof Content/Cross Media Convergence: Viral clip 3• Viral Clip 3 – Phone call between ‘Dr. Elizabeth Shaw’ and ‘Sir Peter Weyland’• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9PNTIZeJzY
Targeting Audiences/New Technologies/Proliferationof Content/Cross Media Convergence: Viral clip 4• Viral Clip 4 – Peter Weyland quoting Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnTWPH9Bd1U
Traditional Media• The first teaser poster was released on 14December 2011 followed by the teaser traileron 22 December 2011 on iTunes in order tobuild anticipation for the official trailer.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFfhttZYoEwhttp://sciencefiction.com/2011/12/19/teaser-for-prometheus-movie-trailer/
The teaser poster featured the tagline “The Search ForOur Beginning Could Lead To Our End”.
Cross Media Convergence: Traditional Media• The official trailer was released in partnershipin with AMC cinemas on 17 March 2012.• It was simultaneously shown at the AMCDowntown Disney during WonderCon and onFacebook, Twitter and the AMC cinemaswebsite.• It was published immediately after on theAMC YouTube page.
Cross Media Convergence/New Technologies/Targetingaudiences/Proliferation of Content :Traditional Media• The International Launch Trailer debuted inthe UK on 29 April 2012 on Channel 4.• It was played during the first advertisementbreak during Homeland.• Viewers were encouraged to Tweet theirthoughts and opinions which allowedaudiences to interact with the film using socialmedia.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1byZkbNB3Jw“It wasn’t any ordinary ad. It was part of live experiment as Channel 4 invited viewers toshare their thoughts about the teaser on Twitter, under the #areyouseeingthis hashtag, andthen featured a selection of live tweets in the following ad break. The results wereimpressive with thousands sharing their thoughts. The ad was a worldwide first and markedthe first time a broadcaster had created a tailored TV spot, which featured live tweets thatwere sent only minutes before.”
Cross Media Convergence/TargetingAudiences/Media Ownership: Other Marketing•Fox France promoted the film internationally with a huge publicity stunt inParis. They transformed a closed subway station, including a giant blue beadand enormous spot lights so that riders could see it as they passed through:http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fssV1o5Mryc
Media Ownership/Cross Media ConvergenceThis full page advert featuredin the Wall Street Journal.The Wall Street Journal isowned by “News Corporation”- the conglomerate that alsoown 20th Century Fox.
Cross Media Convergence: Synergy• Prometheus uses synergy with TED in its viralclip.
Cross Media Convergence: Synergy• Prometheus partnered Internet Explorer to promotethe film and promote the HTML 5 for Windows.
Cross Media Convergence: Synergy• VerzionFios ran a campaign for Prometheus giving audiences thechance to win a competition and a virtual tour of the spaceship.• The campaign was nominatedfor a OMMA Award for OnlineAdvertising Creativity.
New Technologies/Targeting Audiences:Exhibition• The film was released on 10th June 2012 in anumber of different formats:• 2D Standard• 3D Standard• 3D Imax
New Technologies/Targeting Audiences:2D v 3D• Controversially the film was released on more3D screens than 2D. This meant choice forsome audiences was severely limited.• Here is Mark Kermode talking about the issue:• http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/markkermode/2012/06/prometheus_-_2d_v_3d.html
Targeting Audiences: Secret Cinema• The "Prometheus,“ event was launched intandem with the U.K. release in June 2012 afirst for Secret Cinema.• This is the first time Secret Cinema haveshown a new release.
Targeting Audiences: Secret Cinema• The four-week run of the Secretscreenings, which ended Sunday, smashedticket sales for a single venue for"Prometheus," grossing £720,000 ($1.1million) across 38 shows in 28 days.• The secret film attracted more than 25,000attendees.
Targeting Audiences: Secret Cinema• For "Prometheus," promoters transformed a190,000-square-foot warehouse in centralLondon into a futuristic spaceship, includingprops from the actual movie.• Ticketholders, who were invited to come dressedlike workers in various scientific professions, metat a spot nearby and were led to the secretscreening by actors.• The interaction continued with the actors re-enacting scenes until the film began, preceded bya taped message from Scott.
Targeting Audiences: Secret Cinema• The event provides inspiration for distributors looking foralternative methods to showcase films.• It also fits in with how marketers increasingly find theyneed to reach moviegoers with their campaigns in foreignterritories, especially Europe.• Audiences there tend to react more to campaigns wherethey can interact with a films marketing materials throughphoto opportunities or other experiences.• Doing so makes audiences feel as if they have a connectionto a film when it bows, rather than more traditionalposter, billboard and trailer efforts in the U.S.
Summary• The production, distribution and exhibitionphases of the film “Prometheus” can easily beused to demonstrate your understanding ofsome of the key focus areas. In particular:• Cross Media Convergence• New Technologies• Media Ownership• Targeting Audience
Summary• This case study can easily be compared andcontrasted with “Shifty” to show an excellentunderstanding of the similarities anddifferences between a major studioproduction and an independently producedfilm.
Key Question• With reference to the industry you havestudied, discuss the following statement:“ Products that are created ‘independently’ cannever be as successful as those that are bornout of mass media conglomerates ”.
Compare “Shifty” to Prometheus (and/or The HungerGames).• Use clear examples from the case studies to help youexplain:• How films from major studios can easily dominant the filmindustry as they have the power to draw large audiences.• How independent films use the same tools but on a muchsmaller scale.• That independent films can never make as much money asthe “blockbusters” but that they usually don’t spend as mucheither, hence it is easier to make a profit and be successful.• That independent films can be just as successful but on amuch smaller scale.