Archive for the ‘20th Century Fox’ Category

Early ‘Fantastic Four 2′ Review Lands Theater Projectionist in Hot Water

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

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I need to be real careful before writing this story because, as much as it sucks, pure honesty can get a man in a whole lot of trouble round these parts. So here's the facts: Not long ago, an AICN (Ain't It Cool News) henchman (who goes by the name of Memflix on the site) wrote into AICN with an early review of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. To say it was just a tad negative would be a major understatement -- essentially, dude ripped the flick apart. Now since I'm seeing the film tonight (which kind of stinks, because I then have to run home and stay up till all hours of the night writing a review so it's done in time for you folks to devour first thing in the morning), I can't tell you whether or not Memflix's review was spot on or not. But regardless, whether the guy was telling the truth in his review has nothing at all to do with this story.

Turns out Memflix is Jesse Morrison; a projectionist working in Memphis who helps screen films early for the press and such. Therefore, he's able to catch these movies long before they're set to hit theaters. But unlike those folks in the theater (who are usually requested to wait until the week of or day of to shell out their review) Memflix isn't a professional critic, and so it's his belief that he can run over to AICN to dish all the dirty details without consequence. Until now. Apparently, 20th Century Fox wasn't so happy about that review (and who can blame them), so what they did was track down the identity of this kid, call up his boss and (according to Morrison) "threatened to take away the press and trade screenings" at the theater(s) in question, which happens to be part of the Malco Theater chain in Memphis.

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Fox and Peach Arch team with Reader’s Digest Family Films to Produce ‘Ace of Hearts’

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007
Reader's Digest This week, production began on ‘Ace of Hearts’, the first release under the new Reader’s Digest Family Films brand, according to a company press release. Peach Arch Entertainment is producing the film and will handle international distribution, while Fox will handle domestic marketing and distribution. Reader’s Digest will leverage its 40 million subscriber base (the largest magazine in America) via direct marketing, print and online promotions worldwide. The company also plans on leveraging its 26 other publications and web properties. The deal was brokered by the William Morris Agency and the Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Stiffelman, Gilbert-Lurie, Cook, Johnson & Wolf law firm.

Starring Dean Cain, ‘Ace of Hearts’ is a family adventure film following the adventures of a cop and his loyal German Shepard as they battle forces with a pack of wily criminals out for revenge. The film is tentatively slated for an early 2006 release. The script is based on a story that originally appeared in Reader’s Digest in 2002.

Fox Launches Second Demographically-targeted Specialty Division with FoxFaith

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

FoxFaith Logo
News Corp.'s Fox Filmed Entertainment today announced plans to target the Christian audience with the formal launch of the FoxFaith Home Enertainment Division.

FoxFaith will acquire up to twelve films a year, with a minimum of six theatrical releases a year under partnerships with AMC Theatres and Carmike Cinemas. The label will target evangelical Christians, a group whose beliefs have traditionally been at odds with secular Hollywood fare (including some of the racier content seen on Fox's broadcast network). The label has also partnered with the Dove Foundation, a non-profit that offers seals of approval to qualifying films free of offensive content.

Productions will be based on bestselling Christian fiction and will have production budgets under $5 million. Recent updates indicate they will be acquisitions, and not studio productions Additionally, the films will receive marketing support nearly equal to the production budgets, a significant figure for marketing low-budget films. This will complement Fox’s already hefty grassroots database of 90,000 congregations and 14 million evangelical households.

As we reported here over a year ago, FoxFaith has been making major inroads into the Christian marketplace in the DVD arena. Since the launch of the FoxFaith initiative last June, Fox has shipped over 30 million faith-based DVDs. As the DVD distributor for ‘Passion of the Christ,’ fox has sold an impressive 15 million units and established a considerable competitive advantage in marketing to the Christian community.

Another interesting element to this announcement: As opposed to the rest of Hollywood’s alignment of their theatrical and home video divisions along genre lines (Foreign, American Independent, Horror, etc.), Fox is throwing that paradigm out the window by aligning them along demographic lines, first with Fox Atomic, and now FoxFaith. It’s doesn't seem like much of a stretch to imagine a FoxAsian or FoxWomen specialty unit. After all, this model has been put to the test via specialty cable networks for several decades, but the web has given the model even more promise. With the lower cost of marketing to a known cohort, the centralization of these communities in online social networks, and the ease of building up reusable grassroots databases over time, Fox may have discovered a winning formula for combating the fracturing of the mass audience. The Weinsteins Company has placed a bet on this model as well with Our Stories Films, a specialty studio catering to the African-American audience.

MySpace and Fox Partner to Launch the ‘Black Carpet Screening Series’

Friday, September 15th, 2006

MySpace Logo
This morning, MySpace and Twentieth Century Fox announced the launch of the Black Carpet Screening Series, which will enable MySpace registered users a chance to see early previews of films before they hit theaters. The move is the biggest studio social networking promotion to date, and also marks MySpace’s first foray into a worldwide exclusive event.

The first advance screening will kickoff on September 20th, which will showcase 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,' a full two weeks ahead of the film’s November 3rd premiere. Members in Canada, Germany, the U.K., Ireland and 20 U.S. cities will have a chance to attend local screening events. Users will have to add the Black Carpet profile to their friends list, as well as the film they are interested in seeing, and they will then receive bulletins with details on cities and showtimes.

This looks like an exceptionally smart move by Fox to harness the viral effect of social networks. In effect, it is a brilliant marriage of the proven word of mouth Generating capability of advance screenings to MySpace’s 40 million member social network, and this move will enable the positive word of mouth to spread faster than face-to-face contact. It will be interesting to see which films they choose beyond ‘Borat;’ After all, we have seen how much of a double-edged sword instant word-of-mouth can be.

Nonetheless, this move furthers the synergy between MySpace and News Corp., and looks like a broadening of the studio’s recent efforts to court the youth market with the launch of their Fox Atomic label. It will be interesting to see if further synergies between MySpace and Fox Atomic develop, and also how the other studios will react.