Dear Hollywood: why didn’t you tell me more about Jack Black’s Gulliver’s Travels?

Hello there studio marketing managers,

I realise that I’m talking about a movie that was released in order to be in contention for last year’s award season, so you’ve probably just about forgotten it.  Nevertheless, I’d like you to consider the fact that I’m a comedy-tragic who writes and promotes a lot about comedy elsewhere online, yet until tonight when I flicked past Jack Black’s version of Gulliver’s Travels (December 2010) on my cable TV? I was totally unaware that Billy Connolly, Catherine Tate and Chris O’Dowd were key members of the supporting cast. You hardly built them up in the trailers now, did you?

I suggest that if more Australians (and perhaps others in the British Commonwealth) had been aware of this fact, this film might have done rather better in the box office globally.  Sure, it was formulaic (what Jack Black film isn’t these days?), but it was reasonably well produced formulaic, and it’s the kind of formulaic that lots of people flock to, so long as they’re confident in the supporting cast.  It wasn’t super legend, but it wasn’t totally dreadfully awful either.  It could have done so much better, because it only returned a ~2x return on investment, yes?  I bet that whoever green-lighted this project was expecting a rather better return than that – and if more people had known who else was in the movie, then that might have happened.

I’d also like to suggest that this might be something you’d like to consider in marketing films in Australia in the future. If you’re going to take the trouble of casting veteran British (or other non-USian) actors who are extremely popular outside the USA in your ensemble cast, because they’ve got what it takes to make your story work, you might like to actually make them more obvious in your marketing to countries where they are big stars.



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4 replies

  1. I remember noticing both Connolly and Tate in the advertising. Maybe you just missed those ads?

    • I saw a few trailers and noticed Conolly, but the fact that he got such a brief flash annoyed me enough that it didn’t motivate me to see the film. I didn’t realise that the redhead standing next to him was Tate, because she got even less screen time in the trailer than Connolly did, and O’Dowd’s moment is virtually unrecognisable. Their names certainly weren’t on anything that I saw.

  2. It does? I shake my angry fist in the general direction of Hollywood!

  3. I had no idea Tate was in this movie. I have to see it now. Do you hear me, Tate? I love you so much, I will stomach a Jack Black film that *isn’t* “Pick of Destiny”.

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