The awareness and interest in Judd Apatow, Gregg Mottola and Seth Rogen‘s Superbad is still on the soft side, and Sony Pictures, believe it or not, is not planning on sneaking it the weekend after next to give it a boost. This morning’s tracking on the funniest teen-sex movie in recent history indicates a continuing low-energy situation out there — 37% general awareness, 29% of this group have a definite interest, 1% is calling it a first choice and there’s a 1% unaided awareness.
Superbad costars Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
So the film sells itself, but the only way to change things at this stage of the game is to sneak it. And yet Sony, for reasons that will perhaps one day be understood, is not planning to do this, according to two Sony publicists I spoke to this morning.
R-rated comedies take longer to build awareness. TV buys are very limited with a blue comedy of this sort. There’s a huge word-of-mouth screening program going on right now, yes, but Superbad clearly sells itself like gangbusters so why not sneak it? What could the possible downside be to this strategy?
I saw Superbad again last night, this time with my son Jett, 19. He loved it — laughed, howled, thought everyone and everything was out-of-sight brilliant except for some of the more outlandish stuff with the alchoholic, self-destructive cops (Seth Rogen, Bill Hader). But he was also adamant as we came out that the Sony green-band trailer (i.e., the more widely distributed family-friendly version) has totally blown it in conveying how off-the-ground funny and super-witty this film really is.
“The trailer is not selling what it is,” Jett said twice. “It shows the physical slapstick comedy and the gross-out stuff, but none of the really wild-ass funny material. And the poster doesn’t say much of anything.”
I agree about the poster also. it’s just Jonah Hill and Michael Cera standing there and going “‘huh?”
” I was feeling kind ‘maybe’ about it, based on the trailer,” Jett said. “I knew that Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen being in it meant it would probably be pretty funny, but now that I know that it’s much better than this, I think they’re really blowing it.”
The R-rated red-band trailer does a slightly better job at conveying how Superbad plays. It’s viewable on the Superbad site, but red-band trailers are rarely shown in theatres and can’t be shown on the tube.
This morning’s tracking indicates that others out there have had the same reaction to the green-band trailer that Jett had — one of limited enthusiasm — before seeing it.
A marketing veteran tells me the only way Sony marketers could get the real magic and flavor of this film would to be to show an entire scene — the first McLovin fake ID scene when Hill rips into Christopher Mintz-Plasse for being an idiot — but that would necessitate including profanity and that means the usual restrictios.
In my 7.12 review, I called Superbad “the funniest, most cleverly written youth comedy in I-don’t-know- how-many-years. Produced by Judd Apatow and co-written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, it’s a better teen-sex film — funnier, wilder, more truthful even — than The 40 Year-Old Virgin or Knocked Up are in their respective realms.
“It also marks the return of director Greg Mottola, who’s been working steadily on television but languishing in movie jail since the success d’estime of The Daytrippers eleven years ago.
“Superbad also heralds the arrival of the funniest comic trio since the post-Duck Soup Marx Brothers — Jonah Hill (sociopathic big-mouthed fat guy), Michael Cera (bright, quiet, thoughtful guy) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (dweeby, pale-faced nerd). I’m serious — these guys are the total dynamo right now.
“You should have heard the crowd laughing last night at the Arclight. The oil was blowing out of the ground and splattering everyone in sight.”