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CinemaInternational

Movies that Left Studios Baffled?

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Just had to ask this after seeing this 1970 ad on Warner Archive's Facebook page for Brewster McCloud. MGM was clearly at a loss on how to sell it.

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Have there been any other films that by posters, ad campaigns, or trailers have shown a company at loose ends with a film (well outside of this and Brazil, which famously came close to not being released)

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I can't think of any at the moment, but I will take this opportunity to say that I finally watched Brewster McCloud for the first time this past weekend, and loved it. I'd rank it in my top ten of that year.

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Before the TV series ever surfaced on cult PBS Friday nights, Columbia was originally supposed to distribute Monty Python's And Now For Something Completely Different (1972), which had been meant to be the first export, and didn't quite know what to make of it--

They eventually pulled the distribution, as they didn't know what an Upper Class Twit was, and thought the movie was making fun of the mentally handicapped.  

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As for studios that didn't know how to sell their movies, anybody remember Disney nervously trying to explain who or what Stitch was in Lilo & Stitch (2002), and rather over-defending his right to be a "real" Disney character?

 

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Maybe Performance, which was released by Warner Brothers in the States in 1970? It was filmed in 1968 but was held back for almost two years while they tried to figure out how to sell a quasi-mystical, gender-bending crime drama featuring an early "music video"-style sequence. There was some mildly graphic sex, but nothing really out of line with what was happening in films generally. They finally settled on a "mug shot" poster featuring Mick Jagger and James Fox, which I think worked well, and probably just hoped that Jagger would pull in an audience. Having seen it then, I can say there was great word of mouth, though it probably confused a lot of people. I know that the poster doesn't reflect the studio's bafflement, but they were definitely baffled by the film.

 

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13 hours ago, EricJ said:

 

As for studios that didn't know how to sell their movies, anybody remember Disney nervously trying to explain who or what Stitch was in Lilo & Stitch (2002), and rather over-defending his right to be a "real" Disney character?

 

 

Maybe by simply showing part of the opening scene stating Stitch is an alien lab experiment would had resolved that question. The Lion King satire only added confusion.

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4 hours ago, hamradio said:

Maybe by simply showing part of the opening scene stating Stitch is an alien lab experiment would had resolved that question. The Lion King satire only added confusion.

Not to mention, this was at the height of '01-'03 Shrek-fueled anti-Eisner/Disney frenzy, and Disney spent so much time trying to defend their new character, they forgot to explain what in tarnation a "Lilo" was.  (We saw her at the end of the parody-trailers, but that didn't answer audience's questions.)

So, audiences at the time not only wishfully believed they were seeing actual clips from a 90-minute movie about a blue alien crashing Disney classics--with no Hawaiian girls in it--but the more pipe-bomb faithful went on blogs proclaiming "Disney's decided to make fun of their own legacy! They've finally taken a clue from audiences' success of the Shrek movies!"

...Ohh, things were bad, back then.  😞

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Love that Brewster McCloud poster! Thanks, Cinema International. It isn't every poster that refers us to what the people in Greensboro and Winston-Salem were thinking.

For another example of "We don't know how to sell this": TCM has shown the trailer for A Face in the Crowd, which talks about how director Elia Kazan had previously brought us the great new actor Marlon Brando, and now he introduces another great new actor, Andy Griffith. Andy Griffith as the next Marlon Brando. Hmm.

 

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kingrat, is your username related to the film King Rat, which I never even heard of until it aired on 31 Days of Oscar this year?

I have mentioned this on another thread a long time ago, but Ron Howard told Bob Costas on his late night talk show of 25-30 years ago that Andy Griffith told him he never followed up A Face in the Crowd with any more heavy dramas because "That acting stuff is hard!" But, wow, that one film shows what might have been had Griffith chosen to walk that path.

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1 hour ago, sewhite2000 said:

kingrat, is your username related to the film King Rat, which I never even heard of until it aired on 31 Days of Oscar this year?

 

Yes. Loved the film when I first saw it on TV many years ago.

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IN SEARCH OF GREGORY (1969) is a charming but surreal "love story" starring Julie Christie. It bombed during a test screening in the U.S. Universal lost faith in it and never released the film in North America. But it did get a release in Europe, where it became a cult classic.

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The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart -(1970 MGM) Don Johnson supposedly hated the film. I'd like to see it again. 

DysYQ8DU8AE82Hf.jpeg

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"The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds" (1972)

Combining 2 one liners might make it interesting...

Beatrice....My life is full, my life is full.....of rabbit crap. :lol:

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8 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I have mentioned this on another thread a long time ago, but Ron Howard told Bob Costas on his late night talk show of 25-30 years ago that Andy Griffith told him he never followed up A Face in the Crowd with any more heavy dramas because "That acting stuff is hard!" But, wow, that one film shows what might have been had Griffith chosen to walk that path.

I was stunned when I first saw this. I couldn't believe how good he was. He seemed a real natural. I'm surprised he thought drama so hard. He was so at home with that.

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8 hours ago, jameselliot said:

The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart -(1970 MGM) Don Johnson supposedly hated the film. I'd like to see it again. 

DysYQ8DU8AE82Hf.jpeg

It seems as though there were a number of films from this era (late 60's/early 70's) which confused the hell out of studios (Brewster McCloud in the OP being a great example). They were dealing with a younger generation of directors and also trying to target the "youth market", so a lot of the films were outside the executives' wheelhouse. Their publicity departments must have had a pretty steep learning curve.

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