Modern campaigns have three acts: a year or more before the film debuts, you introduce it with ninety-second teaser trailers and viral Internet “leaks” of gossip or early footage, in preparation for the main trailer, which appears four months before the release; five weeks before the film opens, you start saturating with a “flight” of thirty-second TV spots; and, at the end, you remind with fifteen-second spots, newspaper ads, and billboards. Studios typically spend about ten million dollars on the “basics” (cutting trailers and designing posters, conducting market research, flying the film’s talent to the junket and the première, and the première itself) and thirty million on the media buy. Between seventy and eighty per cent of that is spent on television advertising (enough so that viewers should see the ads an average of fifteen times), eight or nine per cent on Internet ads, and the remainder on newspaper and outdoor advertising. The hope is that a potential viewer will be prodded just enough to make him decide to see what all the fuss is about.
I just wish they would stop calling promotional websites “viral”.
But it is an interesting insight into the routine we are subjected to in the dance of anticipation of our favourite films.