How to market The Silver Chair...

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How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby Rilian » Dec 11, 2013 4:55 pm

Got the idea for this post from the David Magee thread and this comment...

Reepicheep775 wrote:Really interesting podcast! Rilian's idea of Magee being a way to tell the movie industry that The Silver Chair is something to be taken seriously got me thinking. I really wonder if The Silver Chair is going to be marketed as a classic of children's literature almost as a standalone and not as the fourth movie in a franchise.


How should the film be marketed? This also entails how it can be marketed realistically. Should they keep the Narnia logo we've had for the first three films? Should "The Chronicles of Narnia" be part of the title? All options.

I would absolutely say "Yes" to the latter. Let the story speak for itself. Even with films like VotDT, there's still an appeal to the world of Narnia. Make this film look good and advertise its own unique story and story appeal. From a trailer perspective, I think they should focus on the story itself, not any hangovers from the first three. The teaser for VotDT was a good example of how not to do this because it was basically *WINE*WINE*I'M NOT A KING...A BOAT THIS TIME...ASLAN...REEP...EPIC...WEIRDER AND WEIRDER...SHOT OF PETER AND SUSAN JUST IN CASE YOU'RE EXTRA THICK THIS IS NARNIA. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF3ahoBv5MA[/youtube]

There needs to be continuity, and taking delicate care of the story will provide that. Viewers only really care about actor continuity anyway but mostly to not be confusing, and that's not a possibility here anymore with Poulter's age.

Bottom line: Names like Harry Potter or The Hobbit in the title guarantee some success for a film. Narnia no longer will unless the studio uses posters, interviews, tv spots and trailer that make the story of The Silver Chair look attracting by itself.

My two cents.
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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby fantasia_kitty » Dec 12, 2013 8:32 am

@Rilian, you forgot to mention the 2 billion shots of the White Witch. :P

One of the few things Narnia has going for it that no other fantasy series does, is that the books stand on their own and they're not one continuous story. I firmly believe that the marketing should reflect that. As you mentioned above Rilian, VDT was especially guilty of pulling too much from the previous books rather than focusing on the story at hand, though PC was as well. I have a feeling that because of the way VDT turned out, the production making SC will likely want to distance themselves from that movie so hopefully they won't advertise as a VDT sequel.

I suspect that we may have a full recast of characters on our hands, so that will certainly help.
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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby Reepicheep775 » Dec 12, 2013 8:36 am

I'd be for dropping the "Chronicles of Narnia" from the title and marketing this as a semi-standalone. At this point, I'm not sure if the name recognition of the other movies would help or hurt SC. After VDT, I can't help but think people would have a hard time taking a fourth Narnia film seriously. I think it would have a better chance if it tried to ignore the past films, and present SC as a children's classic more than anything else.
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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby Impending Doom » Dec 12, 2013 10:20 am

I'd be for dropping the "Chronicles of Narnia" from the title and marketing this as a semi-standalone. At this point, I'm not sure if the name recognition of the other movies would help or hurt SC. After VDT, I can't help but think people would have a hard time taking a fourth Narnia film seriously.


But how much of the general public will actually remember VDT? Majority of people didn't even know about another Narnia film. By the time SC is released at least 7 years will have passed since VDT. I think that's enough time for people to forget the Dawn Treader film, but the name Narnia is still recognizable to the public which will benefit the film. So I can't see them dropping the "Chronicles Of Narnia" title. But I agree with marketing it as a stand alone movie.

Bottom line: they need to make SC look intriguing and original to attract casual movie goers - not like a generic fantasy movie.
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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby Cymru » Dec 12, 2013 10:39 am

The only difficulty with creating a standalone film separate from the others is that no Narnia film/book is entirely absent of its constant - Aslan. One assumes they will recast Neeson as Aslan, but perhaps this would be one of the best ways to set a new tone is by giving Aslan a new voice? It's not impossible. Though audiences were sad about the departure of Richard Harris as Dumbledore, they quickly got over it.

I think Azkaban's marked departure from the first two Potter films is a good example for these film makers. There had been some complaining about the lack of cinematic pacing etc in those first films (I loved them!) and so they came blaring in with a new color palette and cinematography and bleaker sets, etc., and gave the soundtrack this distinct Medieval tone - all things that gave it a unique identity while maintaining the building storyline and precreated structure.

Although Silver Chair has enough story on its own, Eustace has a definite backstory. Aslan has a strong backstory. And the royal connection to Caspian plays a key part in at least one scene. The writers really can't just let all that go without losing some of the strong character of this book, but they can introduce a new style/voice that says clearly that new artists are helming the story's telling.

I love this opportunity to see Lewis' work redeemed. If this film is good, perhaps others only exposed to the deplorable film will suspect that perhaps it wasn't the fault of the books, but the former filmmakers.

I do fear what will happen if folks rush up to "catch up on the films" before the SC's release!
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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby Reepicheep775 » Dec 12, 2013 10:59 am

Impending Doom wrote:But how much of the general public will actually remember VDT? Majority of people didn't even know about another Narnia film.

That's true. I don't know about the majority of people, but a lot of comments on various movie news sites I looked at when SC was announced were things like: "Wait. They made two more films after the first one?!"

@Cymru: The Prisoner of Azkaban is a really good example. I was trying to think of a film/franchise to compare the situation of SC with, but couldn't think of one... I can't believe I didn't think of Harry Potter.

Okay, maybe I'd be open to keeping "The Chronicles of Narnia" in the title, but it would be a huge mistake to market SC as a sequel to VDT.
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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby Cymru » Dec 12, 2013 11:16 am

It would be eaiser to break from the former films if they recast Eustace. How can they not? He's HUGE now!
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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby SilverSea » Dec 12, 2013 12:43 pm

Interesting points here. :) I think they also need to make Eustace, Jill, and Puddleglum likeable enough protagonists to replace the Pevensies. Potential movie-goers who watched the first three films but haven't read the books would probably think "What happened to those 4 kids?" when they see SC's trailers and posters.
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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby narnia fan 7 » Dec 13, 2013 9:36 pm

Sense unlike the first three books/films SC has main character in Jill Pole I'd like to see them market the film that way.
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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby icarus » Dec 14, 2013 3:45 pm

Every year around Christmas time I see loads of "Narnia" themed events, parties and other such things taking place, which to me would be more accurately described as "Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe" themed events.... which as much as anything serves as a timely reminder that to 99% of the general public Narnia = LWW.

Therefore, despite the lacklustre performance of VDT at the box-office, I really can't see the marketing plan straying too far from that basic concept of emphasising every single piece of LWW-related imagery they can find for the trailer, no matter how obscure or minimal the actual scene in the movie turns out to be (i'm looking in your direction, 5 second magicians book snow scene and 2 second white witch cameo)
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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Dec 14, 2013 5:16 pm

Cymru wrote:Although Silver Chair has enough story on its own, Eustace has a definite backstory. Aslan has a strong backstory. And the royal connection to Caspian plays a key part in at least one scene. The writers really can't just let all that go without losing some of the strong character of this book, but they can introduce a new style/voice that says clearly that new artists are helming the story's telling.


But in SC, it is Jill who is the central character, rather than Eustace, himself. The film, like the book, could very well start with Eustace coming upon a crying Jill, but it is Jill's reaction to Eustace that is the important bit, that she doesn't like Eustace, that she hadn't really noticed yet, how much he had changed his personality over the holidays. It is Eustace who has to convince her that he is no longer as bad as the bullies who have been tormenting her, and part of this convincing of Jill is explaining his backstory from his point of view. At the beginning of the movie, exactly why should Jill trust either Eustace, Aslan or anyone else?

Jill's meeting Aslan is another place where backstory is going to be important. I think it is very important that a very thirsty Jill meets a fearsome lion, blocking her access to a lovely gurgling, rushing brook, a lion that unexpectedly quizzes her on her own assumptions and behaviour, then starts telling her what she must do at his command. Also, that Aslan only doles out information on a strictly need-to-know basis, leaving Eustace to supply what else she needs to know from what Eustace is willing to tell her about his previous Narnian experiences.

I hope the Parliament of Owls is included as well, not just because this is another key backstory moment, supplying information that both Eustace and Jill need to know. It is also where Jill gets to hear, rather than see, Eustace's own history with Caspian the Seafarer, and Eustace's consequent unswerving loyalty to that Caspian. The last bit of backstory we need, is right at the end, when Prince Rilian, himself, is aroused from his own memory loss to take his rightful place as Caspian's heir.

Whilst SC is a stand alone story, it is as though Eustace's own VDT memories are going to be the memories at the heart of the SC story, with the earlier Pevensie experiences as a mere historical context, if that. I've enjoyed an Australian history series of books (E.V.Timms' Martha Gubby) a little like this, where at the start of the series, the main characters in the series are dominant, but in later stories they or their family members become barely mentioned, or marginal, though often helpful, characters, such as fellow travellers along the way, or the innkeeper/s where later main characters stay for the night.

The key difference with book SC, within the Narnia series, from that particular Australian history series, is that the innkeeper/s and fellow travellers are most definitely to be distrusted, that Puddleglum, and even Glimfeather, their guides, warn them against saying too much, that Caspian is departing as Jill arrives, & that even Eustace has never met Trumpkin beforehand, though he has heard about him. And that the Pevensies are mentioned only in a song at a feast about the Horse and his Boy. And wasn't this a main difficulty with previous Narnia films such as PC, and, in particular, VDT and the BBC version of SC, that we definitely do not want any tying back SC to LWW, because of the White Witch?

So long as Eustace remains the same character of the book, mentioning, (or even failing to mention) his experiences in a timely fashion, I see no difficulty in relating SC back to earlier Narnia novels without having to tie the movie more closely to other books in the series.

In other words, all through SC (the book), it is Jill, and the various characters she meets, who supply her with the backstory to what she is supposed to do. The good characters help her, but it is the bad characters who either block the information or cause her to doubt the importance or reality of what both of them are learning. Remember the signs, or the signposts, indeed.
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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby twinimage » Dec 14, 2013 5:21 pm

I wouldn't know the first thing about marketing. My initial thoughts are of trailer and tv spots. I know a lot more goes into it I'm sure.

As for what they would show, how they would present it... I'd say start of kind of mysterious and ominous (cause no one seems to like bright and happy scenes anymore apparently?), and try to give a sense of the story, then near the end, reveal that it's a Narnia story. You can be sure that they WILL show snow and I'm almost for certain they will show a green snake rise up and lunge towards the camera/audience as to bite/swallow them. Just like the new Hobbit film has Smaug blow fire at the audience at the end of the trailer. They should definitely show the giants in the previews.

I could be totally off though. Maybe Narnia's name may be a bigger selling point than the story itself to the general public. I think it partly comes down to what was some of the most exciting and/or best shot scenes they want to tease us with. It is kind of sad that they will most likely promote it with LWW-related imagery as icarus mentioned. Let's hope they can break that pattern. The marketing side of things has not been good to Narnia. :(

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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Dec 14, 2013 6:11 pm

I suppose a nice snow dance, with Jill getting a mouthful of snow, might be a little useful in a trailer, or Jill falling into a trench, thus getting away from snow. A nice poster for the movie might be Silver Chair spelt out in trenches, even. :ymdevil: We wouldn't want to be confused with the Australian pop group, Silver Chair with its leading singer Daniel Johns, now would we?
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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby Reepicheep775 » Dec 14, 2013 6:17 pm

twinimage wrote:As for what they would show, how they would present it... I'd say start of kind of mysterious and ominous (cause no one seems to like bright and happy scenes anymore apparently?), and try to give a sense of the story, then near the end, reveal that it's a Narnia story.

I like the idea of keeping the fact that SC is a Narnia film a secret in the trailer until the end, or very close to the end. Get the audience interested in the story on its own merits first... and hey, by the way, it's a Narnia movie!

I do expect the snow to feature heavily in the marketing, but that doesn't really bother me because there actually is quite a bit of snow in the book. As long as scenes/shots aren't added to the movie simply for the sake of evoking LWW to draw in more $$. Of course, evoking LWW can be done for artistic reasons (and Lewis did this numerous times in the books), but I think it's safe to say that references in VDT were not done for artistic reasons.
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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby Impending Doom » Dec 15, 2013 4:17 pm

twinimage wrote: The marketing side of things has not been good to Narnia. :(

Very true. It seems like they just don't have a clue on how to market this franchise properly. :( Hopefully this time around we can get a strong and effective marketing plan or else the series will fail. If referencing LWW gets people into the theatre I really can't complain.
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Re: How to market The Silver Chair...

Postby twinimage » Dec 15, 2013 7:45 pm

Reepicheep775 wrote:As long as scenes/shots aren't added to the movie simply for the sake of evoking LWW to draw in more $$.


Well, technically, that's what movies are about, making money. We the fans don't like it when studios appear to be all about the money, but for them that's the most important thing. It's their livelihood. It's not greed, it's just the nature of the beast. So I totally don't blame them for trying to market it to make money. But I will say, if they market it intelligently, evoking LWW imagery or not, they will make money, after coming off of VDT. Note the key word was intelligently, they need to know how to market a movie like this one. And I think part of that will require they have a strong vision of what they want the film to be like before they get too far into production.

Impending Doom wrote:Hopefully this time around we can get a strong and effective marketing plan or else the series will fail.


More or less. I wouldn't say it will fail completely. If it's a good film that gets good word of mouth, then it can still succeed, but I get what you're saying. Any franchise film that is being released after one that just bombed, financially and/or critically, needs good marketing to show people this one will be different (and better we always hope). Man of Steel is a good example. The marketing for that film was good and it needed it following from Superman Returns.

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