Addicted to novelty since 2001

Fantastic, a Movie from Paramount!

I was just listening to a bootlegged tune by Feist. It includes the announcer’s introduction, and he welcomes her to the stage with “please welcome Interscope recording artist Feist”.

On a related note, why does every movie begin with several title cards for the studios and production companies? These are familiar and pretty much meaningless to 99% of moviegoers. Nobody chooses a movie because it was bankrolled by Paramount. Admittedly, as a cinephile, I have a few vague feelings about Dreamworks, Miramax and MTV Movies, but they never determine whether I see a particular film.

These announcements have zero marketing power, and only exist to stroke corporate egos. If the entertainment industry cared a little more about its customers, it would eliminate this useless wankery and get us to the stuff we paid for sooner.

5 Responses to “Fantastic, a Movie from Paramount!”

  1. Metro

    Hi Darren:
    I feel that the title cards, which seem to have become ever longer and less comprehensible as movie production and distribution fragment and globalize, are a holdover from the ’60s and earlier.

    Time was, if you really wanted to know if a film was any good, you looked at who the producer was. After all, goes the logic, if someone’s money was on the line, you’d figure they wanted to make sure it was a good product to invest in.

    If the producer had already bankrolled one hit, then odds were good the next one would be acceptable too.

    The power of television, particularly, changed much of that. No need to buy quality when you can buy hours of advertising.

    Media consolidation helped too. If the reviewers will write what you like them to, why worry?

    But there’s an appeal to authority here, still. “I saw @ F1lM, by the same company. It was good. Therefore I am prepared to accept that this could be good too.”

  2. Wader

    Talk about paying for stuff you don’t want. I went to a movie on Friday and a pre-show of ads and interviews (with a non-theatrical project) was shown before the movie. Then, after starting 10 minutes late, was treated to commercials on the big screen, 15 minutes of trailers, then all those silly studio placards, then the very cool yet useless Oceans’ title sequence. The movie was supposed to start at 10 and it was 10:35 before we got to see an actor.

  3. Norlinda

    Metro — nice analysis on exigency ;)

    I do use the title cards to find other projects the director/cinematographer/production company has done, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. For example, Focus Features, an offshoot of Universal, has produced and distributed a whack of interesting films I’ve enjoyed and I would give a new movie more thought if I knew Focus was involved.

  4. Derek K. Miller

    I recall hearing that when George Lucas edited the first “Star Wars” so that it simply began, with the title, then the big scrolling back-story, then the pan across the star field and the first space battle, he actually had to *pay a fine* because he violated some Director’s Guild rule about having to have title placards before the movie began. Not sure if it’s true — any movie people know?

  5. Peter T. Chattaway

    My recollection is that the Directors Guild did not fine anyone when the first movie came out — it did, after all, announce itself as a “Lucasfilm” production, even if George Lucas’s name never came up until the end credits — but they *did* fine Lucas when the first sequel failed to state up front that it was directed by Irvin Kershner.

    However, all of the Star Wars movies have begun with the 20th Century Fox logo (and the Lucasfilm logo). This is so much a part of the films’ identity that when they released the Star Wars Trilogy boxed set on CD in 1993, and when they released the “special edition” soundtrack CDs in 1997, they included the 20th Century Fox fanfare on all the discs — even the disc with the bonus tracks.

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