distributor didn't screen it for critics, ran no print ads or trailers, and showed it on a mere 130 screens nationwide, even
though its predecessor, Office Space (1999), was a word-of-mouth cult hit that sold well on DVD.
Television Distribution, p. 31
Was the movie recently screened for class likely to have been shown on television? If so, in what way? How might such
distribution have significantly changed the look or feel of it?
For example, The Avengers (2012) might lose some visual power on a smaller screen or with the absence of 3-
D. And depending on which channel it aired, Deadpool (2016) might need to have scenes cut or potentially
offensive language dubbed for television viewing. Ask students to think of other movies that might be “neutered” if
shown on broadcast or commercial cable television, and explain how.
Ask students to determine where the commercial breaks would be if the movie just viewed aired on network
television, either as an in-class exercise or in a journal entry. Another approach would be to show in class the
“abridged” versions on YouTube of the notoriously foul-mouthed The Big Lebowski (1998) or Glengarry Glenn Ross
(1992) that include only the shots in which characters use expletives.
Home Video, VOD, and Internet Distribution, p. 32
How might the distribution of a film that was released in the last year have been timed to emphasize certain
responses? Was it a seasonal release?
Students can demonstrate their savvy by distinguishing between a summer blockbuster and an autumn award
contender. Are horror films released close to Halloween? Do romantic comedies come out in February? Ask
students, either working alone or in small groups, to try to name at least one movie per holiday and share the results
with the class. Challenge them to come up with some titles that provide an alternative to family-friendly fare by
intentionally flouting holiday traditions, such as the Christmas comedies Bad Santa (2003) and Scrooged (1988) or
controversial horror movies like Black Christmas (both the 1974 original and the 2006 remake) and Silent Night,
Deadly Night (1984; 2008).
Marketing and Promotion: What We Want to See, p. 37
Name a movie you believe has had a strong cultural and historical influence. Investigate what modes of promotion
helped to highlight particular themes in and reactions to the film.
Distribute a list of the top-ten grossing films or recent Academy Award best picture winners and ask the class to
identify modes of promotion for each movie. Ask whether success at the box office or recognition by the industry has an
effect on a film’s historical and cultural impact. Why or why not?
Media Convergence, p. 44
Watch a clip of the trailer for Suicide Squad (2016). What kinds of messages does the trailer send about the film? What
are they? Are they coherent and complementary, or self-contradictory?
Have students watch the clip on LaunchPad for The Film Experience before class. Ask them to bring film
advertising examples for a similar blockbuster in current release with them or have them e-mail examples before the next
meeting. Do any seem to be appealing to more than one audience? Do any use imagery that resembles what they saw in the
Suicide Squad trailer? Point out subtle advertising campaigns, like sponsored Web pages on the New York Times site or
tie-ins at the grocery store or sporting events. What is the strangest place they’ve seen a movie advertisement? Did it make
them more or less likely to see that film?
Word of Mouth and Fan Engagement, p. 45
Consider a recent film release that you’ve seen, and identify which promotional strategies were effective in
persuading you to watch it. Was anything about the promotion misleading? Was there anything about the film you feel
was ignored or underplayed in the promotion?
Assign this Viewing Cue as an out-of-class research assignment. It offers a great opportunity for students to
learn how to research newspaper and magazine coverage using LexisNexis Academic. Remind students to search for
articles about the stars and the director, as well as the movie itself. To model what students should consider, you may
screen in class the “film press book” for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 shocker Psycho, which Universal distributed to theater
exhibitors instructing them how to engage and manage ticket buyers. The “press book” is streaming on YouTube and is
also included as a bonus feature in the Psycho DVD and BluRay releases.