Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Sappy Trailer for 'Playing for Keeps'

Oof -- sappy title as well. Playing for Keeps? Really?

Anyway, I'm watching this trailer hit its marks and it's just so predictable. A former soccer star goes back to his home town to connect with his son and give being a dad a go, but now the ex-wife is set to be remarried so getting back with her would not seem to be an option, and his bid for a gig as a broadcaster for ESPN is looking shaky. Ooh, the tension. Ooh, the humility. What will happen?! How can things possibly work out? How!?

So, I'm wondering, seeing as this has been done a thousand times and TV viewership is dwindling, and DVD sales/rentals are in the dumpster, and you really can't expect this to do well theatrically as numbers are down there too (except for horror, robots, alien invasions, zombies, etc.), just why did they make this? Why? How do they expect to make money? Then, it hit me.

Soccer. Known and beloved around the world as football or fútbol. The most popular, most-watched sport on the planet. Which leads to the core marketing strategy, such as it is, for 'Playing for Keeps'. Load up a by-the-numbers rom-com with a bunch of stars, make sure the story is satisfying in that popcorn matinee entertaining/fun date movie kinda way, and (don't forget) either shoot some of the movie in different countries or include some other strong draw for the one place mainstream Hollywood cheesefests can still count on turning a profit -- the international box office.

I mean, look at that crowd. Those people are going to see this movie. They're the ones who will make this movie profitable. Sell a ticket to these fans and 'Playing for Keeps' will make a mountain of cash.

That's why the guy plays soccer not (American) football or baseball or whatever. Making Gerard Butler a fútbol player = foreign cha-ching. Simple as that.

Otherwise, this flick would be hard to sit through on TV on a Saturday afternoon while you're at home nursing the flu. Well, unless you live in Argentina or someplace else where they worship fútbol players (which is most countries). Then, it would a great movie to watch on a Saturday afternoon on TV while you nurse the flu.

More and more US box office simply doesn't matter as much as the foreign take. So, more and more, nobody cares about us 'Mericans, including Hollywood studios. Just tailor the movie/story in some way, to some degree, for foreign audiences (a fútbol player is good, so is a sequence with a Ferrari, which starts at 2:11), and watch the $$ roll in. Movie too silly or cliche for US audiences?, no problem! Movie bombs at home?, no worries! Sit back and wait for the overseas bucks. Then, comes the foreign DVD sales/rentals. If that's not good enough just wait for the cable/TV income.

Explains a lot.

Plus, as an added bonus, the movie's title will probably translate from really dumb and childish in English (Again: Playing for Keeps? What are we, 10-year-olds?) to really cool in Spanish or Italian or whatever sexy smoky foreign language.

I can see them lined up in Madrid to see 'Jugando Para Amor!' In Paris 'Jouer Pour Amour' will be hot hot hot. The title will probably be cooler even in England despite the fact they speak the same language we do -- they'll probably go with the very adult and risqué (by Americans standards at least) 'Playing for Love'.

You know what else helps? Having an Italian director. In Rome, where Gabriele Muccino's name will look very natural, they'll be dying to see 'Giocare Per Amore'.

But, in Cleveland? Seattle? NYC? Boston? LA? Sorry, but very few people are going to want to see 'Playing for Keeps'. Here, the kids will ask, "Why would I want to see a movie about a guy that used to play...what sport was it again?" Luckily, it won't matter. The movie will still make tons of money...overseas.

Here's the cheesy (domestic) trailer. Until we get the cool/sexy international trailers this is what we're stuck with. Enjoy.


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