Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Omen: Which Came First, the Marketing Campaign or The Movie?

When I first heard that the new version of The Omen was being released on 6/6/06, I thought, what a terrific way to market the movie. Then I started wondering, did the entire idea for remaking the somewhat controversial 1976 devil-child flick begin with the concept for the marketing campaign?

Maybe. Whatever. Casting Mia Farrow was also an inspired touch. Farrow played the woman pregnant with Satan's child in 1968's even more controversial Rosemary's Baby. That was the year she got divorced from Frank Sinatra, after a two-year marriage. Is there a connection?
(note to Frank's people -- I'm just joking)

Early marketing efforts for the film created a bit of buzz, according to info from USA Today and AP, reported at the movie site Rotten Tomatoes:

Planes carrying banners announcing “You Have Been Warned 6/6/06” have created a stir recently. Some panic ensued at Arizona’s Lake Havasu as spring breakers saw the signs overhead. And the Air Force was prompted to investigate after numerous calls were made to emergency numbers and news stations in Panama City, Fla.

"Our job is to watch the airways for things that don’t seem right,” says Air Force spokesman Mike Strickler of Tyndall Air Force Base, adding that the banner was a publicity stunt. The signs are part of 20th Century Fox’s campaign for its release June 6 of "The Omen," a remake of the 1976 chiller. More banner tows and billboards are expected to hit L.A., New York, and other cities. Fox spokesman Jeffrey Godsick says, “The reaction confirms that the numbers 666 affect people as they have throughout history.”

Regarding the new Omen, the director is John Moore, who helmed the not-terrible 2004 action flick Flight of the Phoenix and 2001's Behind Enemy Lines. And the cast is strong: Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite and Michael Gambon.

Jeremiah Kipp, in his review for Slant magazine, wasn't impressed: "Since little Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) is depicted here as a pale, sallow youth with blank hatred in his eyes, a grim little mouth, and dispassionate calm, it's a wonder his parents continually ponder aloud, "What's wrong with Damien?"

Scary? We'll see -- the screening is Thursday night.

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