Narnia series sails back into popularity, With Help of Beatwax

Having taken part in this promotion, I can tell you that it was unlike anything that I have ever done before, or been a part of. I am still in touch with many of the people that both put this on, and went on the voyage. To be able to do something like this was a unique opportunity that I will always remember very fondly, and am proud to say that I was there. To be ungrateful for this trip, would be shoving it in the face of all those that wanted to be there, but could not. I still wear my crew jacket and vest with pride, and I always tell people that, yes, I have sailed around Cornwall on The Dawn Treader. Here’s a report of the campaign.

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Spy Report: Dawn Treader Arrives at Falmouth

NarniaWeb has posted a spy report of sorts from Narnia news guru icarus, who visited the Matthew/Dawn Treader at Falmouth.

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NarniaFans Mailbag #37: Academy Awards, Publicity and Casting

This week’s mailbag is a little bit late, and I apologize for that. I had some stuff to get done this week, and I’ve started doing a new project. Not to mention that I have been a little sick, so I’ve gotten a lot of extra sleep lately. Not that it has anything to do with this. Anyway, let’s get to it, some interesting letters came in this week.

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Prince Caspian Previewed at ShoWest visited ShoWest, where Disney previewed their 2007-2008 film line-up. The 2 1/2 hour International Distribution Marketing Presentations culminated with Disney/Buena Vista batting clean-up with an impressive line-up of footage and trailers, many of them having never been seen previously. It included never-before-seen footage from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Ratatouille, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Enchanted and even a preview of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

They then showed an impressive production reel for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which will open on May 16, 2008, including concept art for the sequel’s new characters and soundbites from director Andrew Adamson and make-up FX supervisor Howard Berger, talking about the differences with the sequel and how they’ll get a chance to show how the different creatures fight, and there was accompanying battle pre-vis to demonstrate what they meant.

Anyone have pictures? Send an e-mail our way!

Previews and Coming Distractions: Marketing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

This month, Hollywood Jesus examines why various parties are concerned about how the movie’s promotion is being handled, and conclude with some thoughts about how marketing considerations are likely to affect our experience of the film we finally end up seeing.

The essay is titled, “Previews and Coming Distractions; or, The Art of Marketing and the Marketing of Art.” Here’s a snippet…

Just yesterday, I ran across a “Noview Review” of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. “This is a review of a movie that I haven’t seen,” says writer Fred Stesney, “because they haven’t even released it yet. Really, with all the advance publicity that they do these days, do you really have to see a movie to know if it’s any good? I say, no.”

I had to laugh, and even agree with his point of view somewhat. I must admit that, in the past, I have once or twice “prewritten” movie reviews based on advance publicity and then almost literally “filled in the blanks” with details from the actual screening.

Stesney’s own quasi-informed assessment of the upcoming Narnia film? “The awesome spectacle runs roughshod over any objections to hammy acting, the liberal use of movie clichés, and a lack of suspense as to the outcome. ” As to the meaning of the film, Stesney remarks, “If Jesus isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Lewis created the series to be a light-handed way of getting the message to kids, and Disney, needing audiences in blue states, goes easy on the salvation. Non-believers will still get an exciting story where good and evil meet on the battlefield to hack each other to pieces.”

Stesney’s secular cynicism is not unique. At the Past Watchful Dragons conference at Belmont University in Nashville last week, I presented a Christian-oriented paper in which I mused that “Disney’s massive and unprecedented publicity campaign for this film almost guarantees that the world of Narnia will surprise few of us, though delight us it may.”

[Read the rest at Hollywood Jesus]

Marketing of ‘Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ Presents Challenge

With two months to go before the release of its big-budget film “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” the Walt Disney company wants very much to whet audience appetites by placing music from the soundtrack on radio and music-video channels.

But Disney’s tricky marketing strategy for “Narnia” – which includes aggressively courting Christian fans who can relate to the story’s biblical allegory while trying not to disaffect secular fans – is particularly tricky when it comes to music.

The spiritual character of “Narnia” is being reinforced with the debut on the charts last week of a Christian pop album of music inspired by the film. But prospects for a previously announced secular soundtrack now seem cloudy, executives involved in the process say. Disney executives say that at the very least the CD will be delayed beyond its planned Oct. 25 release.

Mitchell Leib, president of music for Disney’s Buena Vista film unit, said he still expected to assemble and release a secular soundtrack before the film’s Dec. 9 opening. But he cited production snags. He said he was still awaiting a recording by the rock band Evanescence that is intended as the film’s closing song. He added that planning had also been complicated by last-minute decisions about how music will be used in the complex, special-effects-laden film.

The Christian-oriented album’s status as the only “Narnia” musical project in the marketplace, for now at least, could upset the studio’s plan to balance two audiences. “If they go ahead and release only the one soundtrack, I think they’re risking being identified as turning toward a blatantly religious company, which does turn some people away,” said Chris Ahrens, founding editor of Risen, a San Diego-based lifestyle magazine that explores the spiritual beliefs of entertainment figures. On the other hand, Mr. Ahrens said, if the music strikes a chord in the Christian market, “I think that’s huge for Disney in terms of the movie audience.” He added, “It seems like a huge gamble.” …

…And the album already appears to be crossing into territory where the genre is rarely marketed, said Bill Hearn, the president and chief executive of EMI’s Christian Music Group. EMI has been promoting “Narnia” songs to mainstream radio, and Mr. Hearn said 16 stations playing “adult contemporary” music have added Mr. Chapman’s song “Remembering You” to their playlists. The music video for the song is also expected to be included on the film’s DVD, he said.

“We believe these songs are appealing to anyone who loves ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,’ not just to the Christian audience,” Mr. Hearn said. “The songs are written specifically to reach a wide audience.”

For the rest, visit the New York Times