trailer break: ‘Flipped’

Take a break from work: watch a trailer…

Looks cute enough, and it’s from director Rob Reiner, who’s hardly a tricky box office sell — his last film, The Bucket List, earned back more than twice its budget domestically, and earned more than $175 million worldwide. So why is this film getting “careful handling from Warner Bros.,” as The Los Angeles Times wondered last week?

How do you market the sweet and the square in a time of the slick and the hip?

That’s the dilemma facing Rob Reiner’s “Flipped” this weekend. Hollywood studios these days don’t typically make a movie about young love in an early 1960s of ice-cream parlors and bicycle-riding. Or, for that matter, release it in Sacramento weeks ahead of New York.

Oh, man: It’s now a problem trying to market a nice movie? Is this where we are now?

Apparently so:

With a film that runs so counter to the zeitgeist, Warner Bros. has needed to get creative — namely, by using that discordance to its advantage. It sent Reiner to cities such as Indianapolis for a screening with an outfit called the Heartland Film Festival, which also offered up a quote for some of the television spots. (Reiner said that “by holding word-of-mouth screenings and events in markets which are not so accustomed to Hollywood screenings we generated a lot of attention and terrific reaction.”)

Counter to the zeitgeist? Since when is a love story counter to the zeitgeist?

Flipped opened in 45 theaters last weekend, and earned $224,233. That’s a per-screen average of $4,983… better than those of Salt and Dinner for Schmucks, at No. 4 and 5 at the box office for the weekend.

This movie does not look like a hard sell to me. WTF?

Flipped is now playing in limited release in the U.S. and Canada, and expands on August 27; no U.K. release date has been announced.

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Thu, Aug 12, 2010 2:05pm

I saw this article a week ago, when it first showed up online, and found it kind of puzzling. Here in New York, the film was barely advertised at all, and the one review I saw said that the movie was terrible.

So my initial take was that the studio had more or less buried the film, and then belatedly tried to put a positive spin on the situation.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’s a huge market for this sort of movie in Sacramento and Indianapolis that doesn’t exist here in the big city. Or maybe the film got a lot of publicity on Nickelodeon or ABC Family or another channel I don’t watch. Have other people had a different experience than mine? ‘Cause, actually, I really liked Rob Reiner’s early films, and I’d like to see him successful again.

Thu, Aug 12, 2010 2:44pm

The local critics where it has been released are salivating over it. I think Morgenstern is the only one who’s outright panned it so far.