"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," a martial-arts spectacle directed by Ang Lee, is gunning for "Life is Beautiful's" foreign film box office record. Roberto Benigni's WWII happy movie earned $57 million in the U.S., making it the biggest foreign-language film ever released in the States.
The record seems within "Crouching Tiger's" reach, but an article from the New York Daily News says that Sony Pictures Classics, the U.S. distributor for "Crouching Tiger," has an odd, multi-pronged marketing plan for the film. Multiple marketing campaigns for the same film often confuse audiences, which is generally a bad thing unless the movie is directed by David Lynch.
The marketing plan is risky, but Sony deserves credit for trying. The studio is targeting two diametrically opposed groupsart house audiences and action fanswith markedly different ad campaigns. The arty campaign, the News reports, will play up director Ang Lee's credentials ("Sense and Sensibility" and "The Ice Storm" were critically praised), while the action campaign will focus on "Crouching Tiger's" stunning martial arts sequences. To put it another way, the artsy ads will have flighty music and sprawling vistas while the action ads will mix roundhouse kicks with a smokin' techno groove.
The studio is releasing the film slowly, hoping to cash in on word of mouth and potential award buzz. The News says the film will premiere in New York and Los Angeles in early December, expand to 22 cities December 22, then open nationwide January 12.