It’s been the year of the stealth gay for Hollywood movie marketing
I may sound like a broken record here, but is it really
impossible to market a gay movie as a gay movie in the United States? Whether
it’s gay characters as a small story point, like Valentine’s Day, or a very, very gay movie like A Single Man, the answer seems to be
Adding to that pair, we now have I Love You Phillip Morris, the critically acclaimed, but
commercially troubled Jim Carrey/Ewan McGregor movie due to be released
March 26th after multiple reschedules. I’d forgotten about the film,
frankly, until the Russian movie poster scrolled past this morning, and I
realized that it wasn’t the same as the one I’d seen used in the States.
Notice anything different about the marketing?
So in Russia, where they
can’t even hold a gay pride march because the mayor of Moscow thinks we’re
sub-human, it’s fine to show the leads walking together, glammed up a little,
walking miniature dogs (universal symbols for same-sex loving dudes). But in
the land of the free, and the free market, we have Jim Carrey, alone, dressed
up like a 1950s insurance salesman.
Cannes had these billboards up last year.
It’s not like the movie hasn’t had press in the States
showing that the movie is about a man who comes out of a car accident gay, and
turns to a life of crime to support a fabulous lifestyle. It’s even got a
kernel of reality to it as it’s based on true events. Entertainment Tonight ran an interview
with Jim Carrey where he kisses Ewan halfway through, so the fact that it is gay is out there in the
So what do movie studios expect to gain with gay-free
marketing of gay stories? Surely they’re not hoping to trick bigots into the
theater, and say “no refunds” when they run out halfway through, angry at being tricked into watching ‘mos on screen. And the producers
can’t believe blog entries like this will generate buzz with a gay
viewership that feels increasingly disenfranchised, quite the opposite. Frankly, I’m baffled.
The French trailers for the film leave the central romance
intact. We’re not embedding them here because the language gets a little rough
for our standards, but are
available at Trailer Addict.
So, anybody have any ideas why gays are so unmarketable in
the United States? What’s the strategy here?