Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Christina Ricci On "Black Snake Moan" Marketing: "It Exploited Women!"

Starpulse reports that Christina Ricci is apparently still very unhappy with the way the movie "Black Snake Moan" was marketed:

"The way that movie was marketed was probably one of the most disappointing and upsetting things that's ever happened to me in my career. I have no interest in exploiting women any further than they've already been exploited. The whole reason I made that movie was to say, 'Oh yeah, that girl you called a slut probably went through this, so you might not want to use her and throw her away or judge her. All they (marketing bosses) cared about was college-age boys going to see it."

Specifically, she has an objection to the movie posters, which she felt missed the point of the whole film and were exploitative:

The DVD packaging gets it a little more right:

Jesus, how can you have two completely different types of copy like that?

"Everything is hotter down south"

"To save his soul, he must save hers"

Ah, I love marketing... (and badly done Photoshop!)


  1. Yeah, I never saw that thing.

  2. Poor girl, what happend to she!


  3. That's kinda funny. I watched "Black Snake Moan" for the first time this weekend and was really impressed. The marketing guys definitely screwed the pooch on getting the attention of the audience that would actually enjoy this movie instead of marketing to people who would buy tickets just to see topless Christina Ricci bondage. So it goes.

  4. It's actually a fairly good movie. Not the best thing ever, but the characters are really well done and come off as genuinely damaged people trying to redeem themselves. The co-dependence between Ricci and Timberlake's characters is particularly well played.

  5. Somebody I know refuses to see it.

  6. She is complaining about exploitation wile voluntarily prancing around in her panties with a chain wrapped around her.


  7. Y'know, other-chris, there's this magical thing called "context" that comes with actually knowing what you're talking about rather than making a comment based on a single image. Having actually seen the movie, I can assure you there's little to no prancing involved.

  8. Yes, Chris. Similar to how Spike Lee had his characters act in black face in his film Bamboozled in order to make a point about institutionalized racism in cinema.

    Its actually a very common tool.

    Sorry, I've just never had much patience for judging books based on their cover.

  9. "Sorry, I've just never had much patience for judging books based on their cover."

    Fair enough, but from a purely marketing standpoint, I find the original poster to be an utter failure. When you slap an exploitative face on a much deeper work, you run the risk of two things:

    1. Alienating people like me who might have enjoyed the film

    2. Pissing off moviegoers who take the poster at face value and don't get the softcore porn they were looking for

    When I was working at a video rental store in the early 90s, there was a common practice where deep, arty, independent films were packaged with exploitative boxes that emphasized only sex. My boss would label these for the "adults only" section. Then the customer would return the tape and ask for their money back because all they did was talk in the film.

    Extend this metaphor to comics like "Catwoman" and "Ms. Marvel" at your leisure.

  10. "Extend this metaphor to comics like 'Catwoman' and 'Ms. Marvel' at your leisure."

    What are you talking about, Greg Horn's cameltoe covers totally helped the Emma Frost series find it's target female young adult audience. That's how a series about a powerful and morally conflicted adolescent girl coming of age in a dysfunctional family is able to do so well in the male dominated direct market and... oh... wait... That series got s-canned after fifteen issues when is succeeded in finding none of the audience the book was created for.

    I think I was the only one reading who wasn't disappointed when that book turned out to be a coming of age tale instead of a T&A fest.

    I think the problem comes from the fact that all these marketing guru's only know how to market about four different types of films. They know "epic summer blockbusters", they know "The next ZANEY comedy from...", they know "teen heartthrobs in romance" and they know "Hey guys 13-36, look at them tits!"

    That's it. So if you aren't one of those four things... look out. You would be shocked at the amount of fantastic scripts that get left in the dust because the marketing guys don't want to deal with it.

  11. "Fair enough, but from a purely marketing standpoint, I find the original poster to be an utter failure."

    I'd take it a step further than that. It is an utter failure and diservice to all involved. No argument there. I personally really liked the movie, sucked that it got shafted by some shitty shitty marketing/perception. Can totally see why Ricci chose the role. But can also see being turned off to it - although I think its worth it anyway.

  12. I won't defend the poster (although I have an embarassing weakness for exploitation-era art), but I will defend the movie, or at least most of it. In fact, I have. It's a smart movie that is mindful and and respectful of the larger role of exploitation (particularly blaxploitation) in American film and culture. Yes, it's much more interested in telling the story of a Black man, but in exploring marginality, it has more interesting things to say about women and sexuality than most mainstream pieces.

    Oh, and it goes off the rails at the end, but 'twas ever thus.

  13. "I find the original poster to be an utter failure."

    An epic fail, perhaps? :D