SPECTRE and Public Relations 101

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE teaser poster

It’s been a rough year for Sony Pictures. It got hacked. A lot of its corporate secrets got exposed.

And it has shown Sony (and/or its James Bond partners) are not very good at basic public relations, at least where SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film is concerned. It has trouble effectively communicating basic information such as release dates.

Here’s a step-by-step analysis.

July 11, 2013: The release date is first announced in THIS STATEMENT FROM SONY. It reads in part, ” The film is set for release in the UK on October 23, 2015 and in the US on November 6, 2015.”

So far, so good. But on Dec. 4, 2014, when announcing the movie WILL BE CALLED SPECTRE, Sony adds this detail: ” SPECTRE begins principal photography on Monday, December 8, and is set for global release on November 6, 2015.”

There is no mention of a separate release date for the U.K. Based on this release — put out by the studio releasing the movie — fans conclude there is now a worldwide release date of Nov. 6, 2015.

July 17, 2015: The announcement goes out the movie will have its world premier on Oct. 26, 2015.  The movie will also be available for watching in the U.K. and Ireland the very same day.

That’s different than what was announced in December, but things change. However, the MI6 James Bond site put out this tweet in response to a comment this blog made on Twitter:

In other words, Sony was aware there was a problem, but did nothing publicly to deal with it.

But don’t worry. One James Bond fan site comes along and says Sony isn’t to blame. It’s the fault of those who read the Dec. 4 press release and took it at face value.

And to double down, the same fan site makes this remark, letting everyone know of its insider knowledge:

On top of everything else, some time back, the Canadian arm of Sony put out a tweet that gave out a possible SPECTRE spoiler. (Don’t click on the link if you don’t want to know.)

This may all be academic. Sony’s contract to release Bond movies ends with SPECTRE. It’s possible another studio may cut a deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to release future 007 films.

SPECTRE world premier set for Oct. 26 in U.K.

SPECTRE LOGO

The world premier for SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond movie, has been set for Oct. 26 in the United Kingdom, according to A STATEMENT ON THE OFFICIAL 007 WEBSITE.

Here’s the text of the brief statement:

SPECTRE will have its World Premiere in London on Monday October 26. For the first time ever, the film will open on the same night in cinemas across the UK and Ireland. SPECTRE will then begin its theatrical roll out in territories around the world, including the US, on November 6, 2015.

That’s a bit of a change from before. On Dec. 4, it was announced that SPECTRE would have a worldwide premier date of Nov. 6. Now, the U.K. will get its traditional advanced look at Bond ahead of U.S. audiences.

UPDATE: The folks at the MI6 James Bond website said via Twitter that Sony Pictures told them the U.K. premier was always going to be Oct. 23, despite what Sony said in the December press release (linked above or you can view it again BY CLICKING HERE). That means that the U.K. premier has actually been delayed three days instead of being moved up.

It would seem that Sony could use a PR refresher course: it either sent out incorrect or deliberately false information. Either way, that’s bad PR form.

UPDATE II: For the record this is what Sony said on Dec. 4.

LONDON, UK, December 4, 2014 – 007 Soundstage, Pinewood Studios, London. James Bond Producers, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli today released the title of the 24th James Bond adventure, SPECTRE. The film, from Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and Sony Pictures Entertainment, is directed by Sam Mendes and stars Daniel Craig, who returns for his fourth film as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007. SPECTRE begins principal photography on Monday, December 8, and is set for global release on November 6, 2015. (emphasis added)

Early forecast for M:I Rogue Nation: $40M opening weekend

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation's teaser poster

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’s teaser poster

Two weeks ahead of its July 31 debut, the early forecast for Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation is for opening weekend box office of $40 million in the U.S., according to A VARIETY STORY by Brent Lang.

“That’s less than the first three “Mission: Impossible” movies did in their initial weekends, though it does beat the $29.8 million debut that “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” generated in its wide release debut,” Lang wrote.

Ghost Protocol, released in 2011, was the most recent in the series with star-producer Tom Cruise and it “was remarkably resilient, not dropping by more than 50% weekend to weekend until six weeks after it hit theaters. It ended its run with nearly $210 million at the Stateside box office,” Lang wrote.

A $40 million opening weekend would be a bit better than other spy and spy-related movies earlier this year: Taken 3’s $39.2 million, Kingsman: The Secret Service’s $36.2 million and Spy’s $29.1 million.

The forecasts, also known as “tracking,” play a role in whether a movie is seen as financially successful. Actual box office receipts exceeding the forecasts usually cause a movie to be seen as a success. Falling short often generates bad publicity in the entertainment media.

The new M:I film has the Impossible Missions Force opposing “the Syndicate,” a mysterious group and the “Rogue Nation” of the title. The movie features Cruise, once again, doing a signature stunt, this time hanging on the side of an airplane.