Weijie Zhu, who is the president of Beijing Wishart communication Co. Ltd. As an earlier films explorer in China film marketing and promoting, which have successfully marketing in 《The Great Hypnotist》、《Switch》and more than 10 films. It is all with a high box office in the end. He is a senior entertainment marketing planning expert due to a series of successful marketing planning for the films in China and published 《Talk about the movie marketing》once, and several articles.
Due to there is a very strange phenomenon in the domestic movie market, which is the film box office is seems not proportional to the film itself sometimes. Some good movies have a lower box office, some films were scold miserably, but its ticket sales soared. People cannot help but ask, is there operating skills behind the box office? Although, the film reviewers thinks, regardless of the marketing will have effect on the box office to what extend, if it want to survive, the movie content is still the first productive forces. Therefore, this interview focuses on how does the film marketing influence on the movie box office?
Weijie Zhu thinks that to judgment a film good or not is very personal. But standing in the point of the capital market and film marketing, we should be consideration for the side of film production. Marketing as an important part in the assembly line of the film industry, the content of film is important, but the most important thing is to let people know about this movie, which is the first step of film marketing. Then to complete the transformation of box office is through the various ways to improve the interest of audience for the movie tickets.
Due to he as a professional and experienced expert in this area for a long-term, therefore, I tried to figure out what is the difference between the past and now in movie marketing. He explained that the movie marketing in the beginning was just find several media company to publish some issues, but now, the movie marketing became more diversified, not only online, also offline, and they can be linked to each other, plus it can be extended in a variety of platforms and channels. Now, the movie marketing should be various. Including the release of news, the cooperation of TV shows and the mobile terminal, that is to say, all the business cooperation needs to be applied to, otherwise it will be an advertising propaganda, rather than the marketing. He said, in the new media age, he did not think it is the time to abandon the traditional media. Because the Chinese audience presents several levels in the way of accepting the media. For example, Beijing represents now, the second-tier cities can be regard as three years ago of BJ, and the third-tier cities is like 4 years ago of BJ… so in these cities, the influence of the traditional media still cannot be underestimated. The key is to realize the conversion of the audience. So he has a habit. He always calls his friends, at least 10 person, who are in third-tier or fourth-tier cities before the showing of movies. To ask whether they know such a film or not, if the reply is positive, which explains their efforts in the aspects of informing. He thinks that the film marketing has to sink the marketing to the remote cities, because all the audience should not be abandoned.
With the conduct of the interview, some question occurred to me. What is the key point in film marketing nowadays? Is the content of film itself or promoting strategy? Weijie Zhu said that the key point in film marketing should be the media channel, rather than the content of film itself or promoting strategy. From his perspective, all should service for channels. A lot of people think that it should be the content, but when the whole film industry is increasingly standard, we cannot just rely on several sparkle ideas to change the destiny of movie any more. Therefore, the film marketing should make a full use of the channels. Including the new media, the traditional media, advertising, cross-border marketing channels, etc., He explained that he hopes he can see their advertising wherever he go. It makes people can feel the atmosphere of the film when they conducting any consumption. When we covered all channels, and people see it as much as possible, then let the marketing materials to meet the audience’s interest. When the coverage can link the interest at the same time, which is called the conversion rate. So the media channels became increasingly important in the following days.
Weijie Zhu said that the film marketing is different with the other products, but personally speaking, the movie marketing need to take advantage of the opportunities more than the other marketing, such as the star gossip, etc., One entertainment point which can make people nitpick together. The most common way of film marketing is through the film itself to produce a social issue or lead to the public opinion in order to guide the audience to focus on the film actively. On the other hand, there are also many similarities in film marketing and the other products. They all pay attention to the most interesting point of the products in order to arouse the desire of consume, and the purpose is meet the demands. But there are a lot uncertain factors in film marketing. Such as the change of the schedule, the change of the opponent, the distract of audience’s attention and so on. Because its various changes are quick, so the film company should be faster! Therefore, “speed” and “opportunities” of the movie marketing is more important than the other marketing.
When I asked him how does he decide to which film he will cooperate and promote, Weijie Zhu said that he mainly consider whether the team have enough time and energy to do a good job in this film or not, and make sure there are no more their own film in the same schedule.
In the end, I am curious he as a professional expert in this area, what is a good movie for him? And what is a good marketing he thinks? He said that stand on the capital market in the movie marketing, a good movie should try to do the best in the technology skill at least. In addition, it can let the audience go to the cinema, and think it is worth to buy the ticket.
According to Jenkins, who posits that the media industry goes through paradigm shifts all the time.(Finola Kerrigan 2010:194) Therefore, as Weijie Zhu said that the film marketing need to notice and make a full use of any channels with the continually development. The new media have experienced a series of changes, not only in the way of propaganda, but in the format of display. These changes are bringing a variety of fresh ideas to the film marketing all the time. Only the filmmaker and the promoter know the current situation clearly and grasp the opportunities before to make a good campaign of their film, even their film are not that good like they said. “While media organisations can develop online activities for consumers, they will only succeed if the consumers avail of these facilities and develop their own word of mouth building activates.” (Finola Kerrigan 2010: 201) In this digital world, we have to make the film marketing became more diversified, rather than like the past only organized the offline activities, but rely on the internet to hold the online activities so that to extended in a variety of platforms and channels. This is the biggest difference between the traditional media and the new media. And as Weijie Zhu mentioned that through the film itself to produce a social issue or lead to the public opinion in order to guide the audience to focus on the film actively, the word from the audience themselves is vital for all media activities in this era, especially for the film marketing. With the development of the technology, there are a lot of channels be provided to promote a film. To make a good film campaign or to win an outstanding box office, we need to pay attention to the social media and to build a relationship with the audience so that to get the news up-to-date.
Finola Kerrigan, 2010, Film Marketing, Routledge
Kate Xiao Zhou, Shelley Rigger, Lynn T., 2014, Democratization in China, Korea and Southeast Asia: Local and National Perspectives White III, Routledge