United 93 has unleashed the power of non-advertising. At the Edwards Theatre in L.A., a sign at the box office solemnly informs ticket buyers that there will be no trailers or First Look program (which has replaced “The 20” as the sponsored pre-show) before showings of the Sept. 11 film. Thus, moviegoers are promised in advance a tone of sobriety and seriousness. That’s something they didn’t even do for The Passion of the Christ, even though that film was 16 minutes longer than United 93 and, for many, probably just as hard to watch, particularly in contrast to the jibber-jabbering of the Skittles sheepboys (not to pick on one of the better theatrical commercials). It will be interesting to note which movies in future get this “too serious for sponsorshop” treatment.
—Posted by Gregory Solman