We almost missed yesterday the promotional piece that Fox ran in the New York Times. The ad is so well-written it almost looks like real journalism, from the faux-folksy introductory anecdote from “X-Men” star Hugh Jackman to the supposedly surprising twist the studio chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman are “un-Hollywood” to a slight dose of suupposedly negative (but actually flattering) information to make the article look balanced, such as, “Fox’s make-no-excuses philosophy can be off-putting for some filmmakers. Fox won’t approve a movie production until all contracts are signed. Movie directors are forced to defend their artistic decisions vigorously. And studio executives spare no ego if they decide a movie is too expensive.”
But it obviously must be an ad, since the article doesn’t note that a big chunk of Fox’s box office success last year (and in 2002) came from “Star Wars” movies it didn’t produce and for which it only got a distribution fee; it doesn’t mention a single box office flop the studio has had recently, such as “Aquamarine” or “Tristan and Isolde”; and it doesn’t even ask how Fox is dealing with the major issues that every studio has, such as slumping DVD sales.
While it might seem tricky to decode whether it’s a real article at first, paragraphs like this give away that it must be advertorial:
For the year to date, Fox is No. 1 in theatrical market share. As important, it has fostered a corporate culture that the News Corporation seeks in all its television, news and mobile entertainment divisions: eyes fixed on the bottom line while remaining fearless about creative risks.
(David Poland at Movie City News has a less obnoxious but also interesting take on the article.)