Dec 19 2013, 4:12pm CST | by Forbes
Did you know? Anchorman 2 opens this weekend. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, of course you knew that. Never has a movie launched such a massive viral campaign as Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Star Will Ferrell has been everywhere, from his Dodge Durango ads to his North Dakota news anchor stint to his ESPN interview with Peyton Manning.
Ferrell must be truly exhausted at this point but soon he’ll be able to take a nap on a huge pile of money. The film, which opened Wednesday, has already earned $8 million and is expected to bring in another $38 million this weekend. That could put the movie on track to earn more than $100 million domestically. It helps that it will likely play strong through the Christmas holiday when the film’s target audience is out of school and work.
Comedies usually have a tougher time abroad but Anchorman 2 could find an audience outside of the U.S. In the nine years since the original film hit theaters, Anchorman has become a cult hit. Ferrell has even tailored some of his viral videos to the U.K. like one about the Ashes trophy (won in a cricket game between England and Australia) and another about Dr. Who.
Don’t expect this kind of campaign to become the norm though. The sheer volume of Ferrell viral output on the film is staggering. Just check out the movie’s official YouTube page. Most actors aren’t willing to go to those extremes to promote a film. Ferrell is likely getting a large chunk of the film’s backend so he has a financial, as well as artistic, interest in promoting the movie.
But this kind of blitz would also be inappropriate for most films. The character Ron Burgundy is already well-known and beloved. He became a hit not on the big screen but through dozens of re-watching in people’s living rooms. Fan already feel very connected to the character so of course they want to see more of him.
But imagine if other franchise sequels try this zany Zelig routine. If, say, Bilbo Baggins embarked on his own ubiquity tour in support of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” it wouldn’t take very long to tire of the Shire. Remember what they say about doses.
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Source: Forbes Business
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