Twilight: The Multi-Media Marketing Machine
by Maggie Parke — Bangor University Wales, and Elfin Productions
June 28, 2010 – 00:02
The third installment of the Twilight Saga, Eclipse, is out as of June 30 and will likely cause box office records to smash once again as the beloved fictional vampire has another remediation on screen. I was on the set of the first film and part of Twilight’s premiere in London, and while the crowds were fanatic at both, the studio did not yet know what to do with that level of passion. But now, they’re hitting their stride, combining the multimedia elements of the Twilight world and perfecting their timing. The thing I’ve been thinking about recently is the development of the saga’s promotion, and the trans-textual realms drawn upon for Eclipse. One example of this is the promotion of a recently released novella for the development of the film.
Eclipse is coming out shortly after the best-selling The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella, which tells the story a seemingly trivial character from Eclipse, but who apparently inspired Stephenie Meyer as she indulged the character with her own story. It was an enjoyable romp through the development of a periphery character, and I’m interested to see what aspects are taken into Eclipse as it’s fresh in fans’ minds, the filmmakers had early access to it, and they certainly seem to be pushing the attachment to characters from that story and its place in the film.
For example, with the creation of the Newborn Army, the audience now have specific descriptions of what their ‘homebases’ looked like, how Newborns think, and how they were ‘raised’ and treated before marching on the Cullens. Director David Slade has said he is using these descriptions. Most importantly, where the readers probably originally just viewed the Newborns as the enemy because they wanted to destroy the heroine Bella, they now have some sympathy for their situation as victims of random slaughter and understand the raw violence in their lives. It raises their profile as a threat, but also humanizes them. This is something Slade would have been thrown to the wolves for (pardon the pun) had he tried to put it into Eclipse, but as Meyer did it, it is acceptable and the fans take her word as law!
Returning to the promotion discussion, it’s interesting how much the characters from this short novella are playing into the promotion, and apparently the story, for the film Eclipse. Shortly after TSSLoBT’s release, an online featurette that introduced Bree Tanner appeared on fansites as well as on the Saga’s official YouTube page, and the latest Eclipse TV spot features Riley as the main threat and villain. There’s no mention of Victoria, which is surprising if you haven’t read TSSLoBT, as Riley is certainly secondary to the terrifying Victoria in Eclipse, who is the horror-striking threat while Riley is her minion. However, in TSSLoBT, Riley is the ringleader. He’s the guy in charge, and the TV spot sure portrays him as such… I can’t help but wonder if the filmmakers found a male threat more terrifying and stronger than a female threat, and are thus making him the focal villain using TSSLoBT to heighten the threat of the newborns, the threat of Riley, and raise the action quota. We shall see, I suppose.
So, are the confluence of a novella, interviews online and TV spots featuring the novella’s characters to heighten their roles in the film the icing on the cake? The US release happens just a few days after a lunar eclipse; well played…
Author’s Blog: http://www.imstillwandering.blogspot.com