So I don't do stuff on films that aren't out yet, generally.  There's a billion gossip-blogs falling over each other to be first to post rumours and guesswork; the distributors don't need me to add my shoulder to their free publicity grindstone.

But the marketeers are doing wonderfully creative work these days and that, itself, is becoming note-worthy.

Now, I've always felt - even during my days as a cinema manager - that the endless flood of bootleg movies (now entering its third decade, having transformed from the fuzzy nth-generation video bought from under greasy counters in shady cornershops to crystal-clear BluRay torrents downloaded in moments for free) have the tacit permission of the producers and distributors.

There's no convincing evidence that bootleggery has a negative impact on a film's box-office return, indeed, I have always believed that the word of mouth generated by the "I've seen it and you haven't" type conversations in pubs, workplaces and classrooms all over the world will significantly increase a film's profile and desirability.  See, even if a film isn't very good, human nature will often make those who have seen it want to make those who haven't feel jealous.  You can't do that with a noncommittal "Well, it's alright".

The excellent Den of Geek published this piece a couple of years back, demonstrating that the notorious leak of the Wolverine prequel actually helped an indifferent film to over-perform.  The poor-quality bootleg has been with us so long it has developed its own aesthetic.

Remember the Benetton poster controversy?  It was over twenty-years ago, but it still comes up in Media Studies classes on a fairly regular basis!  Like the Wolverine leak, these posters generated a lot of controversy across the media which, of course, served to increase their value as advertising.  The story was that advertising copywriter and photographer Oliviero Toscani created images for Benetton that were designed quite deliberately to provoke and enrage. He kicked off the campaign with this:

... Which would be an entirely justifiable agit-prop statement, were it not for the unnecessarily exposed breast.  Some of the subsequent images were playfully controversial:

... While others were, in my view, manipulative, exploitative and created solely to get banned, because that would ensure some coverage on the BBC news ... and how else is one to get the BBC to advertise one's products?

So, if you combine the publicity windfall of getting banned (wait and see what happens with Tom Six's Human Centipede 2 now the BBFC have banned it in Britain) with the aesthetic of bootleggery ... You have the advance publicity campaign for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

As my friend Dave Melkevik rightly points out, the film certainly needs to generate lots of hype to get noticed, after all, it's not like it's based on a novel that's sold 27 million copies, nor starring one of the biggest movie stars in the world nor is it directed by an auteur coming off the back of conspicuous Oscar glory ... Or anything.

The publicity began last week with the release of a trailer for the film which was, apparently, an illegal bootleg.  I have embedded the video below, but don't expect it to be there forever, it has already been taken down from YouTube "due to a copyright claim" ... "Because it has done its job" would be more to the point.

As Mashable points out here, there are a few reasons to believe it is really a legitimate viral campaign.  Not least because, a very few days later, the HD version appeared.  This, of course, received a lot of attention because of the publicity generated by the 'bootleg'.  Convenient, that.  Anyway, the 'legit' version looks and sounds like this:

The story moved on this week with the release of the film's first poster:

You know, if Americans didn't write their dates backwards, that would be released on what should be International Rush Day ... December the 21st or 2112!
Moody and ominous with just a touch of titillation, I'm sure you'll agree.  Then, a few days later, a slightly different version appears and, again, generates a buzz of controversy.  Apparently this 'tits out' version of the poster is for the enlightened Europe market, rather than those highly strung Americans.  So, there won't be a Benneton-like outcry, then?  Of course there will, that's what they're hoping for.

No sign of any dragon tattoo in this 'tits out for the lads' version.  All I can see is a poster selling sex and Daniel Craig (although I concede that, for some readers, these will be one and the same thing).
See, for me, the dangerous, faintly abusive tone of this image is now eclipsed by Rooney Mara's NIPPLE and any serious information the image may communicate about the film being a thriller is overshadowed by her NIPPLE and the only thing this poster will be famous for is the NIPPLE.

I'm no prude, but I do have concerns about the way the media objectifies women, but not men.  Surely we are more sophisticated than this?  But, no, of course, we're not.  And here I am perpetuating the crime, even if it is in the name of some half-formed unfocussed criticism.

Looking at that image, I can't help but remember that the original book's title Män Som Hatar Kvinnor actually translates as "Men Who Hate Women".

But the controversy has, inevitably, done its job ... The internet is now all-too-aware of the film and the material that has been released has already become interactive.

Firstly, Soundcloud has the stripped-out audio off the trailer which is, indeed, by the Oscar-winning duo of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.  I loves me the Nine Inch Nails and I loves me too the Led Zeppelin, so here it is, 92 seconds of gorgeousness and gorgocity:

  Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - Immigrant Song (feat. Karen O) (Led Zeppelin Cover) by daftdreamy 

Also, editor Jeff Yorkes has been having fun with the video which, I stress, has been out here in the wild less than a week at the time of writing:

Pete's Dragon Tattoo from Jeff Yorkes on Vimeo.

Isn't that delightful.  And a brilliant example of the success, already, of the viral and social media advertising for the film.

Now, the ephemeral nature of social media being what it is, we'll see how long those links continue to function!


Well, the above link seems to be safe and, furthermore, Jeff Yorkes has created a sequel to his own Pete's Dragon Tattoo mash-up.  Enjoy:

Pete's Dragon Tat2 from Jeff Yorkes on Vimeo.

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