The key to growing a business is recruitment. Without it, the bubble can burst on any industry. Take movies, for example. Ticket prices keep going up because attendance keeps going down. As a mode of delivering films, movie theatres are simply becoming old fashioned (you know, like a storks and babies). So Hollywood is grasping at new survival tactics – usually involving 3-D glasses and shaking seats. But their best option is turning to people like you – headhunters who attract top talent, the right businesses partners, and potential brand ambassadors (aka hardcore fans). None of which, as a strategy, was obvious to me when I sat down to watch Storks. Until the show started, that is.
Before the movie itself, a trailer for Lego Batman was followed by a Lego short film called The Master. In it, the fighting Ninjago characters are constantly crashing through a Lego-fied version of the Warner Animation Group logo. All this heavy branding effort was a not-so-subtle way to queue in movie buffs like me that Christopher Miller and Phil Lord – the do-no-wrong directing duo behind The Lego Movie – are on board for Storks as executive producers. And not just in name – their smart, funny, sassy-but-sweet, fast-paced energy is everywhere in the film.
Starting with the voice talent. Somewhere in the late 90s (probably after Robin Williams played Genie in Aladdin), it became oddly important to cast A-list actors to do the voices of characters that looked nothing like them. Sometimes that marriage works wonders (like the original Shrek), but generally animated films are best served by using the right voices, not the most well-known. The best example here is having the lead female character, Tulip, voiced by Katie Crown – an otherwise unknown actress, but who actually makes her living doing voice-work on animated series’ like “Adventure Time” and “Bob’s Burgers”. Sure, Jennifer Aniston is in Storks as well, but they certainly paid for her name on the poster more than for her unique vocal talents. After all, good recruitment is about getting the right mix of people too.
So what about potential brand ambassadors? Who is this movie for, where storks have updated their business model from delivering babies to delivering mail parcels? It’s a cute concept, and all the marketing focused on big googly baby eyes feels like it’s targeting the mom crowd pretty hard. The set-up hits a certain safe-spot on the family radar that actually gave me the confidence to bring my own three-and-a-half-year-old son to his first-ever big-screen movie experience. He’s still alarmed by any antagonists in a story (including those stupid kitties on “Paw Patrol”), so rescue plots are usually ideal (without scary weather, if possible). In other words, not vetting the film felt like a risk, but one that was rewarded not just for him, but my wife and I. We appreciated some good solid laughs, an emotionally resonant build-up of converging storylines, while he simply was happy with bright colours and popcorn. There’s a heck of a lot more going on here than he was able to comprehend, hence his strangely excited question “Daddy, what happened in that movie?” as soon as we left the theatre.
Still, you’ve found not just one, but two (three, with my wife) more people willing to spread the good word on this film.