Let’s give credit where credit is due. AMC’s “We Make Movies Better” campaign with Nicole Kidman has its heart in the right place. Study after study showed that when the campaign began, there was real trepidation about returning to theaters. As awkward and wooden as the campaign is, and as odd as it is that the spot is preaching to the choir (we’re already in a theater), it was an admirable attempt at reminding people about the magic of the big screen.
What began as something earnest quickly turned into the subject of ridicule. SNL took a swipe at it. So did Jimmy Kimmel during the Oscars. Today, however, it has turned into something far worse. It has simply become white noise. It’s just another 90 seconds theatergoers have to endure between the last trailer and the start of the movie. No one is paying attention. No one is snickering. It’s just being ignored.
Not only is the Nicole Kidman piece long in the tooth, but the optics also don’t make sense anymore. Theaters are full. Movie after movie is over-performing at the box office. And yet, there is Kidman in an empty theater that is all too reminiscent of what theaters looked like during peak covid.
At The Quorum, we conducted a study on Academy Award viewership. We noticed that several people who did not watch last year tuned in to the Oscars this year. We wanted to know why. What changed? Sure, more blockbusters were nominated, but many people said they tuned it because it reminded them of pre-pandemic days. The regalia of celebrities with no masks or even any mention of Covid was refreshing.
That’s a round-about way of saying that moviegoers have put the pandemic in the rearview mirror – for better or worse. And yet, the “We Make Movies Better” spot reeks of peak pandemic.
We’re not saying AMC should give up that real estate. Actually, we wouldn’t be mad if they did. Instead, we’re saying it’s time for new messaging. This spot served its purpose. Now let’s move on.