Mkt - the Passion of Christ

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The Passion of The Christ
A Case Study Analysis
Submitted by: Group E1, Section 1

Problem Statement
Newmarket Films, an independent U.S movie studio, has signed onto distribute “The Passion of The Christ”, a movie slated for release in 2004. Icon Productions has been able to generate interest among a certain section using pre-screening campaigns. Christian Special-Interest groups have taken an active interest in the promotion of the movie. Dedicated websites are trying to promote the movie as much as possible. No religious movie has achieved any significant success in the recent past. Mel Gibson and his production house, Icon Productions, were not seemingly motivated by profit maximization. No religious movie has achieved any significant success in the recent past. New Market Films has now taken responsibility of the marketing activities. New Market Films now have to formulate an effective marketing and promotional plan for the movie. Objectives

To decide the best promotional mix and distribution strategy for “The Passion of The Christ”. New Market films has the following decision dilemmas:
* Whether to continue with the pre-screening campaigns and interest generation among religious groups or to shift to more mainstream method movie marketing. * What advertising message to use, and the ad budget

* The optimal date for releasing the movie
* The number of screens in which to release, and the screen intensity in the weeks to follow.

Release date
1. Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2004
2. Easter, April 9, 2004
1. A limited release, restricted to around 500 screens initially and then expanding to more screens based on audience response. 2. A Wide release , releasing in over 2000 screens, and aiming for high opening weekend collections. Advertising:

1. A grassroots campaign, focusing on word-of-mouth publicity, interest generation through pre screenings and promotion among Christian interest groups and religious congregations. 2. A traditional mainstream movie marketing campaign, with higher spending on television ads, trailers etc. The ad campaign in this case has to start at least two months before the release date. Our Recommendation

* The release strategy best suited for “The Passion of The Christ” is a limited “sleeper” release. * The number of screens recommended for opening is 937.
* The release date is recommended to be Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2004. * The ideal marketing strategy is one focused on a grassroots campaign, with continuation of pre-screenings and build-up of word of mouth buzz. * The Screen intensity can be drastically increased after the initial weeks, based on audience response.

(The details of relevant calculations have been shown in the appendices) * New Market Films is a relatively small, ‘independent’ studio. “The Passion of The Christ” is a movie with a production budget of only $30 million and a marketing budget of $15 mn, while blockbusters from major movie studios can have production budgets in excess of $100 mn with consequently large ad budgets. “The Passion of The Christ” has several serious drawbacks – It is in two dead languages, none of the actors are well known, the movie has received negative criticisms, and religious movies usually fail. In such unpredictable conditions, New Market cannot compete with major studios by through expensive ad campaigns.

* New Market has experience in successfully executing targeted ad campaigns for ‘sleeper’ release movies. The usual strategy adopted was to release the movie in a small number of screens, create a strong buzz, generate word-of-mouth publicity and once the movie picks up and has obtained positive audience response, increase the number of screens and shift to a wide release. The conditions are ideal for the same strategy to be adopted for “The Passion of The Christ”.

* There is extremely strong support from the...
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