Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Political Correctness Gone Mad or Simply Good Marketing Sense?

Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn have a knew movie coming out next week. I know this because I have seen the poster everywhere and the only thing I can guage from it is that "I am meant to find it funny how tall Vince Vaughn is compared to Reese Witherspoon. Those crazy folk!" The movie is called Four Holidays. What's that you say? "It's called Four Christmases!" Well, to that I say "not down here it ain't!"

In a strange move, the film's distributors have decided to erase Christmas altogether from the film's release on these shores. As I already mentioned, the movie has been renamed to Four Holidays and even the artwork has eradicated any references to Christmas whatsoever. Gone are the presents that Witherspoon stands on in the American poster, and they have been replaced with suitcases. Gone, too, is the festive red ribbon that binds the two stars together. Let's compare.

The American poster:

And here is the artwork used at the official Australian website (I can't seem to find an actual Australian poster online, unfortunately).

They even changed the colour of the title from red and green to red and black, just so people don't make any link to the festive season at all!

As far as I am aware, the film is only going by this new title in Australia and New Zealand, but it could be elsewhere. It probably makes perfectly good sense to release it under the new title in a country that is less Christmas-oriented (countries that are more religiously diverse, perhaps), but why change it here? Sure, he have plenty of alternative religions to Catholicism and Christianity, but we're generally a god-fearing-and-let's-celebrate-baby-Jesus country - for better or worse - and as a country that celebrates Christmas in the majority. Although, to be honest, there probably are people who celebrate Christmas who, rightly so in most cases, wouldn't go see a Christmas-themed movie if you paid them. Maybe they are just being particularly shrewd and not wanting to lose any possible box office dollars to people who are more in the mood for "Vince and Reese's wacky hyjinx" than "Vince and Reese's wacky hyjink while discovering the true meaning of Christmas and becoming better people because of it", or whatever the film is all about.

And then there's the thought that somebody on the marketing team got a whiff of "letter to the editor" people getting their underwear in a twist and decided to err on the side of political correctness. You know the ones. They're the ones who criticise cities putting up Christmas decorations because it "insults [their] own beliefs" or, even sillier, the beliefs of others that they have no relation to (and, in the case, they are merely Negative Nancy's with nothing better to do with their time than complain about things that don't effect them in any way shape or form.)

Nevermind all this though because I sure as hell won't be forking over my money for this movie. Will you?


Anonymous said...

But isn't it only Americans who have that crazy "happy holidays" malarkey? I would've expected this the other way around - to be called "Four Holidays" in the US, and released straight to DVD here...

Perhaps they're more concerned that Australians don't go to Christmas movies at all? Or that we'll assume it's a kid's movie if Christmas is in the title?

Kamikaze Camel said...

Maybe they know how much of a stinker Vaughn's last Christmas movie was and wanted to steer audiences away from thinking it was at all similar (I am speaking of Fred Claus).

It is a headscratcher though, isn't it?

Guy said...

Huh? As a Christmas obsessive, this alarms me. At least the suitcases are red and green.

And I'm afraid to say I was amused by the heigh-difference gag. Please shoot me now and put me out of my misery.

And I'm still looking for someone to join me in forking out hard-earned cash to see it. I never miss a Reese Witherspoon movie. (Well, actually I missed Penelope. Maybe I should follow that lead.)

RC said...

that's crazy. i wonder what countries have the holiday theme and which ones have the Christmas theme.

That's crazy.

Anonymous said...

I read this post a few days ago and today I recalled it when I was reading a movie magazine and came across with a piece on "Four Christmases". The title, here on the other side of the world will be: Como en casa en ningĂșn sitio ("There's no place like home"). I went to check on IMDB and though the Spanish title isn't there, the titles for other countries don't seem to include the word Christmas either. Maybe distributors sense a backlash against Christmas movies all around the world, who knows? Interesting, anyway.


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