Monday, 17 June 2013


Sightseers was a much-hyped dark British comedy about a couple who go on a perverse killing-spree across the British countryside. The film was sadly ignored by the majority of UK cinema-goers and sadly disappeared with a whimper from cinemas.

It would be easy to blame its poor performance on its status as a "cult" indie movie, but that would be disrespectful. The film opened to an underwhelming £213,000 from 92 locations at the UK box-office, and struggled to build any momentum in its second weekend, falling 52% despite adding 25 theatres.

However, regardless of the fact that there was a very limited interest in the movie, it does not mean that audiences rejected the film outright. It is very probable that many were simply unaware of the film or unsure of its satirical premise.

In my opinion, the main reason the film's disappointing box-office performance was down to a very poor marketing campaign that failed to build any sustainable awareness amongst audiences, which resulted in the film being largely ignored.

The movie's main UK one-sheet (see top-right) is a prime example of a bland marketing campaign that failed to convey any worthwhile narrative information to cinema-goers. It depicts the two central characters looking decidedly lost and miserable but most importantly, they are looking in different direction, which is a subtle indication of their awkward personality traits. It also suggests that the two are clearly unhappy with their lives and may be at odds with one another, perhaps without even realising it.

However, they ultimately just look incredibly bored, in fact, they both look like they could start crying at any moment; which is uninspiring at best. The imagery also contradicts the positive review quotes on the top-left, which promise a hilarious film, but why? Nothing on this on-sheets justifies a "Laugh Out Loud Funny" quote, unless it was being ironic, which it wasn't. Therefore, the best reaction this poster will garner is mild curiosity from hardcore cinema fans, but nothing more.

The only indication that this is a film about serial-killers is the (decent) tagline - Killers Have Never Been This Close Knit - but this is lost and wasted amongst the bland imagery.

In a stark contrast, the poster design for the film's U.S release was infinitely superior (see right), which is surprising given that it is widely accepted that it was never expected to find any success within the American markets.

The poster design is excellent and features the two central characters staring gormlessly while standing together on rocks in the British Countryside. They seem totally oblivious to the burning caravan and dead body in the background, which indicates both a lack of comprehension and morality, they are enjoying themselves in their own perverse way.

The poster effectively capitalises on chaos while complimenting the satirical humour that forms the foundation of this dark comedy. However, the tagline is somewhat contradictory - Killers Have Never Been So Average - which suggests that they are not very good as opposed to "regular people".

Given the expectation for success was much greater in the UK, it is baffling as to why the U.S one-sheet design was far superior but ultimately wasted. The former simply promises uncertainty and boredom while the latter promises a satirical comedy with plenty of thrills and humour. It is unfortunate that a similar strategy was not implemented in the UK markets as this would have surely increased audience anticipation and established a clear target demographic within the imagery.

It further highlights the importance of an effective one-sheet within markets where a film is expected to succeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment