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New Movie About Corporate Hatchetman Hard To Market

Writer/director Jason Reitman came up with the idea for "Up in the Air" -- which stars George Clooney as a "corporate downsizer" who flies around the country and fires employees -- back in the day when times were flush and most mid-level executives worried more about layovers than layoffs. Changing economics presented a marketing challenge by the time the movie opened Friday, Claudia Eller writes.

"People may not want to spend two hours with something they're living with every day," says Russell Schwartz, a movie-marketing consultant. "It's also a movie that's being released against the tide, when uplifting stories and light escapism are thriving." On top of that, it's not easily categorized -- it's both comedy and drama -- or summarized.

"Up in the Air" is only opening in only 12 cities, expanding gradually until Dec. 25, when it will play wide. Paramount hopes the measured release will build word of mouth. Another unusual feature of the movie are interviews with real people who relate their experiences of being fired. But the marketing downplays layoffs and focuses on the Clooney character's journey of self-discovery.

Read the whole story at Los Angeles Times »

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