Don't Show The Movie Clip! But DO Count Your Box Office Dollars

Movie studios take great pains to tease TV viewers with commercials showing special but brief dramatic bits from their films. But what about doing the reverse? That is, not showing key scenes.

Too strange?  Sony is doing just for Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest movie, “The Brothers Grimsby,” before its release March 11.

The movie is about a funny football hooligan brother of a British Mi6 spy. In a TV commercial, words on the screen -- and a voiceover -- tells viewers:  “Sacha had a clip of a movie... that we are not allowed to show TV. So he showed the audience.” Then you see plenty of the audience’s horrified reactions to whatever has been screened.  

Then the spot concludes with some background of Baron Cohen talking on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,”  presumably about the movie and that one particular scene. “That was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen in my life,” says Kimmel. There is a hashtag presented, presumably for more info.



It would help if you had some reference to Baron Cohen’s past characters, which were mockumentary -style efforts like “Borat” -- a movie poking fun of American culture.

Then there was 'Brüno," where Cohen played a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashion show presenter who lure many to make provocative embarrassing and statements. “The Dictator,” came next -- a political satire black comedy.  You see where this is going.

Critics have been somewhat mixed about the movie so far. The negative:  ”An awkward combination of gross-out humour, violent action and sappy sentimentality.”

The positive went like this: “It's wholeheartedly and proudly stupid, silly, grotesque, outlandish, vulgar, and over-the-top.” Rotten Tomatoes gave it a low-ish 47% average rating.

To be fair, Sony previously ran some more traditional, slapstick-ish TV commercials for the movie before its current spot. Since the beginning of February, Sony Pictures has spent $6.8 million in national TV media for the movie.

Now, it seems to want to go in for the kill with what we can expect from this movie brand.

Can this be enough to lure the Baron Cohen faithful? Better still, how much is Sony gambling this brand will work without any of the key offensively gross and somewhat funny scenes -- that this actor is known for?

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