The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Blindsided by “The Blind Side”

posted by jmcgee

06blind_CA0-articleLarge.jpg
This is a fascinating peek at how Hollywood surprised itself – and a lot of other people — by making an old-fashioned movie about old-fashioned values and virtues. A lot of its success was the product of really smart marketing (and a standout performance by Sandra Bullock didn’t hurt):

Women may have been drawn both by Ms. Bullock — who had just posted a personal box office record with her comedy “The Proposal” — and by a story that was far more about a woman adopting a son than about football.

But once the movie was made — on a modest $35 million budget, about $5.5 million of which was recouped from Georgia tax incentives — churchgoing women and their families were also attracted with help from Grace Hill Media. This marketing company has been used by studios for years to bring such audiences to films like “Walk the Line,” “Elf” and “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

In this case Grace Hill took the unusual step of offering online sermon outlines based on “The Blind Side,” with clips that could be used in churches equipped with video screens. …About 23,000 churches downloaded the sermons, laying an exceptionally strong base for the film.

Black viewers, (producers) speculate, were drawn by the story’s emphasis on the durability and fundamental goodness of Michael Oher, the real-life football player portrayed by the newcomer Quinton Aaron. Mr. Aaron got his own publicity, with stories about how he had been working as a bodyguard in New York and shed 100 of his 475 pounds to work in the film.

For families there was also a substantial subplot, based on the relationship between Mr. Oher and the young S. J. Tuohy, portrayed by Jae Head.

Meanwhile, the country star Tim McGraw, who played a supporting role, may have brought some of the music crowd. The producers, according to Mr. Johnson, expected their film to play like “Walk the Line,” a music-oriented redemption story that had deep Southern roots and took in a solid $120 million for 20th Century Fox at the domestic box office after opening to a relatively modest $22 million in 2005.

“The Blind Side,” which opened against the formidable “Twilight Saga: The New Moon,” did much better than expected, with a boost from a sort of marketing “wiki” that left many separate groups — Christians, sports fans, mothers and academy voters among them — feeling as if they had a stake in the movie.

Check out the rest, including why Sandra Bullock thought she’d made a terrible mistake in accepting the role.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(3)
post a comment
Phoebe

posted February 6, 2010 at 7:03 am


Great article and an interesting reflection on how a mainstream hit can arise from appealing to so-called niche groups who care strongly about the topic, or even just one aspect of the topic.



report abuse
 

Cliff Bishop

posted February 7, 2010 at 9:12 am


You would think that someday Hollywood would get it that if they would just make a good film without cramming sex,language and violence down our throats people would buy it



report abuse
 

One Source Talent

posted February 7, 2010 at 12:41 pm


This film was amazing and Sandra Bullock was incredible. Its always nice to see an actress play a character outside of what she normally could, and then blow us all away with her performance. It makes an even bigger impact that the film was based on a true story.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives!

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below.

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The immediate aftermath of the storm for this class would be

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy.

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.