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Cinematic advertising: Here comes the hype

Looking for 'biggest movie of all time'? There are plenty to choose from

By Barry Koltnow

The Orange County Register (MCT)

Published: Thursday, March 15 2012 6:27 p.m. MDT

Chris Hemsworth as Thor, left, and Chris Evans as Captain America join forces in Marvel's "The Avengers."

Zade Rosenthal, Zade Rosenthal

A movie is about to open in theaters that will change your life.

It is the biggest, most important, most exciting and most anxiously awaited movie in the history of cinema.

It will alter the way Hollywood makes movies. It is the coolest movie in years, and the hottest movie in decades.

It will be described in movie ads as "Spectacular!" and "Life-affirming!" No one will ever be the same after watching it.

It is unlike any movie you've ever seen, and it will be unlike any movie you ever will see.

Wait; now that I think of it, nothing I've said is true.

They weren't lies, mind you. Nobody lies in Hollywood. They exaggerate. It is widely understood that when you're selling a movie, any amount of exaggeration is acceptable. It is a business of make-believe, so selling the business is made up.

This month, the biggest movie of all time is "The Hunger Games," which will open on March 23. It will be the biggest movie of all time until the next biggest movie of all time opens. And that will be followed by another biggest movie of all time.

People who run Hollywood have trouble grasping the concept of subtlety.

They believe that they must exaggerate the importance of their movies, or you won't go to see them.

They insist that if they ran a quote with their ad that said something like "A nice little movie that you might find entertaining for about two hours," you will stay home.

Instead, they encourage movie critics to hype their movies in exchange for invitations to all-expenses-paid movie junkets in New York, Beverly Hills and London. It is a cozy relationship that is as old as the Hollywood Hills.

As a result, we have a calendar filled with the biggest movies of all time, and no nice little movies that you might find entertaining for about two hours.

This column loves nice little movies, but we live in the real world of make-believe, and therefore acknowledge the existence of a never-ending supply of the biggest movies of all time.

It's gotten so confusing for the average movie-goer that it's hard to tell one biggest movie of all time from another biggest movie of all time.

What moviegoers need is a guide to the biggest movies of all time, which we prefer to call The Most Over-hyped Movies of 2012.

"The Hunger Games": Based on Suzanne Collins' futuristic trilogy, it is hyped to be the next "Twilight" film series for a certain prized segment of the population. It stars Jennifer Lawrence, fresh off her Oscar-nominated role in "Winter's Bone" (and the bluish Mystique in "X-Men: First Class"), as a teen named Katniss who takes her younger sister's place in a deadly government-sponsored competition.

"The Dark Knight Rises": This is seen by some as the anti-"Hunger Games." There are fanboys who can barely contain themselves waiting for this to open in July. This is the final chapter in director Christopher Nolan's take on the Batman legend, after "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight." That second movie made more money than almost any movie ever made that didn't involve a sinking ship or a race of blue aliens. And that is not hype.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey": Who could possibly care about this Middle-earth prequel, except for a few fans of director Peter Jackson and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy? OK, I may have under-sold that number a bit. There probably are only a few billion boys of all ages who care about this one.

"The Amazing Spider-Man": Honestly, I don't get it. But then, I have never thought of making money as a motivation for anything. Not satisfied with making billions of dollars on the original Spidey franchise, the studio is inexplicably (MONEY) dredging the poor superhero out of the tar pits and resurrecting him into a new franchise. This time, it's in 3-D, of course, and Andrew Garfield replaces Tobey Maguire, but he's not hooking up with Kirsten Dunst. Emma Stone plays Spidey's love interest Gwen Stacy.

"The Avengers": If you think of Marvel Comics as a Las Vegas buffet, brunch will be served on May 4. Seriously, the gang's all here — Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor and even the Black Widow. If you liked last summer's "Captain America," you'll at least understand what this movie is about.

"Men in Black 3": If 10 years have passed, and you still can't think of something original, slap a number on the title and make another sequel.

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2": You either must see it, or you'd rather have root canal work.

"Dark Shadows": It's the perfect storm of must-see wackiness — Barnabas Collins, Johnny Depp and Tim Burton. You can't hype this too much.

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