From the universe that brought you that thing you liked…
So I was driving home from the supermarket the other day and saw a billboard advertising the upcoming film Pan. (I assume this film is something to do with Peter Pan, rather than an anthropomorphic biopic set in a kitchen where all the pots and pans come to life, and there’s one pan that everyone picks on (let’s call him, I don’t know… Pan?). Pan would be really down on his luck – Teflon would be peeling off his griddles, there would be bits of burnt bacon stuck to his edges, and he feels totally worthless. He also really fancies the sexy Cafetiere that lives in the cupboard with the glass door above the kettle, but doesn’t think he has a chance with her because he’s all rusty and smells a bit. He’s also constantly bullied by a rolling pin called King Pin. However, one day a contrived set of dire circumstances manifest themselves in such a way that puts everyone at risk, and only Pan can save the day! He does so by using all his characteristics that were previously thought of as flaws to overcome the odds, and in the end the Cafetiere falls for him and the owner of the kitchen throws out King Pin because she gives up on baking.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes – the poster for Pan. It looks like this:
Looks fairly innocent, right? Well look again. What does it say at the top?
“From the studio that brought you HARRY POTTER”
Now, call me cynical, but I think this link between Pan and Harry Potter is a little bit tenuous. What’s happened here is that Warner Brother’s PR team all sat in a room and had a conversation that went something like this. (Incidentally, to help you picture the scene, I’ve called my two PRs ‘Bliss’ and “Trev” :
Bliss: “Harry Potter was really successful. If we convince the people that saw that film to see Pan, it would be super-super-amazing!”
Trev: “Yes, but how do we do that?”
Bliss: “We need to think about what these films have in common, then point it out to people!”
Trev: “But what do they have in common?”
Bliss: “Well, they’re both fantasies, they both feature a boy with special abilities as the main character, they’re both fish-out-of-water stories…”
Trev: “They both have P’s in their title…”
Bliss: “Yes yes… but what else? What else?”
Trev: “Wait a minute! Why don’t we say something like “from the director of HARRY POTTER”?
Bliss: “We can’t, because the director of Pan didn’t direct Harry Potter.”
Trev: “Oh, I see. Well, are any of the cast the same?”
Trev: “What about Rat Pac Entertainment and Berlanti – you know, the production companies? Were they involved in Harry Potter?”
Trev: “Okay then, what about the writers? The producers?”
Bliss: “Well, the Exec Producer Tim Lewis was involved in the last four Harry Potters…”
Trev: “What’s an Exec producer?”
Bliss: “Exactly. We can’t say “from the exec producer of some of the Harry Potter films” – that sounds ridiculous. But I tell you what – Warner Brothers made all the Harry Potters, right? And they’re also the studio making this!”
Trev: “Yes, but… Warner Brothers make thousands of different films. Is that really a connection?”
Bliss: “Shut up. I’ve got it – We say “From the studio that brought you HARRY POTTER”!
Trev: “Do you really think people will fall for that?”
Bliss: “I do! I really do! Waiter – can we have a third bottle of wine for the table please? All this creativity has really sapped me!”
Okay, so Warner Brothers were the studio that brought us Harry Potter, but to infer that Pan has any creative similarities to Harry Potter just because Warner Brothers is behind it is a little bit disingenuous in my opinion. So what if they made Harry Potter? They also made such classics as Battlefield Earth (shudder), Catwoman (whoops), The Adventures of Pluto Nash (remember that classic?), Carpool (oh dear), and the god-awful remake of Arthur with Russel Brand.
Now, I’m not saying that Pan is a bad film – I haven’t seen it, so I’m not here to comment on that. I guess my point is that Warner Brothers is such a huge organisation and has such a broad reach over so many films, their involvement as the over-arching studio of both Pan and Harry Potter doesn’t really mean anything, particularly when the films only have a solitary exec producer as the common denominator. So it shouldn’t be touted as a selling point. To put this in context, It would be like me trying to convince Douglas Adams fans to read Time Rep by saying “from the species that brought you The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…”
I also like the tag-line at the bottom: “Every legend has a beginning.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but every whatever has a beginning, doesn’t it? Given everything has to start somewhere, the word “legend” is interchangeable, which could be potentially amusing. So to finish, Here are some suggestions for other films about something or other, using the “Every [insert the thing that has a beginning here] has a beginning” formula:
Every walk to the post office has a beginning
Every haircut has a beginning
Every beginning has a beginning
Every argument about who’s turn it is to buy the milk has a beginning
Every book about shopping in Tunbridge Wells has a beginning
Okay, I’m done. Until next time.