This has been a damn fine summer for science fiction movies. We’ve got massive blockbusters like Godzilla, maybe the best Marvel movie yet in Guardians of the Galaxy, and a bunch of angry moneys in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Not to mention interesting smaller movies like The Signal, The Congress, and I Origins. One of the true travesties of the summer, however, is that Edge of Tomorrow was a box office failure. It’s one of the most fun, entertaining movies of the year, let alone the summer, full of big action and clever use of time travel. It also has a terrible, super generic name, which some claim is the reason for the flop, though that may be changing, we’re not entirely sure.
Based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All You Need Is Kill, somewhere along the line the title was changed to this bland, focus group approved, pile of crap. All You Need Is Kill is a bit of a mouthful, but at least it catches your attention. Edge of Tomorrow sounds like the title of a power ballad by some Cinderella knock off from the 1980s that no one remembers. But now look at this art that Warner Bros. has released for the impending home release. It’s curious.
This first one of the Blu-ray packaging features the “Live. Die. Repeat.” tagline prominently, as well as stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. What it doesn’t feature, at least not until you get to the very bottom, and in very small print, is the title of the damn movie.
Then there’s this advertisement that looks like it could be from a magazine or something like that. It says, “Live On The Edge” in very large letters, and has a big pull quote from the Los Angeles Times. But again, the title is nowhere to be found. In fact, the only place where the words “Edge,” “of,” and “Tomorrow” appear in that order, is at the very bottom, and it’s only there to direct you to the website. It’s damn near the smallest print on the entire page.
So the question is, are they actually changing the name, or do they just not want you to see it? My guess it the latter.
Almost everyone who saw Edge of Tomorrow loved it, critics, friends, random movie goers, but the most common thing I heard was, “that wasn’t the movie I expected.” And that was a huge problem. It’s a clever, inventive, surprisingly funny movie, but if you paid attention to the marketing, you got none of that. The build up was just as bland and uninteresting as the title.
My bet is that the studio is trying to distance themselves from the name. Not a lot of people saw the movie, but a lot of people saw the ubiquitous advertising campaign. And the reaction was similar across the board, it didn’t make people want to see the movie. They exerted a lot of effort to brand their film, and it worked, but not in the right way. Perhaps they’re hoping people will see the packaging, covered with quotes praising the film, take a look at it, and decide to pick it up based on that without making the connection to a failed marketing campaign.
That’s not a bad move. I hope that it works out and that this, much like Dredd a couple years ago, finds a much larger audience on home video than it ever did in the theaters. And if you haven’t watched Edge of Tomorrow, which is available for sale starting on October 7, you should. Maybe if we call it Live On The Edge, Live. Die. Repeat., Cruise/Blunt/Edge, or whatever the hell name you want to use, more people will give this a chance.