Steven Soderbergh Blames ‘Logan Lucky’ Failure on Social Media Marketing
After a brief “retirement” (meaning, in this case, he worked in television for a couple years), Steven Soderbergh returned to filmmaking last summer with Logan Lucky, a sort of Southern fried riff on his Ocean’s 11 heist movies. The film had an incredible cast (including Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, and Daniel Craig), a terrific script, a great premise, and Soderbergh of course. Naturally, it flopped, grossing just $27.7 million in U.S. theaters, less than other, less obviously commercial Soderbergh enterprises like The Informant! and Side Effects.
So what went wrong? On the Recode podcast, Soderbergh placed the blame on the film’s marketing strategy, explaining that he decided to invest a large part of the movie’s budget on social media instead more traditional forms of advertising. It didn’t quite pan out the way he hoped. Here’s his quote:
We spent, at my request, a hugely disproportionate amount of money in social media in the digital space as opposed to television. In retrospect, I think that was a mistake ... I think the potential audience for ‘Logan Lucky’ doesn't really hang out in that space, and probably would have been better reached through a certain kind of television. I think that audience also believes, if they don't see a lot of TV ads for the movie, the movie is not real.
I think there’s a truth to what Soderbergh’s saying in that last part. I know I’ve walked into theaters and seen movies up on the marquee and said “Wait, that movie is real? It’s out?” in situations where I haven’t seen TV commercials. There’s a weird kind of legitimacy that TV ads bring, even if the ads are bad. Maybe it’s just the notion that those commercials cost a fortune, and we know on a subconscious level that if a company is spending millions to promote a film that way, there must be something good about it.