Scorsese’s film tops box office…I smell a rat

Martin Scorsese at Golden Globes

Martin Scorsese’s latest movie, Shutter Island, opened as a winner this past weekend at the box office across Canada and the US raking in $40.2 million. This is not a surprise at all to anyone since it stars Leonardo DiCaprio and there wasn’t anything else that good to watch in theatres quite frankly. Plus, this movie looks pretty good, I wouldn’t mind seeing it myself. However, about a month ago during the Golden Globes I noticed something unfair that I have no doubt helped this movie make more money than it otherwise would have made.

For those who didn’t watch the Golden Globes this year, a life time achievement award was given to Martin Scorsese. That was fine, no problem with that. What was troubling was before they called him up to the stage, they showed a bunch of his movies that helped him garner this award. As I recall, the last movie they flashed on the screen was Shutter Island. This is a full month before the movie came out so obviously it had nothing to do with Scorsese winning the award. By flashing the movie at the Golden Globes it was free advertising and it was a type of very effective advertising that all other upcoming movies did not have the chance to benefit from.

It appears that the Golden Globes organizers and academy decided that it would be nice to give their life time achievement award recipient a freebie and promote his upcoming movie and also have the star of that movie be one of the presenters for his award. To them it may have been just an innocent friendly gesture but for all other competing movies this weekend it was an unethical and down right dirty move. If it was my movie that was set to be in theatres during this weekend and probably next weekend as well, I would have done everything I can to make it known that Shutter Island benefited from an unfair advantage.

People who track the industry say that Shutter Island took in a significantly higher revenue total for its debut weekend than is expected for a film in this genre. It is said that a movie in this genre should make somewhere in the teens of millions, which is far short of the $40 million it made. It is hard to attribute an exact number that the Golden Globes ad represents because many factors play in to the results. I wouldn’t say that everything above $18-$19 million (the high end average for movies in this genre) should be attributed to the unfair ad because in fairness the second place movie was a Valentine’s Day flick (a week after the holiday) which shows there really wasn’t any serious competitors, plus, Leonardo DiCaprio is a big star that brings in a lot of money to his movies generally. However, it is fair to say that some millions can be attributed to this unfair advantage the other movies currently in theatres should be more upset and vocal about it.