Director Brad Bird Takes the Blame for the Poor Marketing of THE IRON GIANT
The Iron Giant is easily one of the best animated film ever made. It tells such a wonderful story that everyone loves. Over the years the film has gained a huge fanbase, but when it was first released in theaters no one went and saw it, and the film completely bombed at the box office.
The reason the movie crashed and burned so hard was because there was absolutely no marketing for the film! For years fans blamed the studio for the lack of marketing, like it was a film project that they just gave up on and didn’t have faith in. Well, it seems the truth of the matter is it was all director Brad Bird’s fault!
According to Bird, the studio actually wanted to but the film on hold so that they could build up a solid marketing campaign for it. Bird didn’t want that though. He wanted to release the film right away thinking that the movie would end up being just fine. During an interview with IndieWire which talking about the 20th anniversary of the film’s release, Bird explained what happened:
“The terrible thing was, when it came time to promote the film, they weren’t paying attention to us. Warners was intending to put the film on the shelf and wait for a slow spot at some future date and they could slip it out there. And when the film got a huge response at a test screening, they had not laid the groundwork for it. To their credit, they knew they had to delay the release and lay the correct track for it. And I stupidly said, no.”
Bird went on to take the blame for for bad decision to push the film out too soon saying:
“I was feeling cocky because the scores were so good, and I said to just put it out there. So they did, and no one knew what the hell it was. I’ll take part ownership in pushing it out into the world too soon as well. They offered to do what was necessary, and I bulldozed them. All the calculations were that if we had $8 million on the opening weekend, word of mouth would carry it the rest of the way. It made $5 million, and we were DOA.”
Bird’s comments here show his humility, and I’m sure he learned from his mistakes. It’s a shame that the film didn’t get the marketing it needed. But at least the movie exists! It’s one of my favorite films of all time.