The Cycle

Marketing challenges of dark and depressing films

Lionsgate is trying to figure out how to market its much-discussed Sundance acquisition, Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire, which includes some controversial material. The movie is about an illiterate young woman, played by Gabourey Sidibe, who is pregnant with her father’s child (for the second time), and is being abused by her mother, played by Mo’Nique. More information after the jump.

Lionsgate is also in the midst of a legal battle with the Weinstein Co. over the film, which has gotten support from Oprah and Tyler Perry. The reports:

“The studio prides itself on taking on marketing challenges, but Push, which won three top awards last month at the Sundance Film Festival — the Audience Award, the Grand Jury Prize and a Special Jury Prize for Acting — is one of the biggest to come along in some time, marketing experts say. African-American audiences of all demographics could wince at the film’s negative imagery. As films like The Great Debaters and Miracle at St. Anna have shown, a release labeled a black film by the marketplace — and Push already has been — can be an incredibly tough sell to mainstream white audiences.”

I saw a preview for this film, which is directed by Lee Daniels and also features Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, and Lenny Kravitz, while at the Bahamas International Film Festival in December. My advice is to get scenes from the film out there. With this powerful story, I was captivated by end of the short preview.

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