The second Owen Wilson film to hit theaters since his suicide attempt last August, the new comedy Drillbit Taylor, is likewise the second consecutive — and for his employers, hopefully the last — film for which Wilson has skipped doing publicity and promotion. To wit, while John Horn and Gina Piccalo acknowledge in today's LA Times that the teen bully-bodyguard film will probably find its adolescent boy market without Wilson doing the print rounds or baring his soul to the likes of Barbara Walters, their Great Moments in Publicity Awkwardness timeline suggests that date may need to occur sooner than later:
Unlike Paramount's extensive marketing effort for Drillbit, Fox Searchlight depends on publicity to boost most of its theatrical release campaigns. With little free media (and good but not gushing reviews) for The Darjeeling Limited, the film came and went quickly, grossing just $11.9 million domestically and slightly more overseas.
Disney chose a different strategy with December 2006's Mel Gibson movie Apocalypto, whose release came on the heels of the actor-filmmaker's notorious anti-Semitic arrest rant. ... Although Gibson and CNN's Anderson Cooper famously didn't quite hit it off, the filmmaker was able to talk about his movie more than might have been expected.
The authors also note the strength of Hugh Grant's rebound from solicitation charges in 1995, and the subsequent $70 million take for his film Nine Months. It all makes sense on paper, which is the only kind of sense Fox will need this Christmas when it approaches the release of the currently in-production Wilson/Jennifer Aniston comedy Marley & Me. That's a duo with a ton of baggage, but that's part of what the studio paid for. (That doesn't even include the bump in the insurance budget — a number we'd be interested in knowing, and not a wholly separate issue from whether or not the studio can publicize its film in the end.) We don't think it's going too far out on a limb to presume Wilson will be on the promotional hook for the the holidays, is it?