With just weeks to go until the debut of New Moon, the second installment of the Twilight series, Summit Entertainment, the film's distributor, is clearly playing with fire.
For months the build-up to the campaign has turned America's teenage girls into a pack of depraved junkies, refreshing their browsers with increasing rage looking for the latest tidbit of the film. Since the first Twilight film itself came out, Summit has doled out pieces of New Moon in tiny parcels, offering up stills from the film, three trailers, song lists from the soundtrack, soundtrack cover art, new posters, set photos data about the film's running time and of course relentless 24/7 coverage of every movement of stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner etc.
Like alleged pieces of the true cross floating across Europe in the middle ages, there may in fact currently be more artifacts of New Moon out there on the market than there actually is New Moon to hold them; by our calculations New Moon would have to be approximately 18 hours long to fit in all the pieces of New Moon that have found their way into the public space.
We have no doubt that once the public safety threat has been passed, Congress will want to investigate the fact that Summit entertainment has for the past year kept the teenage girls of America hovering over a precipice between sanity and raving bedlam. The campaign however, has brilliantly created not just one mega-PR event with the release of the film but turning the release of PR materials themselves into mega-events, with their own build-up, countdowns and launch parties — and making the tireless muckrakers of entertainment journalism their lackeys in the frenzy.
Take this week for instance. The big event in Twilight-land, still reeling from the launch of the New Moon soundtrack currently topping the iTunes charts, will be the release of a new clip from the film, to debut on Access Hollywood. The clip itself will presumably run about a minute, as past clips have. But building up to the release of that precious minute of footage, Access Hollywood received permission to preview the release of the clip; the clip which will preview the movie, running on their site an approximately three second slice of the minute to come.
The clip's release will be followed by blanket coverage on MTV and elsewhere of reaction to the clip's release and hundreds of hours of punditizing about where this leaves us as a Twilight-based society.
Someday these people will understand that they have toyed with forces beyond their power to control. But until then, all we as society can do is pray. And lock the doors.