DHD has more on the mishap of the marketing department at Walden Media/Summit Entertainment. Here's an excerpt from a Bandslam insider that was on DHD:
Isn't there a story here? Death by marketing? A movie that gets 80% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes -- 90% from top critics -- won't see the light of day because Summit consistently made some of the worst choices, and their core audience summarily dismissed the movie without seeing it based on their sale.The movie did so poorly this weekend at the box office but it recieved great reviews. Over at Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has a rating of 81% on the tomatometer. Top critics combined for 89% with 16 fresh reviews. T-Meter critics had 81% with 66 fresh reviews.
Start off with the fact that they chose BANDSLAM for a title instead of WILL. They thought WILL was too indie. But that’s what made this movie special. It was an indie voice wrapped up in a high concept. So, instead of selling it quirky and cool (a la Juno) they sold it on the Disney channel's Vanessa Hudgens and Aly Milchaka. Instead of selling the concept, band of outcasts like The Commitments, they Disneyfied this movie with glitter paint. So what is an ironic, smart script with a killer soundtrack was sold like High School Musical meets Phil Of The Future. Instead of embracing it for its quirky-ness, for its unique voice (Will, the lead, calls high school “Guantanamo Bay with a lunch period”) they flattened it out so it looked like everything else. There have been literally dozens and dozens of calls today and e-mails from heads of marketing at different studios saying this may be singly the worst job they've ever seen on a movie whose unique voice deserved to be heard through positioning, title, marketing tie-ins, and knowing your audience. But Rob Freidman and Summit infantalized their audience. They presumed that since HSM was a hit, and the same star was in their movie singing, they should just sell it the same way.
Bandslam is an intelligent teen film that avoids teen film cliches, in an entertaining package of music and coming-of-age drama.Do yourself a favor and go see this movie. You won't regret it.