SBD/July 14, 2011/Media

Sony Has A Tall Order In Marketing "Moneyball" To Mass Audience

One “key hurdle” for Sony Pictures and its marketing team heading into the Sept. 23 theatrical release of “Moneyball” is that the film's “core story -- centering on how baseball player value is analyzed -- might be too ‘inside baseball’ for some” audiences, according to Dave McNary of DAILY VARIETY. Sports movies are “historically a tough sell -- particularly overseas, even if they succeed domestically.” McNary noted where Michael Lewis’ book that the film is based on was “able to dive into the numbers” that make up the central theme, the filmmakers “have to deliver more story than stats.” Sony “will be looking to attract fans beyond those in fantasy baseball leagues who don't know OPS from the USPS.” The film's creative bench “reteams a trio of heavy hitters” -- producers Scott Rudin and Michael De Luca, and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin -- behind last year's "The Social Network." But it is “an open question as to whether Sony and the filmmakers can duplicate the success” of the Oscar-winning film. Sony recently released the first trailer for "Moneyball," and the “stars are making some early promotional forays on behalf of the film, but with a release date less than two and a half months away, the studio is keeping a low profile.” Still, audiences are “starting to get glimpses of how” the film and MLB are “aiming to drive interest in one another.” Brad Pitt, who stars as main character A’s GM Billy Beane, “lent his voice to narrate an opening bit” of Tuesday's All-Star Game that “honored baseball greats of the past and present.” Also, actor Chris Pratt, who portrays player Scott Hatteberg, “appeared in a celebrity softball game Sunday as a run-up to the All-Star matchup” (, 7/13).

IS THE ENDING HOLLYWOOD ENOUGH? In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel asked if Hollywood will be "satisfied with" the true ending of the A's' seasons under the "Moneyball" concept. The team made the playoffs four straight years from '00-03, but "never won a series." It was not until '06 when the A's "defeated the Twins in the divisional round did Oakland win a playoff series under Beane's Moneyball" (, 7/12).
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