Friday, March 6, 2009

Kazuaki Kiriya's "Goemon" gets a neat advance ticket promo

by Chris MaGee

My brother from another blog, Andrew Mack at Twitch, has scooped an interesting advance ticket promotion for Kazuaki Kiriya’s upcoming CGI-heavy action film "Goemon" that's being run by Shochiku and Japanese convenience store chain Lawson. Starting tomorrow, Saturday, March 7th people can buy a ¥2140 (roughly $28.00 CAD) advance ticket that comes with a DVD of extras, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of the film that's based around the 16th-century bandit and ninja Ishikawa Goemon played by Yosuke Eguchi (Shaolin Girl, Children of the Dark).

In his post Mack also wanted to know how advance ticket sales work in Japan. I have to admit that due to my poor Japanese language skills and the obvious lack of English subtitles on films in Japan I never attended a Japanese film when I was there. That being said this, I believe, is how advanced ticket promotions work: Because competition is so fierce for the theatres that show Japanese films the major studios will print up advance tickets for films and normally sell them out of one of the major convenience store chains, like in this case Lawson. The tickets can sometimes be cheaper than regular priced movie tickets, or if they come with something like this exclusive DVD they can be more expensive. These little add-on gifts can range from kids toys, collectible postcards, posters, etc. Besides getting the gift people who purchase the tickets get preferential seating once the film does open. The only drawback that I've heard about this system is that if too many advance tickets are printed and the film ends up bombing the studio will yank the film leaving ticket holders with just that free gift as a sounenir of a film that they never got to see.

Well, that's how I believe the system works. If I'm wrong please let me know in the comments. "Goemon" will hit Japanese theatres on May 1st. Check out its official website here.
UPDATE: Got an email from Midnight Eye's Nicholas Rucka with more details on the advanced ticketing system in Japan:
"I saw that you had some question about the advanced ticketing system in Japan. It is, in one sense, a way that the distributor (for foreign films and some domestic) as well as production companies raise money to finish their movies. It's also a way to determine the type and number of theaters that it will be playing at. Lastly, it's a collectors item and need I remind you that Japanese people love to collect, well... Everything! :-) It is worth mentioning that the advanced ticket sales tickets for the specific film versus the theater also exists. In the same way that you can buy a ticket here (in the US, at least-- don't know about Canada) for a specific theater and then use the ticket at a later point for the film of your choice, there's the same system in Japan. This, then, is a way for the theater to raise some direct income."

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