Wednesday, January 4, 2012

We Bought A Zoo (but we marketed it poorly)

Over the break I went to see the film We Bought A Zoo, partly because I usually like anything with Matt Damon and partly because people seemed to have good things to say about it. Although the film was only rated PG there was quite a bit of swearing in it. Considering Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire) directed it that shouldn't surprise me, however the PG rating I feel was a bit misguided. While in line to get my tickets there were lots of people lining up with young children (a lot probably under 8). If you watched the previews and didn't go on a site like or how would you know what you were in for? Thankfully I had looked at those sites and decided against bringing my 7 and 4 year olds, very glad I made that choice. Even during the film I heard a voice say "this is rated PG?" Then after the film was over, I saw the boy who I believe belonged to the voice I heard earlier and he said (to I assume his Mom this time) "that was PG? There was a lot of harsh language, the MPAA must be changing their rules" pretty precocious, he was probably between 10-12. I almost wanted to congratulate him for noticing...why does an 11 year old boy understand this better than people running the MPAA?
The other thing I found odd/ironic was the title "We Bougt A Zoo" which they say several times during the film to make sure we get it =) when in fact the name of the place is Rosemoor Wildlife Park...I get that the title "We Bought A Wildlife Park" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue quite the same. So the film industry gets the marketing from a title standpoint, but they seem to be falling short marketing a film like this as a "family film."
As a film for adults it was decent and pretty well acted. I just don't see how a film that is really about a family getting over the loss of their mother/wife should ever be marketed toward children (or families), even without the use of words like sh*t, bullsh*it, hell, Jesus, a**hole, not to mention a little girl using the word di*k. PG-13 would have been a better choice.
Lastly I found it funny that in the ads there is a picture of a Zebra wrapped in a bow...we barely see the zebras in the film, the tigers are the stars....was it too hard to get the bow on the tiger....or did they not want it to look like Mandalay was putting this one out?

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