Sunday, November 09, 2003

More questionable marketing taglines than either of the first two Scary Movies combined

Here's the advertising tagline I keep hearing in commercials for Scary Movie 3: "More laughs per minute than the first two Scary Movies combined!"

However, this isn't really as impressive as they want you to think. Remember, you've got to account for the fact that, as many laughs as the first two movies provided, they're stretched out over a much longer time when you consider them together. Let's suppose that Scary Movie and Scary Movie 2 provided a hundred laughs each. That's 200 laughs. Divide that by the total running time of both movies combined -- 171 minutes (88 min. and 83 min. respectively) -- for the laughs-per-minute ratio: 1.17 laughs per minute. At 84 minutes, Scary Movie 3 needs only 99 laughs to exceed the laughs-per-minute ratio of the first two movies considered as one unit.

So it's possible that Scary Movie 3 actually delivers one fewer laugh than each of the previous two movies, and unless it's delivering at least 2.34 laughs per minute, it's certainly not giving you more total laughs than the first two movies did in total, which is what the slogan seems to imply. Indeed, this probably isn't the case, as evidenced by the failure of Miramax's advertising compliance department to give the go-ahead to go with the stronger and more explicit "more laughs per minute than the first two Scary Movies."

While Scary Movie 3 might not be twice as funny as either of the first two films in the series, it is, however, a good bet that it's significantly funnier than both, because none of the Wayans brothers are involved in this one. That's the angle I would have taken on the slogan: "Now 100% Wayans-free!"

Addendum: I've thought about this some more, and this slogan may be the filmmakers' way of saying that while this movie isn't as funny as the first Scary Movie, it is, at least, much funnier than Scary Movie 2. (Or vice versa.) Perhaps when you add the two previous movies together, one of them drags down the laughs-per-minute ratio of the combined films so far that Scary Movie 3, while not particularly funny, still exceeds it.

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