by Ty Hawkins (Canadien Press)- 24 minutes ago
Desperate to get their female audience ratings up, the National Hockey League today struck a deal with film group, Summit Entertainment to have some of its stars attend NHL games, including Robert Pattinson.
NHL assistant to the VP of marketing Daniel Gale said in a letter to multiple news outlets "the National Hockey League has looked for a way to get into the tween to 50-something female demographic and we think this deal will help get our foot in that door" on the deal thats reported to be a 6 year deal worth in the neighbourhood of $2 billion dollars. With hockey struggling in many U.S. markets, the deal is seen by some as a desperation play.
Critics of it have already lashed out saying its insane for the NHL to hand over 2 billion dollars while so many of their markets are in trouble. Jacob Jankowski, a writer for The Hackey News suggests the NHL use that money to help some of the less stable markets like Phoenix or Nashville "Does the NHL really think Robert Pattinson is going to help sell out a Coyotes vs Predators game? Seriously, its absurd."
The NHL however is encouraged by early reports, as the first night of games under this promotion, tonights tilts, have almost all sold out already on the news that Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner & Kellan Lutz from the vampire film series, Twilight will be in attendance at the games.
Lautner, a native of Michigan will attend tonights Columbus Blue Jackets vs Detroit Red Wings tilt with his father, sitting in the front row "its cool. I have been eager to get to a game this year, but my schedule hasnt allowed it. Now I am getting paid to go, I love this" said Lautner on jumping into this promotional gimmick. While Taylor Lautner watches his hometown boys battle, fellow Twilighter, Kellan Lutz will take in the Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings game with co-star Robert Pattinson tonight.
Pattinson, the lead character Edward Cullen in the vampire films, is the marketing centrepiece of the NHL campaign & will be making multiple appearances throughout the day. He will start off dropping the puck at the Philadelphia Flyers VS New York Islanders game, before rushing up to Toronto, Canada to attend part of the Toronto Maple Leafs home game against the Buffalo Sabres. After that, he will head down to Nashville, Tennessee to catch some of the action in the Nashville Predators tilt with the St. Louis Blues, before finally heading out to Los Angeles for the late game where he will team up with Lutz.
Summit Entertainment assistant VP in charge of public relations and appearance scheduling Toby Jugg released a statement on the apparent demanding schedule of their main attraction, Robert Pattinson. "The NHL wanted a big WOW to the start of this campaign. So we went big & shoehorned as many games as we could for Rob tonight. His schedule will ease up from here. He is scheduled to do just 2 games the following day, and Saturday with the early starting times, his 4 appearances across the country that day will not be so demanding & he will get to actually see some of the game. By next week he will be doing just 2 game a day, with 2 on the Saturday nights".
As part of the deal, the NHL has agreed to move a team to the small town of Forks, Washington and name them the Forks Vampires to cross-promote the Twilight brand. The league has announced it will hire former NHLer John Cullen to do marketing there, and are encouring the Ottawa Senators and Chicago Blackhawks to trade Mark & Matt Cullen there when the team starts playing in the 2010-11 season. As well, during this years Stanley Cup finals, the players will don glitter, to give the appearance of sparkling, just like the stars of the film do.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman had this to say on the deal "The NHL has been working on this for several months. We are excited to get this deal done. Its been our largest priority since day 1 to hammer this deal out. This is going to catapult the National Hockey League back into the major sports scene in the U.S.".
Whether the campaign is a success or a failure remains to be seen yet. One thing is for certain though, there might suddenly be a spike in females paying attention to when their local NHL teams have home games, and for the NHl, in some markets, thats the most attention they have had there in awhile."
Last week, Eclipse, the 3rd film in the Twilight Saga series, wrapped here in Vancouver. To be brutally honest, I was relieved.
Lets take you back to the beginning when the cast was first in town for New Moon, the 2nd film in the series, coming out in theatres everywhere November 20th.
I started this entire venture, NOT LIKING the idea of Twilight. I had never seen the movie & vowed I wouldnt. In the first couple weeks, I even found it easy to justify my disdain for it as the stars we were seeing were few & far between & had been to say the least, unwilling to interact. From KStew staring at us as she walked into the hotel ignoring our requests to RPattz speed walking by us when we picked him out in mid day, they were giving us a negative vibe.
The first turning point came when meeting Taylor Lautner for the first time. He was extremely friendly, pleasant, signed everything that was asked of him & I watched as he talked on a fans phone to her friend in another city, just because she asked him to. I wasnt about to run out & see the film just because of that, but I was about to start softening on this cast.
Over the next while a variety of actions happened. I called out KStew publically, and she responded by becoming more cordial, cast members befriended the locals, and in general, cast came across as extremely friendly & easy to deal with. We liked them and they seemingly liked us (compared to other entertainers we encounter often who dont show any respect without any prior reason.). After I got my first Kristen Stewart autograph, I conceded that I would infact give the film a chance. She was the one hold out of the primary cast for signing at that point, and now she had signed & in fact done a 180 from what she was like in the early weeks. I rented the film, watched it with a couple friends. Not exactly Casablanca, but a moderately entertaining & watchable movie. I stated at that time I likely could see myself going to see New Moon when it comes out.
By the time the filming for New Moon ended, we were seeing the cast almost every couple days, Rob here, Taylor there, Kristen here etc. They were exceptionally good to us & on more than 1 occasion, 1 of those 3 said "I dont care, I know you have a job to do" when we asked for more autographs or a photo. They were finally understanding they had reached a certain level of fame, and had found a happy medium in their lives with dealing with it.
I was pro-Twilight by the time they left here at the end of New Moon. In the time between the end of New Moon & the start of Eclipse, a LOT happened in their lives (mostly with Rob & Kristen) & to be brutally honest, I had no idea how much it clearly affected them till I had to deal with them again.
They went to Italy where they got their first true big time encounters with paps since their fame had skyrocketed. Oddly enough days before leaving Vancouver, many fans who were not actually here constantly were saying "cant wait for them to leave Van, so they can get a break from all the crazy fans there etc etc etc" only to learn it actually is worse everywhere else. Italy likely stressed them some, but it was NOTHING like what they endured in NYC & LA where they were under 24/7 surveillance. At least in Vancouver, we were only on them at major events & some weekends. The fact that Rob had gone to the same bar about 8-10 times before we ever actually saw him going there tells you just how much they were going out here undetected. They didnt have that luxury anymore. It changed them for the worse.
When they came back for Eclipse, we again had a small slump at the beginning. Cast were being elusive. But this time it was not so much because of dumb luck as it was with the crowds waiting. Summer time in Vancouver, and growing hype around this series meant much larger crowds. To top it off, the mentally challenged gerbils in charge of Summit decided in their infinite wisdom to book the ENTIRE cast in 1 place. Imagine whatever your idea of hell is. This is surely what Rob & Kristen felt, if not, the smaller cast members as well.
By the 2nd week of production there was about 25 paps in town & on average 30-50 fans waiting in & around the Sheraton Wall Centre hotel. Cast were becoming elusive & quick. Regular casual castmates like Nikki Rieed, Kellan Lutz & Peter Facinelli were out far less this film than the film prior, and Nikki opted to move away from the hotel with Elizabeth Reaser to a different hotel. I never got a chance to ask them why, but by Nikkis new "dont look at me" attitude she spawned in this film, I am guessing it was obviously a "I dont want to be around the hype" change of address. They wanted quiet, so they moved away.
My question to Summit. Why the hell didnt you do what you did from the beginning? 3 hotels= moderate crowds most days. 1 hotel= everyone at the same place. It was literally ground zero & the cast were prisoners of their film companies incompetence. It made the fans more desperate, it made the paps more desperate, it made us autograph hounds more desperate. So what happens when you have that much desperation building? Stupidity. With 20+ out of town paps here, the first real uh oh was the night they went to a sushi bar for a cast party. Upon their return, Robs cab went underground, and without hesitation, the out of towners with nothing to lose since they dont live here, followed them in. This was a no-no amongst the regulars, but these out of towners who would onyl stay here for a week or two did not care. This action made the cast even less willing to go out. Soon, sightings were quite rare & it was usually the same couple guys. Kellan in full sprint for a jog. Xavier for a walk. Peter Facinelli out for a short stroll. The big 3 were hiding. Rob, Kristen & Taylor were practically ghosts except for group functions or at the set.
Eventually the crowds died out. Ironically it came in the form of Summit growing a functioning brain cell, and it had the added luck of falling right when school was starting. They moved a large chunk of the cast out of the Sheraton to a small, still not completed apartment building a few blocks away called Level. I still remember 2 days before the first people would stumble across it saying to a couple people "I think they have moved them out of here" because it was so rare seeing anyone there. Within a week, all the regulars that were in the know had the new address. Only ones left without that info were the obsessive 24/7 "I cant live without seeing Rob/Taylor" fanatics that were still lurking around the now nearly ghost town like Sheraton.
For a couple weeks, there was still moderate crowds around the Sheraton, while us regulars were finally getting a cast that was far more relaxed signing & posing for pics coming out of their new residence, they would sit around there on weekends hoping to see cast when there was only 3 elusive regulars there & occasionally a couple part time cast members. Eventually, even the die hards gave up. For the past month or so of filming the place had practically no one waiting there 5 out of 6 times.... Ironically, it coincidentally was around the same time a few fans were figuring out where the residence was. Soon there was crowds of 8-10 at the residence on any given day. It quickly became the end of the cast going out as often as they were those first couple weeks there. While the focus shifted to the smaller cast members, the likes of Rob & Kristen were finding it easier to get out & were seen often out on the town by fans. Thats something they had not enjoyed since as far back as New Moon production. They had to endure being "caught out" a handful of times, but for the mostpart, they went out with little fanfare... which brings me to why?
Why with so much freedom suddenly were they so put off when they were found out? It wasnt just some paps they were trying to evade. Even in moderately calm settings where they would have signed or taken a photo with in NM, they were speedwalking/running away from now. They made people more desperate, and because of that. Stupid actions like the elevator incident happen. I dont endorse what my friend did. But in the same breath, I get somewhat why he did it. Rob & Kristen were giving him no choice. A reasonable reaction to us being there would have been a short, head down walk into the hotel, isntead of the Usain Bolt impression Kristen was trying to pull off everytime she came in. If they had casually walked in, like they had dozens of times in the past, there would not have been the panicked desperation of someone to follow them inside, because they would have been satisfied enough with the 2-3 seconds of them walking in, like the dozens of encounters prior. But when you hastily try to run away, all it does is incite panic into the others. So they feel they need to get something out of this, so they follow inside.
Its sort of the same philosophy of what happened at the sushi place weeks earlier. They made a big production about getting the cast out of the restaurant, which included calling in police to escort Rob & Kristen to the garage... a private underground secured garage. They called POLICE in to help them escort them TO A PRIVATE SECURED UNDERGROUND GARAGE??!!!!, because there was 10-12 paps waiting 200 feet away on a sidewalk in the dark. I didnt even get to the pathetic part of this.... THEY WERE IN A SECURE BUILDING!!??? There was no need to drag officers off the street for this. All it did was again, like elevator gate, incite panic in those involved, and when panic is brought in, stupid decisions happen. So what did they do? Panicked & ran in after the cab to the underground. Every stupid action could have been prevented. That includes last weeks cab fiasco (which I still laugh at all the comments of people who have adapted the story to fit their own needs & act like there was a Fast & The Furious type race thru the crowded streets of Vancouver or something). Illogical actions lead to illogical actions.
So, the last few memories I have of the Eclipse cast, are primarily negative. Much of the respect I gained for Kristen in New Moon, was lost in Eclipse. I had respect for Rob, now, I am unsure. The rest of the cast became less pleasant as well, with the likes of Kellan literally ignoring 3 girls as he returned to his hotel & not even making eye contact with them, Nikki leaving her place in hoodie tied up and sunglasses at night & giving a shit excuse like "I cant right now" before I even asked her.... which I would have understood if she was late for something. But she literally brushed off 3 people to go across the street & grab groceries, which of course meant she couldnt when she returned. I think much of her attitude comes from Paris though. Others who saw her occasionally when he wasnt around said she was her old friendly self still. I never had such luck after pre-production.
It also was not helping sell the movie on me when certain minor stars tell me "I am only allowed to sign 1 & I have to put your name on it". Now if your Rob Pattinson, you can get away with that type of demand without raising red flags. But when you are Cameron Bright, well I really dont find that level of ego acceptable. Of course, its not entirely his fault. Most of it, is the people around him implementing such levels of narcissism. I wont name names, but a certain PARENT to him is a bitch...and its not just me and the regulars here who thinks it. I recently recieved an email from a fan who met him at a function overseas and she was with him there too, and she was no less pleasant to PAYING fans at an official function. Cam is gonna grow up thinking his shit doesnt stink because of his family, and one day hes going to learn they were wrong. The most disturbing part of this is, people from his school who were over here tell us he has the ego at school even. Its cast members who sell the movies....and unsell the movies. Even family members can help unsell a movie.
Dont get me wrong. Eclipse still had some class in the cast. Bryce Dallas Howard, Xavier Samuel, Peter Facinelli & Jackson Rathbone were all awesome when they were seen around. Booboo Stewart, Jack Huston, Bronson Pelletier & Chaske Spencer were all great as well in the brief time I saw them.
But just like I said during New Moon, when I said I wouldnt see Twilight till Kristen changed her ways. I wont see Eclipse because of the attitudes shown by them here. I'll still go see New Moon. I have good memories of that experience. But Eclipse, no. Its sad for Xavier & Bryce that I wont get to see the film that they did here, the one that they made such a positive influence on me with. For that, they can thank others, namely Kristen Stewart, Summit Entertainment, Stephenie Meyer, Kellan Lutz, and to a lesser extend Nikki Reed & Elizabeth Reaser.
I absolutely hope they take Breaking Dawn to Portland. It will be a relief to not have it here. Dont be confused if it goes there either. Its NOT because of security/fans/paps because it will be considerably worse there obviously. It is because of the all mighty dollar. Which is fine, it is a business. But those of you who naively think the Twilight series is moving there because it will be calmer need to get your head checked. Anyone with an IQ higher than single digits & even a minor knowledge of Portland can tell you it will be far far far worse there with a region only about 1/2 the size of Vancouver, closer proximity to the stories roots, and closer proximity to Los Angeles, the media and fan attention on the area will be overwhelming for the cast. Just like when I told you all that Vancouver would be better than Italy, NYC & LA for their privacy, trust me when I tell you, Portland will NOT be better in that aspect. Its just not logically possible. But as we all know, Summit doesnt make decisions in the interest of their stars, they make it in the interest of their pocket book. Which like I said, is fine. it is a business after all. Too bad for them, their business model doesnt include a public relations course for the cast, that might help then sell the movie on possible fans on the fence. Its all fine & dandy to do a mall tour where the actors pretend for a couple hours. You should teach them how to pretend outside the mall as well. Thats where you actually do win over people. The ones lining up for 2+ hrs to see a star will likely go to see the movie regardless. The random encounter with someone at a hotel or restaurant on the other hand, those people likely have not made a commitment to see the movie & the stars can unsell the movie far easier than they can sell the movie to those same people.
I started off as not a fan of Twilight, I was won over by the cast of New Moon, and was alienated by the cast of Eclipse. This month, I will go to see the LAST Twilight movie I intend to see from the series.
I occasionally argue with inanimate objects, but I usually win. So its all good.