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Summit Entertainment has a tough sell on their hands this Fall. No, it's not convincing fans to see the final installment of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn" (hardly). Instead, they have the long awaited adaptation of Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being A Wallflower" to market to the masses. If you were to watch the "Perks" trailer you might assume the picture is just for young adults or teenagers. Shoot, check out any stills from the movie and it looks like yet another "teen movie." To assume so would be a huge mistake.
As Kris Tapley noted in his post last week, "Perks" is a "unique if still somewhat familiar take on the [high school wallflower] genre" that features superb direction from Chbowsky and awards-worthy performances from Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller. One could actually argue the film will play better with older audiences who have the life experience to understand how much and how little the events matter in the long run to these characters. The fact Chbosky, who wrote the novel over a decade ago, is the guiding hand directing the drama makes the late 80's period piece more eloquent and moving than if a standard commercial director was at the wheel. Thank heaven he fought to make it himself.
So, here we have a fantastic film that (likely) plays better with adults and cinephiles, but should also appeal - in theory - to youngsters. Therefore, in order for to achieve the best case financial scenario, Summit is having to walk a fine line with marketing directed at the more regular movie going audience (under 25's) while hoping critics and word-of-mouth from its Toronto Film Festival debut entice the over 25 crowd to roll in. The studio is also platforming the picture to play on the expected positive reviews. It's not an easy game to play and you can bet many of their peers across Hollywood have sympathy for them having been in similar situations themselves.
As the summer ends, Summit has slowly been trickling out a few clips from the picture which give you a taste of the film's tone. The latest, which debuted on MTV, is a heartbreaking moment where high school seniors Patrick (Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson) discover how lonely and friendless their new discovery Charlie (a superb Logan Lerman) has been. Clearly, this is not a teen flick in the Miley Cyrus or Disney "Prom" mode. Check out the new clip below. This is likely one "Wallflower" that we'll be talking about for a while.
"Perks of Being a Wallflower" opens in New York and Los Angeles on Sept. 21.