His per­sonal life adds in­trigue

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

Pitt, any men­tion of him in­volves An­gelina Jolie and Al­lied co-star Mar­ion Cotil­lard, so this all is stirredd up andd mixed in with any nar­ra­tive with re­gards to the movie it­self.

“But will this have any ef­fect? It might ac­tu­ally help be­cause prob­a­bly more peo­ple will be in­ter­ested in the movie. This ad­di­tional level of per­sonal life adds in­trigue and just raises the aware­ness level and in­ter­est in Al­lied.”

The movie fol­lows Pitt, an in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer work­ing in North Africa, as he strikes up a re­la­tion­ship with a French re­sis­tance fighter (Cotil­lard).

Der­garabe­dian says as Pitt was cleared of child abuse claims and there is no ev­i­dence of an af­fair with Cotil­lard, it’s un­likely fans will be turned off.

He is also points to the huge success of Mr & Mrs Smith, re­leased af­ter Pitt left Jen­nifer Anis­ton to shack up with Jolie, fol­low­ing their on­set af­fair dur­ing the mak­ing of that film.

“Ev­ery­one wanted to see what the fuss was about be­cause of the per­sonal life of Brad Pitt and Jen­nifer Anis­ton and then along came An­gelina Jolie and that re­ally boosted that movie,” he says. “Peo­ple just wanted to see Jolie and Pitt on screen to­gether.” Mean­while, PR an­a­lyst Gerry McCusker ar­gues that con­tro­ver­sies are nei­ther good nor bad, it’s all about how they’re lever­aged in the client’s favour. De­scrib­ing the Pitt/Jolie/Cotil­lard events as a “soap opera in a PR re­lease” he says scan­dals no longer have such a last­ing impact on celebri­ties and a star of Pitt’s stature, in par­tic­u­lar, has enough pop­u­lar sup­port to with­stand neg­a­tive events. “The new me­dia land­scape is break­ing a cou­ple of the old rules and the con­cept of ‘shame’, as it ap­plies to rep­u­ta­tion, is less im­por­tant than it once was.” In Pitt’s case, McCusker spec­u­lates that his rel­a­tive silence and lim­ited press/ pro­mo­tional in­ter­views have been or­ches­trated to cap­i­talise on au­di­ence cu­rios­ity. “That cre­ates this Brad Pitt and (above) in Al­lied with co-star Mar­ion Cotil­lard. idea of in­trigue and gets peo­ple won­der­ing why. It’s con­tro­ver­sial not speak­ing to the press. Does he have some­thing to hide? Is he afraid he’s go­ing to say some­thing or break down? It’s us­ing con­tro­versy to lever­age the pub­lic be­lief that we’re part of these stars’ lives,” he says.

This fu­els au­di­ences to as­sess stars’ on-screen chem­istry, so we can see “what’s the smooch like and we can sit in the cin­ema with a choc top and say ‘I knew it’. ”

Box of­fice an­a­lyst Jeff Bock agrees au­di­ence cu­rios­ity will likely drive sales, but cau­tions that the film, from well-re­spected di­rec­tor Robert Ze­meckis, also needs to be good to suc­ceed and, even with Pitt in it, needs to open to rave re­views to see solid earn­ings.

“A lot of peo­ple would like to see him in this film and see how be­liev­able the love af­fair on screen is,” Bock says. “These things ob­vi­ously help mat­ters if it’s at­tached to a de­cent film ... Brad Pitt still gets his choice of A-list scripts, so it must have been pretty good.”

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