Saturday, November 19, 2005

Harry Potter and the Insidious Marketing Franchise

Harry Potter and the Something Or Another Whatever opened this weekend, thrilling Gen-Y geeks, nerds, and dweebs everywhere, as well as their poor geek, nerd, and dweeb children. Let's do a little math here: Thanks to the war in Iraq, increased oil prices, and the greedy bastards at Sony, movie tickets are now eleven dollars... times four movies so far, plus you need to bring a friend or two, so that's already between eighty and a hundred dollars donated to Warner Brothers. The books are like twenty bucks apiece — and you could borrow them from the library, but the waiting lists are so long your grandkids will be asking for the Harry Potter books by the time you get them in your hands — so that's another hundred and twenty dollars you've given to the corporate execs at Scholastic. Thirty dollars each for the DVD's, so there's another ninety out of your kid's college fund. And there's seven books in the series. Jeez, Rowling, why not fifty? Keep the kids sending you royalties till they're collecting social security.

I can see how some spoiled-ass kid (or some puerile adult without a budget in place) can easily spend over a thousand bucks on this Pottermania crap, considering all the merchandising, the special edition DVD's, the McDonald's Happy Meal tie-ins, the inevitable Harry Potter and the Great White Way Broadway musical starring Haley Joel Osment as Harry and Christy Carlson Romano as Hermione, the Official Harry Potter trivia game (I know people who own Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit or whatever it's called — it's an awesome game to play when you're stoned), the action figures, the collector's edition DVD's, and the special ten-year anniversary DVD's. I really need to get into this children's serialized fiction racket.

You see, now I feel bad too. I haven't spent a damn penny on any British children's lit since C. S. Lewis, back when I actually was a child, but I did read the first Harry Potter book, and I saw the first two movies, which were directed by hackmeister Chris Columbus. It's that last part that makes me feel guilty of crimes against art, since if I'm gonna... um... tolerate the work of the Hollywood prostitute who brought the world Mrs. Doubtfire and Bicentennial Man, I no longer have any excuse to avoid Alfonso CuarĂ³n's installment of the series. Here's what I'd do if I were world dictator: double feature — we put Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on second (in IMAX of course) but first we show Cuarón's brilliant Spanish-language erotic homosexual coming-of-age film Y Tu Mamá También, just to give the kids some culture. Besides, I'd feel like my eleven dollar ticket is worth it if I get to see parents covering their kids' eyes, plugging their ears, and generally freaking out about the awkward conversations sure to ensue.


Gary Freedman said...

Blogging is still free.

Jay said...

Or, if not Y Tu Mama Tambien (sp?) then what about 'La Fait Ignoranti'? Fantastic movie!