How A Kid's Movie Became A Hipster Happening

Spike Jonze: Check. Dave Eggers: Check. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Check. Where the Wild Things Are has all the ingredients to become the hipster equivalent of Star Wars. Writer Cliff Kuang talks about the bonanza of the cross-marketing.

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GUY RAZ, host:

So who exactly is going to see "Where the Wild Things Are?"

Mr. CLIFF KUANG (Writer): Well, I think the audience for the film certainly isn't children.

RAZ: That's Cliff Kuang. He lives in Brooklyn and he writes about culture, technology and art for publications like Fast Company.

Mr. KUANG: I think a lot of the marketing has been clearly directed to adults of a certain savvy, sort of city-centric set.

RAZ: So the people that they're sort of targeting are what, like the people who wear skinny jeans and American Apparel clothing and ride fixed-gear bicycles...

(Soundbite of laughter)

RAZ: ...you know, drink Pabst Blue Ribbon beer?

Mr. KUANG: Yeah. I think that that's probably fair. I mean if you look at things that have actually been done, the actual marketing attempts, it seems to have been a very methodical checklist of all the people that might know Spike Jonze or Dave Eggers. You know, you have the film score that was written by Karen O, she's of the indie band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

RAZ: Oh, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Yeah, we have that song.

(Soundbite of "All is Love")

KAREN O (Vocalist, Yeah Yeah Yeahs): (Singing) All is love, is love, is love…

RAZ: So what are some of the things that the production house has done to market this film?

Mr. KUANG: I think that they've released very, very limited edition clothing. Actually, it sort of a shopping mall affiliated with Urban Outfitters out in L.A. They installed a cave, basically (unintelligible)...

RAZ: And that's not for kids.

Mr. KUANG: ...props and things like that. No, I mean I don't think that you would find a kid looking for skinny jeans, necessarily…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. KUANG: ...at the store where this is located.

RAZ: Now, this movie has a budget of something like $90 million. Going to that sort of the hipster route might make sense for a small budget, indie film, right? Does it make sense here?

Mr. KUANG: Well, I don't think that any studio executive looking at that would have said, okay, sign me up. I think that they took a look at what they had and what they had was a movie that couldn't necessarily be sold to kids, unless you were really sort of stretching things. Although they have, to be fair, done some marketing to children, but they decided not to sort of push that too hard. Instead, they tried to go with their strength, which is the name recognition of the director, the writer.

RAZ: And is there sort of, you know, chat around the blogosphere about this film?

Mr. KUANG: Well, I think what's interesting is the marketing, by and large, seems to have been successful because I think that - I've read personally a lot of blogs post saying this movies seems to be too cool for me. And I've read other blog posts saying, you know, on style blogs and things like that, saying I really, really can't wait to see this movie.

RAZ: That's Cliff Kuang. He joined us from NPR New York.

Cliff, thanks for talking to us.

Mr. KUANG: Thank you.

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