Ad Fidelity: 'Final Destination 5'

by Ray Subers
Final Destination 5

August 11, 2011

Editor's Note: Ad Fidelity is a new movie review feature that compares the core elements of a movie's marketing campaign with the reality of what's on screen. The purpose is to show whether or not a movie lives up to the promises of its advertising and to shed light on a movie's potential long-term playability.

Warner Bros.' marketing campaign for Final Destination 5 has focused on a bridge collapse disaster and death's inventive new kills while somewhat downplaying the importance of 3D. Check out how the movie aligns with those expectations:

Marketing: Events kick off with a bridge collapse sequence that rivals past Final Destination disasters in scope and execution.
Reality: While it probably ranks slightly below Final Destination 2's highway disaster, the bridge collapse in Final Destination 5 is definitely one of the best inciting incidents in the series and marks a huge step up from the NASCAR accident in the last movie. The nature of the collapse requires a suspension of disbelief, though that goes for the series as a whole, and at least each character is disposed of in a memorable and suitably gory way.

Marketing: Death has found a handful of clever new ways to kill these characters, with key scenes involving acupuncture, gymnastics and laser eye surgery.
Reality: Final Destination 5's best kills are also the ones featured most heavily in its marketing campaign, and the acupuncture and gymnastics scenes are particularly surprising and gruesome. One downside is that the deaths are less inventive later in the movie, though the final sequence is ballsy enough to compensate for that.

Marketing: While it was shot in 3D, the technology isn't a huge part of the reason to see Final Destination 5.
Reality: Warner Bros. has backed away from emphasizing 3D as Final Destination 5's release date approached, though the first trailer referenced that the movie was shot in 3D and the most recent poster featured the tagline "Death Has Never Been Closer." That's more a reaction to the supposed 3D backlash than the actual content of the movie, as 3D factors in significantly throughout. While it's dialed back during dialogue scenes, it cranks way up during the death sequences. The opening and closing credits also make pronounced use of the technology, and even the biggest 3D bashers (this reporter included) will be hard-pressed to hate too much on the execution here.

Box Office Implications: It's not going to win any awards, but Final Destination 5 marks a substantial step up from The Final Destination, and should hold on a bit better at the box office.

Final Destination 5
was screened at the premiere at the Grauman Chinese Theater in Hollywood on Wednesday, August 10. The crowd loudly cheered at the end of nearly all of the death sequences, though that's expected from a premiere audience.

Discuss 'Final Destination 5' on Facebook, Twitter, and in Box Office Mojo's forums.

Marketing Links:
Trailer #2
Trailer #1
Theatrical Poster
Teaser Poster

More Ad Fidelity:
'30 Minutes or Less'
'The Change-Up'
'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'

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