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American Psycho Doc

American Psycho Doc

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Published by Dale Luck

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Published by: Dale Luck on Dec 10, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Dale Luck

American Psycho Film Research

AS Media Studies




Mary Harron


Joseph Drake Christian Halsey Solomon Chris Hanley Michael Paseornek Edward R. Pressman Jeff Sackman


Mary Harron Guinevere Turner Bret Easton Ellis (original novel)




Lions Gate Films


Christian Bale Willem Dafoe Reese Witherspoon Chloe Sevigny Jared Leto Justin Theroux Josh Lucas


$ 7,000,000

Gross Revenue

$ 34,266,564


Dale Luck

American Psycho Film Research

AS Media Studies

During the production of American Psycho, a viral marketing campaign was done based on characters and events and the like from the novel. People could sign up to receive letters from the film s main character, Patrick Bateman, which were written as if from his character to his therapist, and followed the events of the character after the events of the movie took place. These e-mails were written by the writer attached to the film, and approved by the original novel s writer Bret Easton Ellis. Christian Bale, the actor who played Patrick Bateman in the film, had this to say about the marketing:

My main objection is that some people think it will be me returning those e-mails. I don t like that I think the movie stands on its own merits and should attract an audience that can appreciate intelligent satire. It s not a slasher flick, but it s also not American Pie. The marketing should reflect that. -(Actor) Christian Bale -

Lions Gate Films, the distributor, also spent around $50,000 on the production of a game entitled Make a killing with American Psycho, in which the player would use fake money to invest in films, actors or musicians. Despite it statistically not doing much for the film s box office, the studio s copresident Tom Ortenberg still claimed that it was a success:

The aim was to gain exposure and awareness for the picture, and we did that. Lions Gate will make a tidy profit on the picture. - (Co-President of Lions Gate) Tom Ortenberg -

Personally, I think there are some problems with both of these marketing campaigns that could have potentially damaged their viewing figures. For one, neither of these seems to have any draw for the user the e-mails, whilst relating to the characters of the film and novel, are set after the film, thus somewhat alienating those who have either not seen the film or read the novel, and the game seems to have no relation for the main actions of Patrick Bateman. If anything, it could push people from viewing the film due to its potential boredom they could relate the investment-style gameplay to what s in the film and not like it at all, thus making them not want to go see it. Christian Bale kind of hit the nail on the head when he said The marketing should reflect [the film itself] .


Dale Luck

American Psycho Film Research

AS Media Studies

Mary Harron, the director of American Psycho, who had previously worked on the film I Shot Andy Warhol, co-wrote the screenplay for the film with Guinevere Turner. Three other screenplays were considered, even one that was written by the original author (Bret Easton Ellis), but the one Harron and Turner wrote was decided on in the end. Bret Easton Ellis only complaint with the film was the moonwalk that the character Patrick Bateman does before killing Paul Allen. What contributed to the fact that Ellis liked this script above all of the others is the fact that most of the lines, including the voiceovers, were taken almost verbatim from the novel that he wrote. However, for some reason, some of the names from the novel were also changed, such as the character of Paul Owen becoming Paul Allen, and the character of Tim Price becoming Tim Bryce. The real-life Paul Allen is said to have absolutely no relation to the character within the film, despite having essentially the same name and occupation. Due to several characters in the novel being mainly there as cameos from Ellis other titles, such as Rules of Attraction, which has Patrick s brother in, their characters were removed entirely from the film adaptation for example, in the novel, Patrick s brother is in one of the chapters, but due to it having no relation elsewhere in the novel, his character was removed entirely from the film. The character of Patrick Bateman was first set to be played by a few other people, including Leonardo DiCaprio, but after Gloria Steinem lobbied DiCaprio on how his fanbase was now almost entirely teenage girls due to his recent part in Titanic, he dropped out, and Christian Bale returned to the role. A lot of the novel s storyline was missed out when deciding to produce the film, due to its fairly graphic nature various murder scenes and the like have been excluded, in order to make the film acceptable and not a gore fest . Generally, novels can get away with a lot more than films can. Christian Bale, in order to have the correct physique for the role of Patrick Bateman, spent several months prior to production working out by himself, and then during pre-production spent three hours a day with a trainer.


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