I do not understand whence the sense of shock and outrage
about the AFI's top 100 American movies arises.
The purpose of the show seems to have been to generate
ratings for CBS and to polish its tarnished image--I hope
people noted the focus on the former annual screenings of
_The Wizard of Oz_ on CBS.  The strong ties between the
program and various sponsors made it clear that one of the
purposes was to reinforce current video rental habits and so
to encourage consumption along familiar patterns.  (The
press release I've attached below makes this clear.)
Are people surprised that the purpose was not to expand
people's tastes?  Or to affect them politically?  Are people
surprised that the results of what was apparently some kind
of survey ended up being aesthetically conservative?
Edward R. O'Neill
Thursday, March 12, 1998
                      TO PROMOTE 100 GREATEST MOVIES ON HOME
        -AFI Unveils Unprecedented Studio Collaboration In
Support of its Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of
                                          American Movies-
     LOS ANGELES Calif., Thursday, March 12, 1998 - The
American Film Institute (AFI), in conjunction with an
unprecedented coalition of the home video divisions of 13
film studios, today announced an  extraordinary
multi-million dollar video promotion to support its historic
100 Years...100 Movies celebration. This is the first time
in the history of the home video industry that the major
studios have joined together for a joint marketing effort.
     Supported by a wide range of promotional components
totaling more than $30 million, the centerpiece of AFI's 100
Years...100 Movies is the definitive selection of the 100
greatest American movies of all time by a blue-ribbon panel
of more than 1,500 leaders from the film community. The 100
greatest films will be revealed June 16 during a three-hour
primetime CBS special, followed by 10 one-hour specials on
TNT, which will reveal in greater depth why these 100 movies
are the greatest of all time.
     Also planned, is a film festival on Turner Classic
Movies of many of the 100 movies.
     AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies home video promotion is
being supported by Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox,
Disney, Miramax, Columbia/TriStar, MGM/UA, Paramount,
Universal, Polygram, HBO, Republic Pictures, LIVE
Entertainment and Orion. As a result of this first-time
cooperative effort, the studios are predicting significant
incremental sales of the video cassettes of these 100
greatest movies from their film libraries. The videos will
be released for sale and rental in stores immediately
following the June 16 CBS broadcast.
     "It is a remarkable achievement to have so many studios
join together in support of a program of this scope," said
AFI Board Chairman Tom Pollock. "That such an unprecedented
coalition has been successfully organized speaks to the role
that AFI plays within the entertainment community and on
behalf of this nation's film arts. This is the most
ambitious program in AFI's 30 years and we are most excited
about it because it will give America the opportunity to
discover and rediscover its greatest movies."
     The extensive marketing campaign for the 100
Years...100 Movies celebration includes the highly promoted
CBS and TNT network television specials, major print and
electronic advertising, corporate tie-ins, in-store
promotions, as well as a special collector's issue of
Newsweek dedicated to the centennial of movie-making with an
emphasis on AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies.
     Art: Themed artwork featuring visuals from the CBS and
TNT specials will carry over into point-of-sale elements to
enhance visibility of the 100 Years...100 Movies home video
campaign with consumers.
     Point-of-sale elements: Elements will include video box
stickers (pre-affixed to sell-through titles and additional
stickers in merchandising kits available directly from
studio sales representatives), banners, window clings,
posters, in-store loops, counter cards and shelf talkers.
After the June 16 announcement on CBS of America's greatest
100 movies, counter cards with tearsheets will be placed in
video stores listing the top 100 movies. This allows the
consumers to take home and review the list of these films,
generating interest in the 100 Years...100 Movies
celebration and driving increased rentals of these titles.
     An aggressive multi-million dollar advertising campaign
will be launched in support of the 100 Years...100 Movies
video promotion. The multi-faceted campaign will reach
consumers through extensive print advertising that will
include several two page spreads purchased in magazines such
as Newsweek, Premiere, People, TV Guide and Entertainment
Weekly. Just as extensive will be the support from
television advertising, which will air over a two month
period, June and July.
     On behalf of the participating studios, AFI has
retained Simon Marketing, a division of Cyrk Inc., to act as
its agency to create and coordinate a promotional plan as
well as to design and produce point of sale materials for
use by video retail stores in support AFI's 100 Years...100
Movies video promotion. In addition, Gene Silverman, the
former President and CEO of Polygram Video USA, is serving
as main consultant to AFI on this program.
     Celebrating its milestone 30th anniversary, AFI is the
national arts organization dedicated to advancing and
preserving the art of film, television and other forms of
the moving image. As part of its mission, AFI trains the
next generation of storytellers, focuses attention on the
need to preserve America's film heritage, explores new
technologies impacting the movies of tomorrow, and presents
the best of the film arts through its annual film festival
in Hollywood and its prestigious Life Achievement Award, the
highest honor given for a career in film.
     For Press Information, contact: Seth Oster at
Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite