On January 19th, 1996 Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and company unleashed an insane film on the world, and I felt lucky to be the perfect age to stroll up to a theater and plunk down my $5 for a matinee screening of From Dusk Till Dawn. I was six months out of high school, working nights on my first job (at a grocery store), so walking into an early Friday afternoon screening on opening day was a no-brainer. This was also a time in my life when I was first actively gorging myself on film, watching everything I could get my hands on and of the at-the-time crop of filmmakers, Rodriguez and Tarantino were two of my favorites.
So in honor of finally covering this crazy film at the Cult Film Club, lets take a second to scope some of the newspaper ads for the film from back in 1996, like this full-page ad from The New York Times on January 19th…
I love this ad because even though it more fully succumbs to the floating design than the official movie poster, it features Juliette Lewis and Harvey Keitel (though I don’t think that shot of Harvey is actually from this flick.) This is also a rare variation where Quentin Tarantino’s Richie is also pointing his gun at the audience like Clooney’s Seth Gecko, something I didn’t see in any of the other FDTD ads in other papers. But this is not the only weird New York Times gun-variant ad, as the piece that ran in the paper a couple of days later on January 21st doubles the guns!
The ad below is from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, also from January 19th. While digging for ads this was the most common one I found in papers, small rectangle with the same pull quote from ABC Radio Network and the simplified art centered on just Clooney. It’s been my experience that papers typically don’t run many horror movie ads. The New York Times does, and some of the regional papers do, but they’re few and far between, and usually fairly tame. I think that’s why I kept seeing this version of the ad, it was small and could easily be mistaken for a straight up action film.
The next ad is also from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but in a strange turn, the ad was larger and featured more of the movie poster imagery. My guess is that the big opening (for a horror movie) shifted the ad buy in the second week. This ran on January 26th, 1996.
When looking for ads for these Now Playing posts, I like to find examples of theaters that ran a bunch of ads together to get a feel for what the movie-going experience was like in any particular weekend. Here’s an example from the Lawrence World Journal from January 19th. Would you be buying tickets to From Dusk Till Dawn or Dunston Checks In? Talk about Sophie’s Choice!
Last up, for the ads anyway, is this small snippet from the Tuskalusa News that ran on January 17th, 1996, and is an example of an ad that ran before the opening day.
And for those curious what the reviews for the film were like, here’s one from The New York Time’s Janet Maslin. You can tell she wanted to like it, but it just wasn’t her cup of tea. That said, she kept it pretty even handed, which is rare in the film review business…