The Marketing of Controversy

In the past few months, two of the most successful films in history have also been two of the most controversial. In fact, major controversy is just about the only thing that Mel Gibson’s bloody biopic of Jesus and Michael Moore’s brutal indictment of the Bush administration have in common. But Gibson and Moore have both tapped into a marketing concept that took Hollywood completely by surprise, yet seems like a no-brainer in retrospect: controversy sells, and you can’t let too many facts get in the way of a good story or the profits a good story will bring.