Marley & Me – The Dog Dies

Marley-Dies-1.jpgFor anyone who had read The Movie Blog for any length of time you know that I’m really sick of these pseudo “viral” marketing campaigns. I especially hated most of the ones for The Dark Knight. But wow… the studio’s newest viral campaign for the upcoming “Marley & Me“, staring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, is a pretty stupid one… because it gives away the ending of the movie (well… I can’t say for sure that it does since I’ve never read the book).

Here’s the background. I (a just about every other film webmaster) got an email from a girl named “Stephanie” with the images you see below, trying to pass herself off as just some random person sending out a news tips (clearly she’s with the studio or marketing company working for the studio). Her email ends with “This is going to be worse than when they shot Bambi’s mother.” Uh huh… yeah.

So obvisously these aren’t just random graffiti artists who have happened to read Marley & Me and are now wanting to spoil it for everyone. This is an organized marketing campaign by the studio. So if the dog really does die at the end of Marley and Me… what do you think about a studio putting out a marketing campaign that gives away the ending of the movie?

I mean… it is getting us talking about the movie… and I can assure you there probably wasn’t anything else that would get me talking about Marley & Me.

Your thoughts?




89 thoughts on “Marley & Me – The Dog Dies

  1. I don’t understand why it should be a shocker that the dog would die. Do people believe that hollyweird dogs magically live forever?

    Here’s another spoiler for you:
    The dog that originally played Benji…

    is dead.

  2. This isn’t a movie about death. It’s a movie about how great and fun life can be. This movie just really shows the circle of life and while it’s really sad it’s true. This is an awesome, funny movie and shouldn’t be attacked for the sad, emotional ending.

  3. Well, I have to say this: giving the ending away isn’t right, whether the graffiti was fake or not (I’m still having a hard time believing that the graffiti in the pictures was used as a marketing campaign). Marley dieing though, is something that people need to understand is a part of life. I can understand that people don’t like to see people/animals/any living thing die (especially before Christmas), but complaining about Marley dieing is simply being rude to Marley and John Grogan. It’s what John Grogan and his family went through in their lives (read the book – if you are mature – I highly recommend it).

    About children watching the movie, I think that if they see the movie, it’s important for the parents to teach their children about death. It’s a part of life, and it doesn’t have to be seen as bad. There’s dog heaven, remember? :) Live it happily , purely, and healthily, like Marley!

  4. do the fuckin dog die or wat ??????
    i have a 5 year old and 3 year old fuckin cry cuzzz they think that the dog is dead is it or not ???? for reli life
    from liilll

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  7. seeing a dog die is really sad because a lot of people have dogs out there some were and it makes them cry especially for me becuse i hav a lot of dogs in my family.

  8. I think that whoever did this is full of it. It spoils the ending for anyone else watching the movie. I just finished the movie and it shocked me that Marley really does die at the end. My younger brother (age 4), my younger sister (age 11), and myself cried at the end of the movie. What a crappy way to end such and awesome movie. May you rest in peace Marley.

  9. For those parents out there who are so disappointed about the movie, GROW UP! A dog can live and die just like a human, IT’S ALL PART OF LIFE! If you didn’t want your kids to watch it then you should have read the book review since it did come out before the movie did and just so you know, Marley dies either way. The movie was based on a TRUE STORY so you can’t change it and if you are so delicate with your kids then you need to teach them that life has happy ending but when someone moves on and goes to heaven, we all mourn and keep moving forward. I’m a sensitive person and I cried too, my 3 year old twin cousins cried too but they knew that Marley is now in a better place and even though Marley is gone, they actually taught them something in life, to treasure the people you love cause even though they are not there with you physically, they are there with you in your heart.

    This was a great movie and it’s a family film because we go through happy times and bad times but we get through them together. So stop crying and make your kids stronger, cause you don’t know how the Grogans suffered when they lost the dog that taught them how to LIVE life!

  10. it has to be graffiti. those were obviously done by the same person. capital DO little g? exact same writing? they couldn’t have just mass printed it like that or you’d be able to tell on the glass covered one. this is just the same thing as that guy who drove past the harry potter opening screaming “dumbledore dies”. get over it.

  11. “Now, name a movie where the dog has a role in the move and it lives….. I can’t think of one. But, if you can, the odds still suck. Or it’s a benji movie and the movie sucks.”

    Yes, the Movie is “MASK” with Jim Carey

  12. my,friend molly just went to the movie,she cried.i dont know what wappens in the movie,but i hear from her the rest of the movie was great.
    he eats a necklace,LOL,boy,i wish i saw that movie,and,who would want to spoil a movie!?i wanted to se it,but now I DONT! god dam graphitey persons! i heard it was the aluminatis fault! lets start a riet,a riet. lets start a riet,a riet.LETS START A RIET,A RIET listen to that dam song and you will feel better

  13. Odd. I’ve been thinking of seeing this film. My nephew is being taken to it by his mom. He has a puppy. I heard all the “bring a hanky” warnings yet when I was at a multiplex and Marley was letting out at the same time as my film, I noticed a bunch of kids in the crowd and none seemed to be devastated. Maybe all the weepers were staying thru the credits. Anyway, I asked an older woman and her friend about the hanky business. She didn’t say that the dog died but she did say small children should not be taken to the film. She wouldn’t take her granddaughter. Not sure what to think now.

  14. I have not read the book but the movie is excellent, even knowing what the ending is. Many people gave away the ending to the Last Harry Potter Book. Even if it is them the movie sold out every showing in my theater that I work at. HA

  15. Wow, MEQMIKE, you’re the one sounding like a drama queen.I am neither a sicko nor a creep, but I’ve seen plenty of dramas – some reality-based – that were darned good movies. Marley & Me was OK, and I’m pretty sure it has already made big money. If it’s not your type of flick, skip it. That’s why they make chocolate and vanilla.

  16. “What I can’t deal with is that they dragged out this dog’s death for the final 30 minutes of the film.” that comment (by Mike) is so true.

    “I would have never thought that all 3 of us would be in tears at the end. It was horrible!! I” (by Cindy) is right on.

    Hollywood is just plain sick.
    Why do they do this crap.
    Are Americans all Drama Queens?
    Frankly, real life has enough drama in it. Why do you want to see a sad story OR one that ends on a sad note.
    A Dog Dies is not happy, I don’t care how you attempt to rationalize it from a ART standpoint…PERIOD.

    Wise up Hollywood every time you make a HAPPY monvie with a HAPPY ending you make money, usually big money.

    If you cater to sicko, Jeffrey Dahmer-type, creeps that love to see movies based on loss and heart wrenching drama you are poised to go the way of the New York Times.

  17. “What I can’t deal with is that they dragged out this dog’s death for the final 30 minutes of the film.” that comment (by Mike) is so true.

    “I would have never thought that all 3 of us would be in tears at the end. It was horrible!! I” (by Cindy) is right on.

    Hollywood is just plain sick.
    Why do they do this crap.
    Are Americans all Drama Queens?
    Frankly, real life has enough drama in it. Why do you want to see a sad story OR one that ends on a sad note.
    A Dog Dies is not happy, I don’t care how you attempt to rationalize it from a ART standpoint…PERIOD.

    Wise up Hollywood every time you make a HAPPY monvie with a HAPPY ending you make money, usually big money.

    If you cater to sicko, Jeffrey Dahmer-type, creeps that love to see movies based on loss and heart wrenching drama you are poised to go the way of the New York Times.

  18. Just a point – Marley is a he. Both my kids, 6 and 10, were fine. They were sad, but the whole way home in the car, they talked about the funny things Marley did and what made them laugh in the movie. I thought the movie was OK, a little drawn out in places. More funny Marley moments would have speeded things up a bit.

  19. CindyL, my kids also cried (a lot) after the show. I also feel “tricked” into seeing this movie. We all thought it was going to be very funny and a nice Christmas-time movie. It was funny for 80% of the movie, then it hits you like a ton of bricks…nothing funny anymore…and then drags you for 30 minutes. We also considered leaving, but stayed because when you thought Marley would die, she didn’t. So we thought there was a happy ending near. Should’ve known!

    Shame on Fox for marketing this movie to trick families into seeing it.

  20. Ruin it for kids? Trust me, I wish I would have researched this film more before taking my family to see it. I had no clue that Marley dies, and if she does, then I can deal with it since it’s based on true events. What I can’t deal with is that they dragged out this dog’s death for the final 30 minutes of the film. Call me sentimental, but anyone that’s ever held their family dog while it’s put to sleep doesn’t want to relive the moment.

    This film was marketed as a funny family movie, and yet the use the final 30 minutes to relay to the audience a slow death for Marley. You are led to believe that Marley will die 3 separate times in the movie. Each time, the audience (which consisted of many small children) reacted and cried, but then Marley didn’t die…until finally on the 2nd trip to the Vet’s office, she is put to sleep. That’s it…no new puppy introduced to the family, nothing. Marley dies, some sad words are said, and credits roll.

    People left the theater crying (for maybe the 3rd or 4th time), and one small girl (maybe 6) told her mom she did not like the movie as they both exited the theater crying.

  21. Chris, that was excellent.
    Heading out now to see the movie with my two kids. They are actually aware that dogs die. Heck, they even know people die. And they know the real Marley died a long time ago of old age. Will we all cry? I have no doubt. Then again, I cry every time Ray Kinsella plays catch with his Dad.

  22. Jack dies of hypothermia.
    Jenny dies of AIDS and Momma dies of cancer.
    Jesus dies but then lives again.
    Malcolm was dead all along.
    Norman had his dead mother in his basement.
    Private Ryan lives.
    Dorothy makes it back to Kansas.
    ET makes it home.
    Marty makes it back to 1985.
    Clarence gets his wings.
    James Bond gets the girl.
    Rod Tidwell gets the money.
    Ray Kinsella plays catch with his dad.
    Roy Hobbs plays catch with his son.
    Indiana Jones finds the Ark.
    And the Holy Grail.
    The Von Trapp family escapes to Switzerland.
    Andy escapes Shawshank.
    The Planet of the Apes is just Earth many years later.
    Seabiscuit wins.
    So does Daniel LaRusso.
    The Cleveland Indians suck at first but then they win in the end… twice.
    Rockford loses to Racine in the World Series.
    John Nash wins a Nobel Prize.
    Charlie wins the chocolate factory.
    Rocky wins. Then loses. Then wins. Then Apollo dies and Rocky goes to Russia and wins again. Then he becomes an arm wrestling truck driver. Or something like that.
    Rudy gets to play.
    So do the Bears.
    Frodo destroys the ring.
    They find Nemo.
    They shoot Old Yeller.
    Princess Fiona becomes an ogre.
    The Beast becomes a human.
    Darth Vader is Luke’s father.
    Verbal Kint is Keyser Söze.
    Neo is the one.
    Soylent Green is people!
    Rhett leaves Scarlett.
    Rosebud was a sled.

  23. I told a female friend I would go and see this. She had just bought a lab puppy. A friend who had read the book tipped me off about the ending. Now I’m not gonna go. I don’t wanna see it die….especially at Christmas.

  24. I just wanted to find somewhere where I could let at least one person who has kids know —
    Do not let them see it. My daughter cried the entire ride home from this movie last night. We just got our first dog, a golden retriever, this past spring who has become a part of our family in a much stronger way that we had ever imagined. So we went to see this after seeing the hilarious trailers and expected to see a sweet, humorous movie on Christmas Day. I would have never thought that all 3 of us would be in tears at the end. It was horrible!! I absolutely LOVED about 90% of the movie – it was great, especially if you can relate to one of these creatures! BUT, I wish I could warn families — it is heartwrenching beyond belief! Please don’t let your little ones go through what mine did. It was SO, SO sad.
    And I thought later, could we have just walked out and tried to miss all of that bad ending? But really, you couldn’t. Because you’re sitting ther waiting for the movie to redeem itself, hoping for one small bit of happiness to make it all better in the end before you get up and walk out. And it just didn’t happen. I know many people who don’t have dogs at home waiting for them maybe won’t relate to what I’m saying, but if you do, or if you have ever lost a dog, DON’T see it. It will only rip your heart out!
    Even my husband cried!

  25. >BLAH BLAH
    Now, name a movie where the dog has a role in the move and it lives….. I can’t think of one.

    K9. There is drama that you think he’s gunna die, but he doesn’t.
    The dogs should never die in movies.. They should be the ones burying their owners. Like Puppy Highlander. You have the scottish ones (Terriers), the German ones (Sheps), the bad accent ones (uhh..)… Just like Highlander!

  26. For some reason this does not seem like a studio funded viral marketing campaign, it just doesn’t make sense to me. Yes, viral/guerrilla marketing is supposed to create buzz and stir up some sort of controversy (which I guess it has done, since I’m writing this post), but this doesn’t seem to have any relevance to the movie, to general media campaign or the target audience.

    See the rest of my thoughts here…

  27. Thanks for the info. I will not go to this movie either – or let my kids see it.
    Won’t rent it either. Don’t want my kids crying over a movie and having to explain to them why the dog died while I’m crying over the movie myself.

    The dog lives in K-9 (i think that’s the name of the movie) with Jim Belushi.

  28. @JOHN, I hope you’re right, but we’ll wait to see. I’ve got a little boy here who LOVES dogs, and the last thing my husband and I are going to take him (we being the chosen demographic, due to the release date and the rating) to see is a movie where a dog dies at the end, leaving us with a weeping little boy over the holiday season.

  29. Book to movie is always a tough transition. Holiday movie + dogs + we all know the ending means we’ll probably see Marley in the senior years and not dead. Everybody is happy…

    I think marley needs a profile at so we can follow. Can’t wait for the movie!

  30. They like to kill dogs in movies, that is the what people are reacting to… have you thought about how many dogs have been killed in moves… old yeller, american psyco, turner and hooch, where the red fern grows.

    Now, name a movie where the dog has a role in the move and it lives….. I can’t think of one. But, if you can, the odds still suck. Or it’s a benji movie and the movie sucks.

    So, name a movie, where the dog is a character that matters and it lives and the move was good. Please let me know. I live movies and dogs and they don’t seem to go together well.

  31. They have made this movie into children’s story books, if the dog dies at the end, everyone would tell their friends not to take their kids. Also, they would not have any way to make a second one. In the end, it is all about money remember?

  32. The dog dies from old age complications. They bury it in the back yard between some trees, with the sun shining through, balh blah blah blah….

    Unfortunately, while digging the hole they hit a gas main and the resulting explosion kills the whole family. (I made that last part up, but the dog does die in the end..)

    Anyway, they should have gotten that stupid mutt a shock collar at the beginning of chapter one, he was totally out of control.

  33. Interesting theory, John…who else would have access to email addresses for contacts at every movie site?

    And it seems a bit of a stretch to me that some random protester would know that the film’s distributor is “20th Century Fox” – and that this random person would know exactly how to spell the studio’s name (“20th” instead of “Twentieth” and no dashes).

  34. I just don’t get it. I read the book… It’s heartwarming and anyone who has ever had a puppy that was an important part of their life will understand where the book is coming from. Yes the dog dies,but from old age, not some crazy hit and run or snapping its neckbecause its becoming zombie-fied. I can’t watch the trailer without tearing up to be honest. This whole so called viral marketing doesn’t fit in with the spirit of the movie or the book. It was badly done if it was marketed that way and if it was someone who didn’t want young children to see it then sheesh. It’s a better ending than old yeller. The story is about the dog, but its also on how the dog helped them to become a family through good times and bad. And at Larson above, seriously wow man… Don’t go spouting off about stuff you don’t know.

  35. This could be a GREAT idea. We all know that Bond will survive no matter what, and that doesn’t soil the movie. If you consider taking your kids to see Marley & Me you might be glad for the heads up. Not everyone wants to confront their young ones with death.

  36. thanks a lot john. Im pretty sure those advertisements are vandalized, with the criminal spoiling the movie for people.

    Other websites showed these pictures but with the spoiler/vandalism blurred out as to not ruin the end for someone like me who hasnt read the book and who will probably end up seeing this with his family.


  37. It’s not a viral marketing scheme. It’s just graffiti. Great graffiti at that, telling people that the movie isn’t just some sweet comedy crap, it’s also a tearjerker, being released on Christmas. Last thing I need to to see on Christmas day is a dog dying.

  38. I’ve never read the book and I already knew the dog died. Which is partially why I didn’t plan on seeing the movie anyway.

    This “campaign” comes off as very contrived and kind of pointless. Kinda reminds me of the dicks in line at Borders yelling about Dumbledore when the 6th Harry Potter book came out.

  39. John:

    Could you please explain again why u hated the Dark Knight “viral campaign”??

    I seem to remember you were mad because it wasnt actually “viral”

    Was it just the name that you didnt like.? or was it all the websites and clues etc..?

    I personally loved all of it..especially the fake news shows with Micheal C. Hall

    explain if possible

    Oh BTW…the Marley and me stuff is just stupid

  40. since my offensive comment towards larson will get deleted hence the profanity^^^^^^ ill rewrite it

    @ larson
    the book ends with the dog dying. i know this because i read it dude. chill out

    and thanx sean

    but i think that everyone knows that the dog dies..i mean who hasnt read it or heard from someone yet? but ti does suck for those other unlucky few that want to read it, and then see this poster…and..end up watching it

  41. The point with the marketing program is that they are going for the family angle, instead of the ROM-COM angle. Since most children won’t have seen the marketing, or at least let it sink in, the parents will realize that they can have a family atmosphere and maybe teach the kids a thing or two.

    This marketing might be effective, and it also gives the studio an “out” if it doesn’t work. Studio Executive in Jan 2009: “Marley and Me flopped because our marketing was really stupid”.

    Anyone remember Old Yeller? Granted they didn’t give away the ending!

  42. I wish I hadn’t seen this post. I do think you should have put up a possible spoiler warning. I haven’t read the book, but I know I will end up seeing the movie because my family wants to see it. This would be the dumbest advertising campaign I can think of if that is what it is. I actually enjoyed the Dark Knight ones, but this one is just a bad idea.

  43. I love viral marketing. I don’t think Cloverfield would have made a dime without the spectacular marketing team it had (even though I loved the movie). I am not so sure about this, though. It is outside the box, as much as I detest that cliche, but the trailer was crap, and now the dog dies, I’m not sure exactly who would go see it. I mean, you can’t kill the dog, that leaves you with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Anniston (some would say that IS the dog) and that’s not a combo anyone wants to see.

  44. Looking at the Wiki plot summary of the book, yes there is death, but if they do the epilogue like the book does, there is also the potential for life as well, so it all depends where the studio determines to end the movie, or if like “I Am Legend”, totally go off script, end the movie nothing like the book, and have Marley, I don’t know, actually be a female and die while giving birth to puppies, something feel good like that. But then again, this Christmas we are seeing a movie open about a plot to kill Hitler, so why not kill the spirit of Christmas with a dog dying movie

  45. @J

    thats john for ya LOL

    there are those that dont mind spoilers and well according to john since it has jennifer aniston in it, that means it will most likely suck

  46. It’s poor judgment.

    1) In most Hollywood pix, kill a dozen men in cold blood, nobody bats an eye. If the mutt dies, the lynch mob starts to form.

    2) People don’t like spoilers, even if they read the novel.

    3) The film better not suck and it better not fail. If either takes place, the “dog” is dead alright….this dog is dead.

  47. Good God Joker, what have you started? I can’t wait for the ones for ‘The Spirit’:

    “Seriously, i’m a good film people”

    or ‘Punisher: Warzone’:

    “Why the fuck won’t you see me?”

  48. Haven’t read the book…wasn’t interested in seeing the film when the teaser trailer came out, but when I viewed the long one, I changed my mind…but it seems to me that the story’s not about the dog. The dog is the means by which we see the passage of time in this couple’s lives, how they go from young couple to family. So it never was ‘a film about a puppy’. THAT part of the trailers was typically manipulative. So I’m actually nodding a bit at this. I don’t like viral marketing (it speaks to the extraordinarily short attention span of those it targets, as well as their innate fickleness), but I’m glad this one has a different spin to it. It shows that someone’s thinking outside the box. I congratulate all those involved. In a tough market, you have to use your marketing dollars as creatively as you can. We don’t live in an ‘Old Yeller’ world anymore.

    1. I am completely agree with you… Really i like that movie… It is the movie of a family and puppy(dog) is just a part of it… and that is the funny part of it.

  49. @Larson – Dude, how stupid are YOU? That is how the book ends. Moron. Look stuff up before shooting off your mouth and talking shit to other people.

  50. How stupid are you?
    If it’s viral marketing (as you pointed out), it’s obviously not the real ending. Seriously, how stupid are you.

    Anyway, great stuff. Love viral marketing and that’s awesome too.

  51. It’s funny that you call it an obvious viral marketing scheme, because I never would have suspected that, let alone called it transparent. But what an interesting question.

    This certainly doesn’t make me more interested in seeing the movie. It might be a good story, but now there won’t be any suspense. The people who WERE going to see it were families with kids who want to see a cute puppy movie on christmas. This probably erodes away at that demographic (well, it’s not clear how many of them will hear about this). I’m sure it teaches a very valuable lesson at the end, so families who recognize that might choose to see it after this…

    If it’s an intentional viral campaign, it seems pretty stupid. Maybe it’ll inspire fans of the book to see it out of fear that no one else will.

  52. its not a film that i give a shit about, but hell im sure there are people out there that do, and its actually sad to know there are people out there that have no lives and have to spoil that kind of shit for kids and others who want to see it.

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