It is amazing the amount of money that Hollywood spends promoting its movies and public-relations efforts and it seems they spend more money on public-relations and community goodwill then they actually do in advertising or marketing. Public relations, publicity stunts and getting the actors to go on talk shows very much helps the movie industry promote their flicks. But, public relations for Hollywood movies are not as easy as it looks, in fact, if it is done incorrectly it can actually hurt the movie.
Of course the right amount of controversy also helps sell tickets as long as that controversy does not cross into taboo and thus causing boycotts from family type groups. Public relations specialists for Hollywood movies make much more money than their counterparts in other industries and it is a choice job.
The insiders in Hollywood know what it's all about and if they are able to promote the movie and get free publicity and public relations out properly, then they will win at the box office. Even if the film is not that good it still might reach the $50 million weekend mark simply through good public relations.