What is great movie marketing? Do we know it when we see it? Can it only be defined by the cold hard currency of box office dollars?
Over the past few years, Lionsgate has transformed a popular book series into one of the highest-grossing cinematic properties the world has ever seen. Was The Hunger Games series a "guaranteed" success? This humble enthusiast thinks not. Rather, a masters course in creative world-building and fan retention has given the dystopian saga a life even the impressive book series couldn't match. This, friends, is great movie marketing.
The latest clever twist is a brand new poster reveal (above) featuring Katniss Everdeen, The Mockingjay, gloriously posed with wings and armor as a symbol of the revolution against the oppressive Capitol. On the surface, this looks like your standard character poster. Sharp and eye-catching, yes, but nothing outside the realm of blockbuster imagery. But there's more to this than meets the eye.
As we covered about a month ago, Lionsgate has carefully hidden Katniss Everdeen from their marketing campaign for [The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1](movie:446261). The strategy? It has everything to do with anticipation-building.
Jennifer Lawrence is a uber-star, and now a Guinness World Record-holder as the highest-grossing action heroine EVER. Lionsgate knows what it has on its hands. As a collective unit, the Moviepilot team has waited with bated breath for the "Katniss reveal." How will she be shown to the world? How can District 13 position her as a symbol of hope, a reminder that the Capitol is not safe?
The more we waited, the greater the anticipation. Come last week's completely badass teaser poster (above), we were absolutely IN. Lionsgate hints at the darkness of this third chapter in The Hunger Games series. Katniss is clothed in black, more soldier than civilian. She's no longer the innocent pawn in the Capitol's cruel game. She's a fighter, and she's willing to be the rally symbol. "I AM. I WILL."
Now, with the release of the full Katniss poster, we get District 13's answer to the clever and subversive messaging from President Snow and the Capitol. Of course, we already got an awesome dose of that with Beetee's Capitol TV hack during one of Snow's addresses. But this is the cherry on top, the brave symbol amid a backdrop of flames, the reveal we've all been waiting for.
Talk about world-building...we've literally watched a war of propaganda and messaging play out between Capitol and rebellion. Both sides are tangible - places I feel I've visited before and cultures I feel like I know...remember Capitol Couture, for instance? Creative with every stroke, the Lionsgate brain trust has made the stakes feel real - they've inserted us into the war being waged. We're more than spectators to this; we're participants, minds that must be won over by one side or the other.
Though if you're siding with Snow and the Capitol, you might need to do some serious soul-searching. Is there a more evil face in movies than this one?
Kudos, Lionsgate. You've turned this moderate THG book fan into a die-hard THG movie-lover. Can't wait to see what you do next.