Welcome to Moviepilot's Marketing Spotlight, our weekly look at which marketing campaigns are doing it right. In the world of entertainment, the marketing of a movie or TV series can be as important as the production itself. A good promo campaign can mean the difference between a hit and a flop, but a putting together a smart campaign is harder than it looks.
Here are the great pieces of marketing from this past week, December 27-January 2.
Deadpool (20th Century Fox)
I'd be remiss if I didn't start this list out with Fox's marketing for Deadpool and a nod to what it did over the holidays. So far, the campaign hasn't missed a single beat and has both completely grasped and embraced the weirdness that is Wade Wilson.
The "12 Days of Deadpool" campaign that lead up to a new trailer release on Christmas was just brilliant, and catered to Deadpool's younger, internet-savvy audience, with a new tidbit being released for eleven days in a row, each on a different website. The campaign married the usual promo material, such as movie posters, with the truly fun, such as Deadpool's hand-drawn battle plan and his notes on the script.
It all culminated in the release of the second trailer for the film in both red and green band, which featured a lot more storyline and character development than the first - and a lot more fourth wall breaking from Wade Wilson. It was hilarious and profane and absolutely showed that Fox just gets what Deadpool is all about.
Plus, the 12 Days of Deadpool campaign was a great way to keep the Deadpool hype going through the traditionally slow holiday season, even in the wake of the Star Wars juggernaut. If the box office matches the goodwill this film has already built up, Fox could be looking at a monster-sized hit on its hands come February.
Deadpool is in theaters on February 12.
The Revenant (20th Century Fox)
Fox continues its smart marketing with Alejandro Iñárritu's The Revenant, which is making a case for itself and lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio for the upcoming Academy Awards.
From the start of it's campaign, it has hit on two points consistently: that it's based on a true story (something that Oscar voters seem to eat up) and that DiCaprio's acting and Iñárritu's filmmaking are a tour-de-force, mostly because the film was exceptionally hard to make and the filming brutal on both cast and crew.
It's smart: DiCaprio is a name that consistently gets people into theater seats, and the thought of watching DiCaprio in a movie in which he was subjected to brutal conditions, from filming in subzero temperatures to sleeping in actual animal carcasses to having to eat raw bison liver as a staunch vegetarian? Even better. The "bear rape" rumor that circulated a month ago certainly didn't hurt curiosity any, either. DiCaprio is one of those rare actors who appeals to both a younger and older audience, and the marketing campaign has managed to balance both "Oscar-worthy" for higher brow audiences with "brutally real true story, you guys" for a less discerning audience.
If it pays off, it very well could garner DiCaprio his first Oscar nomination, long-sought, and Iñárritu his second Academy Award in a row for Best Director.
The Revenant is in theaters on January 8.
The Forest (Focus Features)
The marketing campaign for The Forest has been straightforward about how it's trying to frame the movie: It's based on a real, supposedly haunted place and it's a horror movie. While the approach may seem simplistic to other movie marketing campaigns out there, the reality is that you don't need much more to market a horror film.
"Based on a true story" is an angle that always appeals to audiences, and it's particularly compelling when the true story behind a film is one of the gruesome, supernatural, or horrific. To that end, Gramercy has been heavily relying on the setting of Aokigahara Forest, also known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees, and its real-life reputation as being a popular place for people to commit suicide and haunted by the ghosts of those who killed themselves among its spooky foliage. So much so that it could be said the Suicide Forest is the real star of the movie, all due respect to lead Natalie Dormer.
For the horror-loving audience that hasn't had a good ghost story hit theaters in a while, it should be enough to make back its relatively small budget and then some.
The Forest is in theaters on January 8.