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, January 25-31.
Pride + Prejudice + Zombies (Sony Pictures)
Sony's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies feels like it's been in varying stages of development hell and production forever, but the quirky movie adapted from Seth Grahame-Smith's parody novel of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice is finally seeing the light of theaters this weekend.
The marketing has played up the "chicks kick ass" angle, and rightfully so - the Grahame-Smith novel is a parody of a satire about a woman's role in proper Victorian society, and hoping to ride the wave of independent women fully capable of ruthlessness that's found a foothold in the last year or so in entertainment. The first official trailer played to this, with a soundtrack of a slow, sweeping song crooned by a sultry female voice (in this case, "Born to be Wild" by J2 featuring Blu Holliday) that's become so ubiquitous in trailers for female-led movies and television series. Any movie that has Lena Headey in an eyepatch is guaranteed to have no shortage of women able to handle. their. business.
But the other trailers and clips have shown enough gore and high-intensity action to appeal to a male audience, as well. As we've seen with the success of the Hunger Games franchise, for example, movies with women in the lead tend to do very well across all demographics, provided the story is good. And with the story being a geeky mashup of the modern and the classic, the movie has a chance to be a sleeper hit with fans immersed in geek culture.
Pride + Prejudice + Zombies is in theaters on Friday, February 5th.
The Choice (Lionsgate)
With any movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, the marketing adage is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Lionsgate's The Choice, hitting theaters this week, is adhering directly to this idea. Nicholas Sparks (and the movies based on his novels) might be the master of "white people almost kissing," but hey, it's a famously-memed approach that works.
In other words, there's not been much by way of innovation from the marketing campaign, but there doesn't need to be. It's a formula that's tried and true: Take two pretty, straight white characters, make sure the actors playing them aren't yet household names so you can keep the budget low, have them fall madly in love, then pull the rug out from under them by putting them in an impossibly heartwrenching situation. The audience will come: namely the slightly older, female audience upon which traditional romances and Nicholas Sparks adaptations thrive. It's not groundbreaking, but it works, and should be enough for The Choice to have a modestly successful opening.
The Choice is in theaters on Friday, February 5th.
Hail, Caesar! (Universal Pictures)
In our age of character-driven marketing, it's refreshing to see that the marketing campaign for Universal's [Hail, Caesar!](tag:1199743) has relied solely on the star power of its cast as well as directors Joel & Ethan Cohen, who are about as respected as you can get within the industry for producing quality films to which great actors want to be attached.
Once again, the Coens are working with their muse, George Clooney, and he's front in center of the marketing campaign. But so are a number of other famous faces that have found the balance between putting people in theater seats and regularly generating awards buzz. The line-up for Hail, Caesar! reads like a game of "Who wins an Oscar first?" with Scarlett Johanssen, Tilda Swinton, Josh Brolin, Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, and Jonah Hill, to name just a few. You'd be hard pressed to find one potential viewer who would be turned off by that cast.
The Coens have made a career out of making ensemble films where "serious" actors can let loose with wacky humor, and Hail, Caesar! looks to be their rowdiest story and biggest ensemble yet. Everyone involved is no stranger to comedic roles and the marketing has showcased their spot-on comedic timing. It's also adding to the small pop of projects we've seen in this past year set in old Hollywood and the golden age of film, including Trumbo and even [Marvel's Agent Carter](tag:1119765), and with the current uproar over #OscarsSoWhite and the inner workings of the film industry, the timing of Hail, Caesar! might prove even more fortuitous as it draws in an audience curious to see what happens behind the scenes of Hollywood, however farcical.
Hail, Caesar! is in theaters on Friday, February 5th.