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, February 28-March 5.
10 Cloverfield Lane (Paramount)
The marketing for Paramount's 10 Cloverfield Lane has been nothing short of remarkable, considering, well...there really has been no marketing campaign. We didn't even know it existed until January, when J.J. Abrams' production company, Bad Robot, announced it would be coming in March after quietly dropped during a TV spot during an episode of The Walking Dead a few weeks later. The anti-marketing marketing campaign of 10 Cloverfield Lane has been the antithesis of the 365 day/year hype cycle by which most tentpole films operate, and what's more, it's working.
The first Cloverfield film was also shrouded in secrecy, with the Cloverfield monster famously being left out of any promotional material, only teased. Was it a sci-fi film? A disaster flick? An alien invasion movie? Or was it a monster? No one knew, and the mystery drove people to the theater and turned Cloverfield into a cult classic. The marketing for 10 Cloverfield Lane has upped the ante, the most mysterious of Abrams' famous mystery boxes.
In theory, a movie with such a lack of information and hype should be flying under the radar. But in practice, it's been buzzed about ever since the trailer drop. In an age when trailers tend to give everything away, audiences have gravitated toward 10 Cloverfield Lane precisely because it gives us almost nothing, allowing our imaginations to run wild - a refreshing change of pace from the norm, and a testament to the studio. It's no small feat that Paramount has managed to keep the film under wraps in our age of spoilers and leaks on the internet rumor mill.
Whether the no marketing gamble will pay off remains to be seen, but the first Cloverfield created a cult following, and the very contrary nature of the marketing for its sequel has gotten an entirely new demographic intrigued. Should the sequel perform like the first film, it should find success at the box office as another sleeper hit born of a low budget project and viral marketing campaign.
10 Cloverfield Lane is in theaters on Friday, March 11.
The Brothers Grimsby (Sony Pictures)
What happens when you mesh the in-your-face shock value of Sacha Baron Cohen's films with the stylish action of Kingsman: The Secret Service? You get Sony's The Brothers Grimsby, that's what.
It's an interesting film for Sony to market, and a difficult one. So far, they've been steering clear of playing up Baron Cohen's trademark brand of offensive humor, and with good reason: There is a scene in which Presidential candidate Donald Trump is accidentally infected with HIV, and while the scene has been getting wild applause at its screenings, you can imagine why Sony doesn't want to incur the wrath of a man who has shown he's not afraid to overreact to perceived slights in completely absurd ways.
To that end, Sony's been focusing as much on the action element as the comedy, even going so far as to spoof the Kingsman: The Secret Service poster with one of their own. It certainly helps that Mark Strong is Baron Cohen's co-lead, having been one of the stars of Kingsman, and Sony has had him share equal screen time in the trailers with Sacha Baron Cohen. It's smart brand association for audiences who still remember Strong in last year's Kingsman, which went on to be a huge hit. He's now as synonymous with smart, stylish spy flicks as Baron Cohen is with off-color humor, and the combination is one that Sony hopes will draw a double demographic into theaters, despite the low-key marketing.
While this is certainly the most expensive film that Sacha Baron Cohen has filmed to date, his films have always tended to rely as much on word of mouth as they have any marketing campaigns. I expect this film to have somewhat longer legs than most, and may not have a huge opening weekend at the box office, but will have less of a drop-off and continue to hold steady for a few weeks.
The Brothers Grimsby hits theaters on Friday, March 11.