Movie Marketing Madness: The Libertine

The Libertine, based on what I’ve read, is one of the movies that The Weinstein Co. regained the rights to when the brothers behind it formalized their split from Disney and Miramax, the studio the initially created. It was shot sometime in 2004 and sat on the shelves at Miramax and is just now seeing release. Johnny Depp plays John Wilmot, an Earl in 17th century London whose scandalous behavior leads to his exile and ruin.Like most of these Miramax cast-offs

The Libertine seems to be getting just enough of a promotional push to make reasonably sure people know it’s being released but not much more. That’s not in and of itself a bad thing, just a statement of opinion. It’s not a huge movie and while Depp is surely a great actor he’s the only name (aside from John Malkovich) in the movie that’s likely to raise interest among the public. Depp’s role is at the forefront of the campaign obviously.

The Poster

Dark and moody, with Depp obviously looking like he’s seducing the woman in the picture it’s an interesting poster. His face is ghostly white with his long hair blending into the dark background. Between that and the blood-red script used for the title lettering it sets the scene for the movie quite well.

The Trailer

“You will not like me,” Depp intones as his face emerges from the shadows. We’re then given a bit – but only a bit – of the story. Most of the trailer is spent showing just how morally depraved Wilmot and the play he created is. Malkovich gets a bit of screen time, alternating between covorting with Wilmot and exiling him and then ordering him brought back. All this plays out and then is bookended with more of Depp narrating from some version of the “Real World” confessional.A TV spot for the movie has appeared in the last week or so that is horribly jumbled and just too quickly edited. It tries to jam together into 30 seconds as much of Depp’s exposition as possible while still showing something from the movie and it just turns out as a mess. It really doesn’t do a good job of selling the film because it tries to do both things. If they had created a 15-second spot of Depp that likely would have worked better. Same with a 30-second commercial of just film clips.

The Website

There’s very little on the website, as is standard for these Weinstein releases. The only things there are the trailer, a very brief synopsis and showtimes for the flick.


I might not have made this clear but considering how low-profile this movie is likely to seem this is a nice streamlined campaign. The poster is fairly effective and the long-form trailer works pretty well. The website is slim, but that’s to be expected. Overall it’s a good push for a movie that had previously been sentenced to perpetual limbo.

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