There are always people who don’t believe the truth behind some of history’s biggest events. The internet certainly didn’t give birth to these conspiracy theories and their advocates but it certainly has helped them come together in new and interesting ways. Name just about any great achievement and you’ll find people who believe we’re being duped and name any great tragedy and you’ll find people who believe it was an inside job by those in power to manipulate the public. These people are lots of funs at dinner parties.
One of the biggest such theories is that the 1969 moon landing was faked and that’s the premise of the new film Moonwalkers. Ron Perlman plays Kidman, a CIA agent tasked with getting director Stanley Kubrick to shoot a faux landing on the moon. Through a series of misunderstandings he actually makes contact with Jonny (Rupert Grint), a small-time London band manager who decides this is an opportunity he must seize. Kidman, stuck and out of options, has to work with Jonny to pull off this hoax on the people of the world.
The first poster is kind of strange, but I suppose that’s in keeping with the movie’s vibe. Against a background of hippie pop art that’s awash in visuals of the ’60s is a guitar that has a star field, with the moon where the acoustic opening is. Strings are coming down off the neck of the guitar, with four of them holding an astronaut like a marionette. At the bottom we’re told this is “Based on a true conspiracy theory,” which is a nice little turn of phrase and that’s followed by Perlman and Grint’s names, the title treatment and the promise that it’s coming soon.
It’s a fun poster that certainly conveys the attitude of the movie. We get the time period along with the promise that this has something to do with outer space and astronauts. Combined with the copy at the bottom, it’s easy to draw the connection and figure out the story is about the moon landing in some manner. Other than that it’s not super up front about the story or anything else.
The second poster continued the psychedelic theme of the first but is kind of awful. It’s just a collage of elements from the movie thrown together roughly within the confines of a circle in the background. So we see an astronaut of some sort, a hippie guru type, a rocket ship taking off and more, all placed around Perlman and Grint. This is what happens when you don’t pay attention in visual design classes.
The first trailer sets up the insanity of the story pretty well. We see the U.S. military approach Kidman about hiring Stanley Kubrick to film a fake moon landing. But when he goes out he finds the wrong guy. That’s not going to stop Johnny and his partner Leon from taking the money, though, so they convince him that yeah, that’s Kubrick he’s meeting with. The charade doesn’t last long though, and Kidman discovers he’s been tricked. Johnny and Leon, though, have a way for them all to come out ahead and get what they want so they take Kidman to a filmmaker friend of theirs, which sets off all sorts of hijinks as this guy is pretty far from Stanley Kubrick and mixes them up in a world of girls, drugs and more.
It’s a pretty funny trailer that certainly shows off the craziness that’s in store for all the characters. There’s not a whole lot more to say about it other than this red-band version may be selling all the raunchiest bits of a movie that’s more about attitude than shocks.
Online and Social
I couldn’t find an official website or even social handles for the movie. It received some limited support on the social channels for the various production companies involved in making the film and those companies sometimes offered a trailer or production notes related to the movie, but that was about it.
While I understand this is a limited release that’s hitting theaters and VOD simultaneously, it’s surprising there’s no single, primary web presence here. Just like any other product or brand there should be *something,* even if it’s just a page on one of the other sites. Somewhere people can go via search to find out more about the movie, how they can see it and then with the tools to allow them to spread the word about the movie if they so choose. It’s shocking to basically see the web completely overlooked like this.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing I’ve seen, not even online ads.
Media and Publicity
Outside of chatter about the trailers and posters being released there wasn’t much here either. Some conversation around the film’s screening at SXSW early last year but that was about it.
Talk about an odd campaign with a split focus. The posters and trailers are kind of trippy and fun and sell a movie that definitely has a sense of humor and a unique setting. Some of the posters may not be super clear about what it is that’s being sold, but you can’t say they’re not eye-catching and they do sell the movie as promising a pretty good time. Same with the trailers, which do that even more effectively. But the lack of any sort of web presence coupled with minimal press, which begets conversation which begets anticipations, is likely hurting awareness. Plus, going back and looking at the trailers and posters there’s no information about release. Nothing says “In theaters and on iTunes 1/15” or anything like that. That’s…not great.
Focusing though on what the campaign does show, it promises what looks to be a fairly funny story that is also fairly violent. It obviously has a tone of not taking itself too seriously and the stars look like they’re having a decently fun time telling the story. No, it doesn’t look like something for everyone and maybe it tries a bit too hard to make itself look like a Guy Ritchie type of movie with exploding heads and so on. But it seems to be, based on the marketing, the kind of movie where if you go along with the ridiculousness you might have a halfway good time.