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If there’s an overarching theme to Richard Linklater’s work it’s an obsession with the passage of time. That’s on display overtly in movies like Boyhood, which condensed that into just a couple hours or in the Before Trilogy, which not only took place in real-time themselves but also in real-time over the course of the three movies. Even in movies like Dazed and Confused he’s interested in how things change and how the people change with those times as we see torches being passed, roles shifting and more. Linklater is very interested in how things evolve and what impact that has on people’s lives.
Now he’s back with what’s being sold as a “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused with Everybody Wants Some. Instead of being set in the mid-70s this one is set in the mid-80s and follows a group of college freshmen baseball players who are feeling out their place in the world now that they’re free from parental supervision. That involves getting to know the members of the opposite sex a bit more freely, figuring out who they are as individuals themselves and more. Of course not all of this exploratory behavior is exactly responsible but it’s all going into who these people are. And it all speaks to Linklater’s tendency to check in at regular intervals with certain character types, even if they aren’t the same actual characters.
The first poster displays the title treatment in the image of a cassette tape that’s being unwound, which instantly tells you what era it’s set in. That’s reinforced by the stack of tapes at the bottom featuring albums by Dire Straits, Queen, Van Halen, The Knack and more. copy in the middle declares it’s “Here for a good time, not a long time.”
The second poster sells the movie as a college-based bro-tastic party. So all the main characters, most of whom are dudes, are in a dog pile in front of a sweet looking car that’s in front of a frat house that has windows blown out and a lawn chair on the awning over the door. Like the first poster this one gives prominent placement to Linklater’s name, showing he’s become something of a brand name himself, and tags it as a “spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused.” This one makes the movie look like more of a successor to Animal House, though. That may or may not be a good thing and may or may not be accurate.
The movie’s first trailer works overtime to sell it as being along the same lines as Dazed & Confused. We meet many of the main characters, get the basic outline of the plot and generally spend a lot of time seeing what kind of hijinks the characters are getting into. It’s clear here that we’re following a distinct period of time, specifically in how a couple of college guys are navigating the on-campus world.
If you liked Dazed and Confused you’re going to like this trailer. If not then much of this may be lost on you. The connection between this movie and that one – however tenuous it may be – is hit at least twice, including once through the use of a critic quote. Outside of that it looks like the kind of meandering, character-driven movie that Linklater has done a couple times in the past to great success, so if you’re into his style this trailer likely worked well for you.
A red-band trailer debuted later on IGN. This one starts out by introducing us to Jake and his place in the frat, including hearing the rules that no one apparently lives by. Being a bunch of athletes everyone is super-competitive though some are more concerned about breaking the rules than others. Following that there’s a bunch of footage we’ve seen from the earlier trailer but new stuff as well. All in all this sells a wild, fun ride and this one plays a lot better in my opinion than the green-band version that came out first.
Online and Social
The official website isn’t a massively-featured one but certainly gets points for conveying the tone and feeling of the movie. In the header of the site we get full-motion video clips from the trailer behind the title treatment and the same kind of copy that was seen on the one-sheets.
At the top there are just a few buttons to push. “Get Tickets” does exactly what you think it does. And “Watch Trailer” opens up the YouTube page for the green-band trailers. “Soundtrack” brings you to a list of the songs on that album and offers links to buy it on iTunes of Amazon.
There’s also a “Meme Generator” here that lets you scroll through a selection of stills from the movie. When you find one you like you can complete the “Everybody Wants ______” sentence and then download it or share it directly on either Facebook or Twitter. It’s a nice touch but it really exposes how not being able to publish to Instagram on the web is a big missing piece of that network’s feature set.
Back to the main site, if you scroll down there are a bunch of cards/images for each of the major characters that has their name and some quote from them. They all look like they were taken by Kodak Instamatic cameras and they can all be reblogged (the site is hosted on Tumblr) or shared elsewhere.
There’s some good stuff on the movie’s Facebook page, including extended clips, the same character-card graphics from the official site and more. It’s all very engagement-based and designed to sell the movie as a raucous good time. Same goes for the Twitter profile, though that has more RTing and fan amplification. And the Instagram profile focuses, of course, on those graphics and other images.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
In a nice touch, Alamo Drafthouse in Austin created limited edition movie-branded beer that will only be available in select locations in Texas.
TV spots like this one were run to sell the movie in the same vein as the trailers, as a riotous good time at the movies. Most of them focused the party atmosphere in the movie, showing many of the shenanigans the characters, mostly the guys, get up to at and around their frat.
I’m sure there was online advertising run and outdoor ads placed, but I haven’t seen any of them.
Media and Publicity
Later on at the movie’s New York City premiere the stars came out as Linklater took the opportunity to talk about how excited he was for this movie, how his own college experiences informed the story, what it was like to work with another group of young actors and lots more.
The movie was announced as the opening film of the 2016 SXSW Film Festival, a nice move that gave it a nice boost as well as a contextual one considering Linklater’s Texas roots. That premiere was largely positive and critics and others in the screening came out and immediately started calling it one of Linklater’s best. In conjunction with that the director talked about the making of the movie, his own experience with high school sports and other topics. He kept talking about how long the movie was gestating as an idea and what his experience in that time added to the finished product.
The cast also did some publicity, sitting for interviews with various press outlets like this interview with Zoey Deutch, who plays Beverly, about her experiences on a set filled with dudes. The release of all the marketing materials also provided nice spikes for the movie’s publicity since this is a widely-anticipated release.
Look, I’m on board for the movie. I love Linklater’s movies and dig his voice and style, especially his desire and willingness to innovate in small ways that feed the story, whatever story it is he’s telling. So this campaign works for me in a big way just based on his involvement and my inclination to enjoy his stuff.
I do feel, though, as if the campaign may be working at cross-purposes to the movie itself. If it’s not being missold, which I don’t think it necessarily is, it does seem as if it pulls out some aspects of the movie like the party atmosphere at the expense of others. After all, if we’re really saying this is “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused, it’s necessary to look back at how much heart that movie had, something that’s lacking in the marketing for Everybody Wants Some. My guess is, based on my experience with Linklater, there’s plenty of that heart to go around, but it’s not part of what Paramount is selling here.