You work all your life, you devote all your resources and energy, all toward a goal that seems like the pinnacle of your existence. Nothing could ever top that, so you sacrifice and push yourself in that direction, leaving a wake of failed relationships and other damage in your wake. It’s something only the most dedicated and competitive people among us can do, which is part of what makes them elite athletes, writers, actors or whatever their chosen field is. Once they achieve that goal it can be hard to figure out what’s next. That’s particularly true if someone works that hard and comes up just shy of that goal.
That’s the premise of The Bronze. Melissa Rauch plays Hope, a former Olympic gymnast who came within inches of winning it all, only to fall short because of a freak accident. Years later, bitter and still trading off her brief and tarnished success, Hope is living with her dad in a small town. One day she’s given the chance to coach an up-and-coming athlete, something she’s reluctant to do because she refuses to take a back seat to anyone. But doing so leads to opportunities she didn’t expect.
There’s not much to the first and only poster. It just shows Rauch standing there with a look that conveys plenty of attitude and holding up three fingers, a reference to her having won third place in the Olympics. The copy “There’s no place like third” appears just above the title treatment to bring it all together.
When the movie finally did get a trailer it was a red-band edition that starts out by showing the Olympics Hope competed in and where she won her bronze medal. But then an accident during competition sends her home unsure of what her future is. When she’s confronted by another Olympian she goes on an expletive-filled rant about how, essentially, she can do whatever she wants. But it becomes clear she’s a bit of a diva who isn’t willing to settle for anything other than stardom, no matter whose feelings she hurts.
Rauch is pretty funny in this trailer but it remains to be seen whether a collection of raunchy scenes and dialogue can equal an enjoyably, consistently funny movie.
The next trailer is much better in presenting the story. We see Hope has not only still getting an allowance from her dad but stealing money from his mail truck. Despite her instance she won’t do so she eventually begins coaching the girlfriend of an old friend.
That’s about it, though there are plenty of supporting scenes as well. it’s a much better trailer than the first and gives the audience a much better idea of what they’re getting into.
Online and Social
The official website opens by playing the second trailer again. There’s a menu at the top of the page but it’s easier just to scroll down and cover each section as it comes.
The “Social Stream” section brings in a curated stream of updates from Twitter and Instagram that use the #BronzeMovie hashtag, both from official and fan accounts. So it’s a nice mix of things from the studio and talent and from fans who are just excited for the movie. There’s a nice synopsis of the story in the “Synopsis” section that explains what’s going to drive the plot pretty well.
The “Cast” and “Filmmakers” offer good career recaps of the major players in front of and behind the camera when you click on their names. Finally there’s a “Gallery” that has almost 20 stills, mostly from the movie but also one or two behind-the-scenes shots.
The movie’s Facebook page has links to clips and other promotional and marketing items. It’s also filled with graphics that try to put Hope in a meme-like state, putting her face on backgrounds with big, bold text including lines from the movie. That also include things that look like slightly skewed inspirational posters. The Twitter profile had the same stuff along with RTs of the cast as well as Rauch’s “Big Bang Theory” costars who were professing their love of the movie. And Instagram was just those images along with some short videos.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
There was some online advertising done that used the movie’s key art. And at least a few TV spots like this one ran that condensed the story down as much as possible, focusing on the abrasive nature of Hope’s character and some of the raunchy humor instead of trying to go too far in explaining or laying out the story.
These aren’t great since I feel the more you know about that story and the characters the better in this situation. General spots that just try to position it as mildly funny aren’t going to work. It’s why I think the clips that were released are actually among the strongest part of the campaign.
Media and Publicity
The movie debuted at Sundance 2015 where it got some decent reviews, many of which particularly called out Rauch’s enthusiastic performance. After that things went pretty quiet until later in the year when it was picked up for distribution by Sony Pictures Classic , who rescued it from Relativity, which was going through bankruptcy and was in no position to release it. It wouldn’t be until a few months later, though, that a release date was announced.
Rauch and the rest of the cast talked about the inspiration behind the movie, how they prepared for their roles and more at its premiere. Rauch was interviewed a handful of times and shared the story behind what inspired she and her husband to write it as well as the origin of “that” scene along with more. Stan talked about how he approached his role in the movie, basing his character on some of the real-life jerks he’s known and so on, including how it was to make this part of a wave of comedies he’s doing to expand his range a bit.
Well, you can’t say the campaign doesn’t work to sell the true nature of the movie. Most everything is designed to remind you as often as possible that the movie is a raunchy comedy about an inherently unlikable character who’s put in a position where she has to think about something other than herself for the first time in forever. Rauch is certainly the centerpiece but I’m not sure the marketing makes the case for her being able to carry the premise through the entire movie.
One thing I notice is that there’s no redemption arc that’s even hinted at in the campaign. That might be because that’s not the movie the studio wants to sell, instead solely focusing on the nastiness of Hope and her abrasiveness toward everyone because they feel that’s the stronger angle. Or it might be because that part of the story simply doesn’t exist. That will remain to be seen. In the meantime, this campaign is for those who like their comedy as offensive and foul-mouthed as possible.