Hit men make for fascinating story characters. They’re often complete sociopaths but are usually given some sort of quirky characteristic that keeps us following their story and even rooting for them in whatever situations may come up. Leon: The Professional, Collateral, The Killer or my personal favorite Grosse Point Blank…they’re all about people who professionally kill but who have some sort of other “thing” that makes us look past what is essentially an amoral profession.
Entering the genre this week is Mr. Right. Sam Rockwell stars as Francis, a hit man who has developed an unusual quirk: Instead of killing the people he’s hired to take out he’s turning around and killing those who have ordered the hit. As he embarks on his quest for a twisted form of redemption he meets Martha (Anna Kendrick), a young woman who’s on the rebound from a bad relationship and caught up in Francis’ charm. She eventually finds out what he does but that doesn’t bug her, even as the FBI (personified by Tim Roth) comes looking for him.
Rockwell and Kendrick are right there on the poster, selling the attitude of the movie with him in a clown nose while loading a gun and her wearing kitty ears and a goofy t-shirt with an astronaut riding a unicorn through a rainbow. So we get the movie’s sense of humor along with the fact, emphasized by the copy “They make a killer couple,” that this is a violent comedy we’re in store for.
There was an unofficial trailer several months ago but the first official spot starts off by introducing us to Francis, who’s killing the wife of someone who hired him. then we see Martha as her boyfriend is in the midst of cheating on her. The two meet and go on a date, which is interrupted when someone tries to kill him. The rest of the trailer is about the burgeoning relationship between the two of them, something that’s complicated, but not ended, by her learning the truth from a set of FBI agents and then getting involved in his business.
It’s cute and there’s no denying Rockwell and Kendrick are charming as heck. The trailer sells a fun story and while there are certainly several ways this could go off the rails and be kind of a train wreck it could also be a really pleasant little comedy about some offbeat characters.
Online and Social
The official website begins by auto playing the trailer but after that you have the option of signing up for email alerts when the movie is playing near you or pre-ordering it on iTunes, which makes sense for a movie that’s going theatrical and VOD in such a tight window.
The “Trailer” is also the first content section on the site, but that’s it in the way of videos. Following that is the “Synopsis” which is actually pretty well-written and offers a good introduction to the two main characters as well as the issues their budding romance will face. “Cast and Crew” has extensive bios and career histories on the major players in front of an behind the camera.
In terms of immediate calls to action, “In Theaters” lets you search for where the movie might be playing near you while “Watch the Movie” has links to the major VoD services (iTunes, Amazon, Google Play etc) where you can preorder and get it delivered to your home box or mobile device.
The movie used Focus World’s Facebook and Instagram but did get its own Twitter profile, which shared updates from the red carpet along with press stories and a few RTs of fans who were talking about their excitement for seeing it.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing that I’ve come across.
Media and Publicity
The movie debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival to mixed, if generally positive reviews and where it was quickly picked up by Focus World for distribution.
It was a while before the publicity really kicked in but in the last week or so before release both Kendrick and Rockwell appeared – often jointly – on “Good Morning America,” “Colbert” and other talk shows to talk about working together, the movie in general and so on. Not exactly a huge push but not bad for a movie that’s kind of sat there for a year or so between completion and distribution.
There’s nothing huge here. It’s an alright effort that sells a movie that looks…alright. It checks all the boxes it needs to, though I’ll admit to being a bit surprised there wasn’t at least a red-band trailer since it seems like a little bit of language, additional violence and such would up the appeal factor for the movie. The website is a bit old-fashioned if anything in how it’s laid out and how everything is its own page. I’d love to get under the hood and have my team work on that, quite frankly.
As to the movie itself it looks sort of pleasantly charming. The campaign sells the appeal of Kendrick and Rockwell together as its primary point and, as I’ve stated, that’s no small thing. So if we’re on board with the actors themselves what remains to be seen is if the premise of a reverse hitman and the woman who loves him falls apart on execution or not. If it keeps up the pace and doesn’t take itself too seriously then it could be plenty funny. If it veers in the other direction or goes too ludicrous it could come off as a disjointed mess.