Tech and finance are two industries that, rightly or wrongly, are seen as being male-dominated in the worst possible ways. The technology sector is rife with examples of the “bro” culture that puts a premium on being one of the guys, while finance is seen as being particularly well-suited for a man’s take-no-prisoners approach. While men are lauded for these kinds of behaviors, women who either carve their own path or dive in deep and become just as ruthless as the guys are seen as “difficult” or “pushy,” which become code words for men feeling uncomfortable around women who don’t conform to old-fashioned cultural types.
The new movie Equity is about woman who is unapologetically ruthless. Anna Gunn plays Naomi Bishop, a senior investor at a major Wall Street firm. She’s risen to the peak of her career and is about to take a new company public in a big way. But while she’s enjoying all of this things begin to unravel as scandal creeps in around the IPO, threatening to derail her career and possibly send her to prison for misconduct. At the same time she has to put up with the antiquated notions evinced by some of the men around her, who are threatened by a woman coming and playing on their turf and using the same tactics they do.
The movie’s one poster takes the story’s four major players and arranges them on the one-sheet, all looking directly at or just to the side of the camera. In the background is a series of stock charts and ticker symbols, clearly telling the audience the drama will be unfolding in the world of financial markets in some manner. At the top the tagline tells us “On Wall Street, not all players are created equal,” which hints at the sexual politics that will drive some of the story along.
It’s a decent poster but kind of comes off like the cover to a second-rate John Grisham novel. There’s no verve or spark here. It just presents the cast and the basic premise in a flat, matter-of-fact kind of way and hopes that’s enough for the audience.
As the first trailer beings we meet Naomi, who explains that she just likes money, which leads into a voiceover about her credentials as a powerhouse mover and shaker. She’s working on taking a new company public but, as we see, there are complications. Someone has leaked details of the deal and it’s creating a problems with investors, regulators and others.
Gunn looks amazing in this as a woman who’s unapologetically successful in her world but who also sees enemies everywhere. This is a tight, energetic trailer that showcases her performance, which is the primary selling point.
The second trailer is almost identical to the first, save for a shot or two here and there. Same structure and flow, though, and the same stakes are presented.
Online and Social
The official website is surprisingly robust for a mid-level movie like this. The trailer plays in a pop-up when the site loads and there’s a big button at the top in case you’d like to watch it again. Next to that is a button saying “Buy out your city” that allows you to setup a screening in your area in case it’s not playing near you, which is pretty cool. It makes me wonder what sort of outreach and pitching the studio did to groups that might have been interested in doing that kind of thing since I imagine there’s a higher return on investment with that kind of effort as opposed to the random interest that might occur from *just* the right person seeing that button on the site.
Anyway, shifting over to the menu, the first section of material is the “Synopsis,” which takes you through pretty intense detail as to the story, the movie’s characters, what their motivations are and more.
The past and current credits for the main players can be found in the “Cast” section, which offers backgrounds on most of the top-line stars. Similar write-ups for those behind the scenes are in “Filmmakers.”
“Real Women of Wall Street” takes you into…well…just that. Two areas within this section explain how the producers and others decided to explore this world and shows statistics as to how women are or aren’t represented in the top financial companies, as well as the disparity in income they face and other interesting – and sometimes disheartening – facts about the challenges they face in this environment.
There’s a pretty robust “Gallery” that has a couple behind-the-scenes shots along with quite a few stills from the movie itself. “Reviews” will presumably have quotes from or links to critical feedback but now is still labeled as coming soon. Finally you can “Find a Theater” to see when the movie will be coming to a theater in your area.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing that I’ve seen, but I’d be willing to bet there’s been some targeted online advertising done and that there will be more as the movie expands into markets beyond Los Angeles and New York City.
Media and Publicity
The movie debuted at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, where it got alright buzz and word-of-mouth, particularly for Gunn’s performance.
Most of the publicity for the movie revolved equally around the movie itself and the real-life women of Wall Street who have to do their job in the a harsh, sometimes offensive environment. So there were features focusing on how rarely we see unapologetically successful women and the kind of sexist place Wall Street used to be, how producer Megan Smith Thomas put together a female-led picture like this, how she researched the topic and got the production green-light and much more.
There’s a solid campaign here, both for the movie itself and as a PSA for how women are either unrepresented in the financial world or harassed and held to different standards than their male counterparts. The formal marketing is selling the former while the press, with a bit of support on the website, is selling the latter. Both are worthwhile efforts and the one supports the other, particularly on a movie that features so many women both in front of and behind the camera. This plays like the campaign for a message-driven movie and works on both levels.
Gunn is obviously the centerpiece of the push for a movie that’s being sold as half a female-empowerment story and half a tense Wall Street thriller about financial regulations and investigations. The former, though, is the part of the campaign, at least, that works best. The part of the movie that’s about women unabashedly being who they are – whether that’s a cutthroat banker or crusading, law-abiding regulator – is the one that appears much more intriguing than the story of potential corporate malfeasance. That’s largely because it’s a much more vital and original story and so presents the bigger value proposition to the audience.