There’s been a resurgence in straight-up giant monster movies of late as pics like Pacific Rim, Godzilla and the recent Kong: Skull Island revive people’s appetites for kaiju and other creatures bringing down terror on populations. This week there’s an unusual entry into that genre with the new movie Colossal starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis.
Hathaway stars as Gloria, a woman who’s going through a rough patch, having been dumped by a long-term boyfriend and having a bit of a mental breakdown. When news reports begin covering a giant creature that’s rampaging through Seoul, South Korea, she soon finds that she’s somehow connected to the monster. Not only that, but she’s actually controlling it. Gloria, along with her friends, then try to find out what the connection is and what it means.
The first poster makes a cool effort to sell the story in a unique and fun way, conveying some of the movie’s attitude as much as the plot. So it just shows a woman’s hand – we can tell because it’s wearing pink nail polish – in profile, with middle finger extended and one of those plastic monster toys like you’d get for $.25 at the exit of a grocery store attached to the end of it. “There’s a monster in all of us” we’re told along with the title and the names of the two biggest stars. It’s a lot of fun and a neat way to sell an unusual concept.
A second poster made the connection a bit more explicit but was still pretty fun. In a blocky, artistic style like crude 3D animation, Hathaway’s character is shown in the foreground with the creature she controls in the background affecting the same post. “All she could do was save the world” reads the copy at the bottom of what’s a pretty funny and definitely intriguing poster.
The first – short – trailer starts out by showing the destruction being done by a massive monster rampaging through Tokyo. That cuts to Gloria watching news footage of that terror until she eventually realizes that she’s controlling the monster’s actions, something she eventually convinces others of.
It’s short and funny and establishes the premise but not much else.
The next trailer shows that Gloria is a bit of a crossroads in her life, having been dumped by her boyfriend and out of work for a while. Eventually, with the help of her friends, she realizes she’s somehow controlling a massive monster that occasionally rampages through a Japanese city.
There’s not much more to it than that. The comedy obviously comes from Gloria dealing with the fact that she’s in control of this huge beast and trying to keep that on the down low. Its funny and charming in an offbeat way, but there’s still not enough shown here to really get a sense of the movie’s tone or style.
Online and Social
A version of the second key art graces the top of the movie’s official website. At the top of the page there are links for a “Contest” that encourages people to take a picture to enter to win a trip to Austin. “Theaters” has information on the movie’s release schedule so you can find out when it’s coming to a screen near you. There are Quote Cards, GIFs and a Facebook Cover Photo that you can save for yourself in “Downloads.” Finally along the top of the page are links to the movie’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles.
Back to the main page, as you scroll down the first thing you’ll find is the “Trailer,” which you should definitely watch again and which you can actually download to your computer if you’d like. After that is “About,” which offers a pretty extensive (and slightly spoilerish) synopsis of the story.
“Images” has a rotating collection of about a half-dozen stills and that’s followed by “Posters,” which has both of the posters.
After that is about the press. There are links to some of the festival screening reviews of the movie to help you see just how much good press it’s received to date. There’s also a Press Kit that can be downloaded. Finally, there’s a collection of pull quotes from some of those reviews just to hammer the point home.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing here that I’ve seen, unfortunately. I wouldn’t be surprised if some online ads were being run that were targeted to New York and Los Angeles, where the movie is opening this weekend, and if that advertising expanded as the release widened.
Media and Publicity
Fitting for the subject matter, the movie was chosen as the closing selection for Fantastic Fest. Before that, though, it debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival where it racked up quite a bit of positive buzz for the performances and more. Lots of positive word-of-mouth came out of the movie’s screening, where it was mostly lauded for its originality. Hathaway talked a bit while there about what attracted her to the story and why she got involved in its development.
The movie was quickly bought up by Neon, a mystery company that later was revealed to be the new label founded by Tom Quinn and Tim League, the latter also the force behind the Alamo Drafthouse.
After that, both of the leads kept talking about working on the movie, the emotional issues covered in the story and more. It screened (out of competition, I believe) at the Sundance Film Festival as a way to keep building buzz.
Closer to release both Hathaway and Sudeikis made the press rounds to talk about the movie, address their careers in general and engage in banter with late night talk show hosts. Unfortunately a lot of Hathaway’s press coverage revolved around the conventional wisdom that there are vast swaths of the audience that “hates” her, something she was pressed to address in some manner.
Wow do I want to see this movie. It looks like it combines the best of indie cinema’s focus on character and quirk and personal journeys with a kaiju story that’s played more or less for laughs. But the whole thing is wrapped into one ball that appears, based on the marketing and some of the word-of-mouth that’s come out of festival and other screenings, to deconstruct both genres to create something pretty unique.
The campaign splits its attention between those two elements, maybe emphasizing the story of Gloria and her emotional issues a bit more than the one about how she controls the giant monster. The one serves the other so they can’t be separated completely, of course, but there are times of focus and there’s a slight advantage to the personal struggles she’s going through. That’s kind of the easier story to sell, at least without getting too deep into spoiler territory, so it makes sense. But for anyone looking for something a bit left of center that’s very original, this campaign should provide an attractive option.