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Movie Marketing Madness: Sand Castle

Nicholas Hoult stars in the new Netflix-original movie Sand Castle as Matt Ocre, a young and largely reluctant soldier in Iraq in 2003. Ocre is a machine-gunner in a squad that’s tasked with repairing a broken water system in a small village that’s located in a very dangerous part of the country. He doesn’t want to be there and doesn’t get the mission.

His concerns are ultimately well-founded as there are elements within the village that want the soldiers gone. That doesn’t change the mission, though, it just adds a level of conflict and complexity.

The Posters

As with many recent Netflix releases, no poster seems to have been created.

The Trailers

We meet Pvt. Ocre in the trailer as he’s trying to get out of duty in Afghanistan by smashing his hand in a jeep door. That doesn’t work, though, and he’s still sent out into an environment that is hostile to him in every possible way. Through various attacks we see and hear him deal with the reality he’s living in. No one wants him or his fellow soldiers there and everyone just wants to get them home, but there’s no leaving until the job, as ill-defined as it might be, is done.

It’s a solid effort that shows the perspective we’ll be following through the story. These kind of tales about our disastrous policy toward fighting that war have been pretty constant over the last couple years but this looks like it sets itself apart by focusing on an individual, not a group of highly-skilled operators or other, bigger groups. It’s kind of a one-note trailer but that’s alright, at least for a first outing.

Online and Social

Nothing here. The movie only received limited support, mainly back when the first trailer was released.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nope.

Media and Publicity

Most all the press has come from the release of the trailer and more recently a short clip. No interviews with the cast or anything else. Netflix picked the movie up about a year ago, but that’s the extent of the media coverage.

Overall

You’d be excused for not knowing this movie even exists or is coming out. Even by Netflix standards this is a light campaign, likely the result of it not being one that previously debuted at a festival or other event before it was picked up. The entire weight of the movie’s success lies on the back of the trailer, which is good but which doesn’t present anything special or offer a strong value proposition for the audience. This is a story we’ve seen variations on before and there’s just no strong hook to make the case for spending time watching this with so many other options available.

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