Movie Marketing Madness: Paris Can Wait

The new movie Paris Can Wait stars Diane Lane and Alex Baldwin as, respectively, Anne and Michael. The two have been married for a while and love each other, but the excitement is gone, largely because he’s a successful movie producer who’s detached and inattentive to his wife. Still, they get on and have a happy marriage.

While visiting France on a trip, Michael has to fly back to Paris sooner than expected. Anne is scared of flying and is offered a car ride by Jacques (Arnaud Viard), an associate of Michael’s. What should have been a straightforward drive, though, turns into a two-day long series of sidetracks and unexpected stops as Jacques shows Anne the French countryside. That breaks her out of her bubble and reminds her of all the cultural and other wonders she now fears she’s missing out on.

The Posters

The movie’s poster follows a familiar format: It shows Lane looking breezy and relaxed as she walks along the street outside a small village, a smile on her face. That she’s carrying her shoes is meant to convey that she’s carefree and enjoying life. A positive critical quote takes up a good chunk of the sky above the village to help bolster everyone’s perception that this is a can’t-miss performance from Lane.

I say this is a familiar format because it’s been used before, including to sell movies starring Lane. Look at the one-sheet for 2003’s Under the Tuscan Sun and it’s the same idea. That’s just one example and I’m sure there are others, but the point is that there’s a formula for selling movies about middle-aged women rediscovering themselves in a foreign country and the team here knows how to fit their efforts into it.

The Trailers

The first trailer isn’t bad. We meet Anne and Michael, who are in a good if unexciting marriage. The two are traveling Europe and are going to return to Paris but they decide to head back separately because he has work to do. So she hitches a ride with Jaques, a friend of Michael’s. The two explore the countryside, going to restaurants, visiting art institutions, historical sites and more. That makes the trip to Paris much longer than expected but also much more fulfilling.

There are hints that the drive with Anne and Jaques leads to something more romantic, but nothing overt. Much of the dialogue that’s shown here revolves around taking chances, whether or not she’s happy and other such personal topics. It’s easy to see this as being the latest in a series of movies about women over 40 finding unexpected love in a foreign country, but again there’s nothing that’s overtly hinted at so it may stay on this side of monogamy.

Online and Social

Sony Classics’ official website opens with the trailer, which you can watch again if you want to get your taste of the French lifestyle.

Close that and the splash page uses the key art, with a big prompt at the bottom to buy tickets in one of the two cities it’s opening in this weekend. Below that are links to the movie’s Twitter and Facebook profiles as well as the studio’s YouTube and Tumblr.

Move up to the top of the page and you’ll see a menu that takes you to sections you can also access just by scrolling down the page. The first one there is “Synopsis,” which gives you a brief overview of the story. That’s followed by “Cast “ and Filmmakers” sections that give you a list of those involved in the movie’s making. The “Gallery” has 10 stills, including a behind-the-scenes shot.

Throughout the site are interstitials that let you explore the journey that the pair take and the menu of food they sample along the way. There are also just big photos that break up the sections of content.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I’ve seen, but it’s likely there’s been some targeted online advertising in New York and Los Angeles since that’s where it’s opening this weekend.

Media and Publicity

Shortly after it debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival the movie scored a distribution deal from Sony Pictures Classics. It also later screened at Tribeca.

There was actually a pretty decent press push for the movie, mostly from Lane and first-time director Eleanor Coppola. Lane talked about her career in general and making this movie specifically, including how she signed on in large part because she wanted to work with Coppola.

It was also part of some larger narratives that emerged, including how it’s one of a few movies for older audiences that are coming from largely female filmmaking teams. The director also got some press for herself that focused on how this is a departure for her from the documentaries she usually directs.

Overall

If it weren’t someone as series as Eleanor Coppola, who has a legit track record and who apparently based this (in part) on actual events, I’d imagine the pitch for this movie went something like “It’s Eat Pray Love meets The Trip.” That’s certainly the vibe it gives off and while there’s little doubt Lane is fantastic in the role it’s hard to get too excited about another story of a white lady who’s just kind of vaguely unfulfilled in life and so ventures through the European vistas. We’ve seen this movie before, whether it starts Julia Roberts, Patricia Clarkson or any other talented actor who’s better than the material.

As for the campaign itself, it’s fine. It delivers exactly the value proposition you’d expect it to, that the movie will be filled with images of wonderful French culture and delicious food just waiting to be Instagrammed. There’s nothing all that substantive here and as I said the focus is on the adventure Anne has, not the potential for an extramarital fling that may be lurking under the surface. The marketing sells the movie as a form of idyllic dreamscape for anyone who might be feeling similarly quashed as Lane’s character, which is the main message it needed to convey.

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Movie Marketing Madness: Equity

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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 Posters

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.

The Trailers

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.

equity pic 1

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.

The movie’s Facebook and Twitter profiles have information on showtimes, links to press stories, trailers and more.

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.

equity pic 2

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.

Overall

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.

Movie Marketing Madness: The Meddler

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“Well meaning” can cover all sorts of behavior that may not be all that welcome by others. That can be particularly true when it comes to family, with a parent, sibling or someone else who always feel they know best what you should do in any situation. Sometimes they just can’t help but chime in and offer their advice on how you should handle that significant other, what you should say to that boss who’s honking you off and more. That may take the form of passive-aggressive commentary or could get worse, with a parent who still feels the need to fight the battles of their adult child or children.

That’s more or less the situation in The Meddler. Lori (Rose Byrne) is a successful screenwriter in Los Angeles. Her father recently passed away and her mom Marnie (Susan Sarandon) has decided to move from New York to be closer to her. But Marnie doesn’t just want to drop by every couple weeks for dinner, she wants to be all up in there with the advice that everyone should take about how to live their life. When Lori tries to push her away to a manageable distance, Marnie turns the force of her personality to others and finds different lives to chime in about, something that comes with its own set of both rewards and consequences.

The Posters

There’s not much going on in the poster, but that’s alright since it tells you most of what you need to know. Sarandon and Byrne stand side-by-side, the former with a look of knowing what’s up on her face while the latter looks a bit beaten down and as if she’d just like to be anywhere else right now, a look familiar to most adult children dealing with their parents in just about any way. In the background are a bunch of palm trees so we get the idea that the story is set in southern California. The critics quotes that appear toward the top praise the movie’s comedy and the tone as well as Sarandon’s performance.

The Trailers

The movie’s trailer introduces us quickly to Marnie and shows us that she has few, if any, boundaries when it comes to her daughter Lori or the world in general. She’s always ready to make herself at home and make her opinion known. When Lori goes on a trip to New York Marnie gets involved in the wedding plans of one of Lori’s friends, which is sure to lead to complications. She also meets a guy her own age and they begin a relationship that is sure to provide some drama over the course of the story.

It’s a solidly amusing, if middle-of-the-road trailer. The major appeal here is a go-for-broke performance by Sarandon, who appears to just be giving zero cares about anything but having fun with such an uninhibited character. But as always Byrne should not be counted out as she’s consistently a reliable comedic force.

Online and Social

A pop-up window with the trailer opens the official website and when you close that you get a cropped version of the key art.

The first section of content is “Synopsis” which quickly outlines the relationship between Lori and Marnie and the situation they find themselves in. Keep scrolling down the page and you’ll find first the “Cast” and then “Filmmakers,” both of which have information on the talent involved and give you career overviews of those behind and in front of the camera. Finally, with the exception of another prompt to watch the trailer, is the “Gallery” that has quite a few stills from the movie.

the meddler pic 2

The movie didn’t get its own social profiles so had to rely on promotion on Sony Classics’ core Twitter, Facebook and other profiles and pages. On Twitter the studio was using both #TheMeddler and #CallYourMother to try and spur some conversation and did plenty of RTing of Sarandon and others who were talking about the movie.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I’ve seen.

Media and Publicity

The movie debuted to pretty positive reviews at the Toronto Film Festival last year, earning praise both for writer/director Lorene Scafaria and for Sarandon. It later also showed up at the Tribeca Film Festival just before release.

the meddler pic 1

Sarandon was the focal point of the press, making appearances on “The Tonight Show” and elsewhere along with doing plenty of interviews and more. Scafaria also got at least one interview on her own where she was able to talk about the real-life inspiration for the story. Other than that press was generated by the release of marketing materials, clips and other assets.

Overall

It’s a nice little campaign that sells an amusing relationship drama about the boundaries that do or don’t lie between people and what exactly constitutes “helping.” The marketing focuses squarely on Sarandon and her character’s interactions with that of Byrne, but there are plenty of hints about a larger universe of people who Marnie in particular comes into contact with, sometimes explosively. In fact if you look at the trailer it almost looks like Byrne’s Lori kind of disappears for a third of the story as Marnie embarks on some adventures of her own.

But what I like about the campaign is that it seems to know exactly what it’s selling. There’s no big drama and there are no hints here at a “big” moment where one character breaks down into some Oscar-clip type diatribe. Instead the relationships between all the characters seems to just evolve and change – or not – at a gentle pace. I wish there were more here about some of the supporting cast but that’s a small gripe for a movie that looks like it’s all about the performances, particularly that of Sarandon, and that’s the big draw here.

 

Movie Marketing Madness: Truth

truth_xlgWe love procedurals. Medical, police or some combination of the two, there’s an allure in watching a group of qualified – or not, if that’s where the humor comes from individuals work a problem and uncover the truth behind a problem of some sort. That’s why there are, at any given time, dozens of courtroom, police or medical dramas on the air. There’s inherent tension in unlocking the mystery, moving from one clue to the next, including going down the occasional bad road, only to right the course and eventually come to the correct conclusion. The criminal is caught. The diseases is treated. All is right with the world. To some extent it’s wish-fulfillment as we look for signs of competency in the professions we put so much necessary trust in.

But occasionally those professionals get it wrong. That’s the real-life story of Truth. The movie recounts the events leading up to a report on 60 Minutes II in the lead-up to the 2004 Presidential election on the military service of incumbent nominee George W. Bush. The CBS team of anchor Dan Rather (played by Robert Redford), producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) and others discover what they believe to be evidence that Bush’s time in the National Guard had been embellished and falsified in an effort to keep him out of Vietnam. After reporting on the claims, though, it’s discovered the documents they relied on were falsified, resulting in a situation that included Rather resigning from the network.

The Posters

There’s nothing all that exciting about the movie’s one-sheet, which is a standard two-part design with Blanchett on the top half and Redford on the bottom. Much of the real estate at the top of the poster is given over to early accolades for the movie from some trade magazines while the middle strip that separates the actors lists the rest of the cast and houses the title treatment. It’s not the most exciting design, but the purpose here is to highlight Blanchett and Redford and it accomplishes that goal.

The Trailers

The trailer opens with Rather being vetted for some sort of award before his producer starts to lay out the story they’ll be investigating about Bush’s military record. But things quickly go south as more and more questions about the memos and other information start to be asked, causing lots of wringing of hands, hearings and more as the story continues to unravel.

It’s a good trailer, albeit a little dry. There’s no way to make a movie about not just investigative journalism but the explanation and investigation into investigative journalism all that pulse-pounding, that’s just a fact. But the trailer sells an adult drama featuring a solid cast that should appeal to not just fans of that kind of movie but also a liberal political audience ready to revisit some questions about the previous president.

Online and Social

The movie’s official website opens by playing the trailer, which you can close unless you want to watch it again (which I recommend).

After you do that a menu opens up at the top, the first section of which is “Synopsis” which shares a very detailed outline of the movie as well as the substantial credits of the talent involved. Because the movie has been screened for a while now and word-of-mouth is essential for titles like this, “Reviews” gets its own section containing a gallery of pull quotes from critics who have seen it at festivals and elsewhere.

truth pic 1

“Cast” has a list of all the major players in front of the camera and if you click their names you see again just how accomplished most of these actors are. Same deal with “Filmmakers,” but for those behind the camera.

“Who’s Who” is a nice touch and something that I like to see in these movies based on a true story. Segmented into four groups, you can read brief descriptions of the real life people portrayed in the movie. These aren’t super-detailed, but they at least give you some background if you’re looking for it.

Rounding out the site, “Gallery” has about 20 stills and “Trailer” just has the one trailer again.

The movie didn’t get its own social network profiles but it did tag along on Sony Classics’ core Twitter and Facebook pages, which featured stills, clips and other photos from the movie’s publicity and media blitz.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

I think there has been some online advertising done but I’m failing at pointing to anything specifically. But I’m pretty sure – sorry, that’s the best I can do – I’ve seen a couple banner ads here and there across the web.

There were also at least a couple TV spots run that focus mainly on the fallout from the report instead of the led up to it. It’s tight and dramatic, playing up the investigation that Rather and his team is subjected to.

Media and Publicity

When the movie debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival it got – in addition to other generally positive reviews – an endorsement from Dan Rather himself (THR, 9/14/15), who praised the film for its accuracy. 

As expected, the film’s impending release would bring the issue of 60 Minutes II’s reporting on the issue back to the spotlight, with the studio and producers of the film sparring with CBS executives on how much truth there is in the movie’s retelling.

truth pic 3

Blanchett would talk briefly about the film following an advance screening.

Overall

It’s not a huge, massively scaled campaign but that’s to be expected for a character-driven drama about a decade-old scandal about political journalism. But it hits the right notes by emphasizing the performances by Redford and Blachett as well as the tick-tock of how the story came together and then fell apart. If I were going to guess – and that’s what I do here – I’d say this is more or less exactly how the movie will play out. For fans of this kind of movie the trailer and rest of the campaign, while not the shiniest thing they’ll see, should connect well.