Many factors determine how successful (or unsuccessful) a movie will be, including release date, star power, awards, entertainment buzz, critic reviews, and even word-of-mouth. One of the most influential factors that, if executed correctly, can supersede these elements is the marketing of the movie. If a movie’s marketing campaign is able to create enough buzz before the movie debuts, then sometimes a movie doesn’t necessarily have to be “good” to be a top performer. For example, the movie “Suicide Squad,” which was released in August 2016, holds a low 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, it was the ninth-highest-grossing movie of the year in the United States, bringing in $325,100,054 domestically. Its highly viewed trailer and character posters created anticipation for the newest portrayal of the Joker by Jared Leto since Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight.” This marketing strategy was able to overcome bad reviews and poor word-of-mouth.
Another marketing campaign of a movie that was able to propel its success was “Deadpool.” The movie had generally positive reviews, unlike “Suicide Squad,” but the comedic advertising of “Deadpool” was able to get people interested in a comic book character that was relatively unknown by the general public. “Deadpool” had the biggest opening for an R-rated movie ever, ringing in $132.7 million.
Recently, the movie that everyone is talking about is “It.” This is in major part due to its marketing. After all, the trailer for “It” is currently the most-watched trailer ever. The trailer alone was a genius marketing tactic because of its use of nostalgia rooted from the 1990s “It” mini-series as well as references to the Stephen King novel that it is based on. Several themes are constant throughout the various marketing tools employed to promote the movie, such as the use of Pennywise the clown, a red balloon, and the phrase “You’ll float too.” These symbols appeared in the movie’s posters, trailers, virtual reality experiences, haunted houses, social media, and events like Comic-Con and movie premieres. This brand consistency strategy allowed the movie to become instantly recognizable. The marketing ended up creating a cultural event around the premiere of the movie, which led people to flock to the theater to see for themselves what all the hype was about. The opening weekend numbers for “It” turned out to be higher than anyone expected, earning $123.1 million. This is the biggest opening weekend for a horror movie and the biggest for the month of September ever.
While marketing can’t make a movie bulletproof against negative factors, it can help absorb the effect of bad press, negative reviews, or lack of familiarity.
By: Alex Toma, Creative Content Producer
Twitter Handle: @alextoma37