In the new movie Beach Rats Harris Dickinson plays Frankie, an aimless teen in Brooklyn with no real goals or ambitions for how he spends his time. He’s got a sort-of-girlfriend in Simone (Madeline Weinstein) but nothing serious. He’s also spending as much time as he can out of the house to escape the intrusions of his family.
His rebellion and questions about his own identity lead him into a lifestyle of visiting websites to arrange hookups with older men. That behavior becomes increasingly dangerous and erratic and winds up having consequences for his relationship with Simone and his life in general.
There’s not much to the first and only poster. It just shows Frankie and a group of guys, apparently on the beach because they’re all shirtless and one has a towel across his shoulders. The movie’s festival credentials are above the title and below it are a couple of quotes from critics praising the film. The audience can certainly get the gist of the kind of lifestyle Frankie is leading but there aren’t a lot of details on display here.
There’s not too much going on in the first teaser. It’s mostly just shots of a young shirtless man taking a mirror selfie, which we see only sporadically as text cards come on screen. At the end we see three guys standing on the beach, looking out over the ocean.
So it’s not so much about selling the story as it is making it clear what the subject matter is, which is that it’s about young men. That’s all that’s going on here.
The full trailer starts out by showing us how Frankie is just kind of messing around with life, hanging out with his friends and meeting girls. But there’s a secret he has, namely that he’s attracted to men and engages in all kinds of cruising and other activities that are becoming increasingly dangerous.
That’s about it for the trailer, which is more about setting the tone than fully explaining the story. There’s enough there for the audience to get the general sense of but the focus is on Dickinson’s performance as Frankie.
Online and Social
Full screen video of clips pulled from the trailer greet you as you load the movie’s official website. There’s not a whole lot of material here, though. Outside of the “Get Tickets” prompt and the encouragement to “Share” the site on social networks, there’s just “Videos” with the trailer and a clip and the “Synopsis” with a quick write-up of the story and a cast and crew list. There are also links to the movie’s own Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing in this category that I’m aware of. It’s too small to have warranted a big paid advertising spend of any sort or attracted any corporate partners.
Media and Publicity
The movie got pretty good buzz coming out of its premiere at Sundance. A few months after that screenwriter Eliza Hittman talked about the journey she took in creating the story.
Most of the press in the subsequent months has come from the release of marketing assets like trailers and clips, not from any concerted publicity activity.
Without a lot of activity in the months between Sundance and release, NEON is obviously putting a lot of weight on that festival buzz. It’s even been a while since the most recent trailer or poster were released, so there hasn’t been much of anything recently to keep the movie at the top of the audience’s mind. Without a big competing release this weekend it might be enough to succeed in whatever limited release window the studio has planned, but odds are good the vast majority of filmgoers aren’t aware this is coming out.
That being said, the small-scale campaign that’s been mounted isn’t bad. The focus seems to be on making the audience connect with Frankie and his atmosphere more than anything else. So we’re shown how his behavior changes depending on the situation he’s in and how that impacts some of the people around him. It’s not overt, preferring to establish mood than create strong personal connections, though. That may come off as cold to some, particularly without a familiar face to latch onto.