Blade Runner 2049
The theatrical campaign for the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic original received one of the most innovative, interesting campaigns of 2017, selling the audience on the promise of returning to a world still filled with mysteries and secrets to explore and reveal. There was an emphasis by Warner Bros. to sell the attitude and vibe of the film as opposed to any specific story points, which was part of the strategy to keep as many spoilers out of the conversation as possible.
While that campaign didn’t really connect with fans, it’s entirely possible that now that it’s on home video it will find a broader audience more willing to give it a shot and see what they missed in theaters.
Happy Death Day
The quick (and kind of lazy) logline on this was that it was Groundhog Day but with teen melodrama and murder. Jessica Rothe plays Tree, a college student who keeps reliving the same day over and over again: The day she’s killed. She remembers what’s happened to her from each incarnation and is doomed to keep looping over and over again until she finds out who her murderer is.
While I don’t think there was any great groundswell for the movie at the time, it went on to score over $25m at the box-office, handily recouping its reported $4m budget. Blumhouse Pictures knows how to sell these and I’m sure both those who enjoyed it in theaters and those who waited for home video will be on board.
This movie…did not win many fans. It was derided by critics upon release for being nearly incomprehensible and the victim of a clear lack of script or story direction. It tanked at the box office, due in large part to most everyone, including star Michael Fassbender, either ignoring or actively distancing themselves from the project.
On the plus side, you have to stand up and take note of how the marketing created something recognizable. The teaser poster, shown here, of a hand-drawn snowman figure alongside the murderer’s taunting note to police, became a pretty pervasive social media meme for a couple weeks, with everyone adding their own text or otherwise simply phrasing their Tweets in the same manner. So yeah for branding, even if it was in service of a lousy movie.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.