Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Marketing Recap

You can read my full recap of the marketing campaign for Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood at The Hollywood Reporter.

Online and Social

Aside from one element (mentioned in my THR recap), the website for the movie is the standard now used these days where the focus is more on selling tickets while offering just basic marketing content like trailers and stills.

Media and Press

Robbie shared a first look at herself as Tate in early August, a few weeks after the first promotional still featuring Pitt and DiCaprio was released, a still that unsurprisingly was later shown to be slightly edited.

Tarantino originally cast Burt Reynolds in an undisclosed role, but when the star passed away last year Bruce Dern was brought in to take up the mantle. The movie was also the last feature role for Luke Perry, something costar Olyphant spoke about.

A batch of first-look photos was released in late January with another set coming a couple months later.

How the production team recreated old Los Angeles was the subject of a feature profile. Around the same time, Tarantino revealed more information on some of the characters in the movie and what their motivations and backgrounds were and are. The movie’s producers offered similar information on the characters, noting this wasn’t really a movie about Charles Manson. They and others spoke about how important the role was for the late Luke Perry. Later on another feature was run that talked again about the production’s work to recreate the Hollywood of the past.

The interviews with the cast and crew while at Cannes included a profile of Tarantino, Pitt and DiCaprio as well as a panel conversation with the director and cast where they addressed questions about the film’s depiction of women (and Tarantino’s attitudes toward female characters as a whole), the amount of screen time allotted to Robbie and more. On that latter point, Tarantino seemed to turn a bit testy, rejecting the idea out of hand. He also hinted there could be a longer cut of the movie he might edit before it hits theaters.

That conversation may have been at least partly behind Robbie being the subject of a Vogue cover story in June that touched on this movie and more aspects of her career.

A bit later Tarantino was interviewed on the Pure Cinema podcast and talked about the inspiration for this movie and what it is he wanted to do with the story. He also admitted to not contacting director Roman Polanski about Tate, to whom he was married at the time the movie’s story is set, justifying his decision by saying he did the research and didn’t need anyone’s permission. He also said Robbie was his first and only choice to pay Tate while “everyone” wanted to play Cliff, the role that eventually went to Pitt, and reminisced on working with Perry in his final filmed role.

The cast and director stopped by “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on their way to the premiere Monday night to engage in some hijinks and promote the film to that audience.

Toward the end of the press cycle a narrative emerged that DiCaprio appearing in this movie is apt given he’s a throwback to a different kind of movie star. While I question the premise, it was helpful for Sony to have this come around as it made his involvement more special and notable, helping to raise its cache among entertainment journalists and those who follow them.

Details emerged just before release about the role filmed by James Marsden but cut from the final film.

Qualley talked about the movie when she appeared on “The Tonight Show” earlier this week.

Overall

Picking Up the Spare

An L.A. billboard for the movie was defiled by someone looking to make a point about some high profile sex offenders. That strong position is understandable given they say they were abused themselves. 

Kurt Russell was interviewed about how he not only appeared on-screen but also helped Tarantino keep the period feel of the story real. And Tarantino admitted to being a little nervous directing Pacino. Qualley spoke about the experience of shooting with Tarantino and the rest of the cast. 

There were quite a few additional stories like this that covered the production design work in recreating the Hollywood of decades past. And that’s not even mentioning the dozens of features that have explored the reality of the actual actors portrayed in the movie. And there’s been plenty of coverage of Sony’s efforts to woo Tarantino who was without his usual patron. 

No surprise, but New Beverly Cinema in L.A. – owned by Tarantino – featured a whole experience related to the movie that includes props, costumes and more. 

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