Don’t Let Go – Marketing Recap

Blumhouse and others have made sure to tie the movie to Get Out as much as possible.

dont let go posterJack (David Oyelowo) is a man haunted by tragedy in the new movie Don’t Let Go. He’s still dealing with the fact that his family was recently killed in what was believed to be a murder. There’s enough there to deal with on its own but things get even stranger when he begins getting phone calls from one of the victims – his niece Ashley (Storm Reid) – that make him wonder if she’s still alive or if he’s going crazy.

It turns out those calls are somehow coming from two weeks in the past, giving Jack the hope that somehow he can help her and everyone else escape their tragic faith. That quest gives him courage to keep going but also brings its own set of emotional complications and problems that have him questioning everything around him.

The Posters

The colored photos of Jack and Ashley blend into each other on the one-sheet with crime scene tape wrapped around the two of them. It’s an image meant to convey to the audience how one reality is bleeding into the other in ways that make reality hard to discern. It also creates a sense of confusion in that the pink and purple shades are a little off-putting, bright and eye-catching but also difficult to feel comfortable with.

The Trailers

The first trailer (55,000 views on YouTube) didn’t come out until July, the same time the movie was retitled and finally given a distribution date. It starts by showing how Jack and Ashley have a relationship all their own, frequently talking on the phone and hanging out. When she calls one day he overhears the attack that kills her and the rest of his family, an attack he’s too late to stop. While grieving he gets another call from her that seems insane, but it turns out she’s calling from the past, so he tries to warn her about what’s coming and get her to change things. That leads them both on a path that’s just as dangerous as the attack he’s trying to save her and the others from.

Online and Social

Not much of interest on the movie’s official website, just the basic materials and links to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles. The Twitter feed is particularly interesting since, in recent days, it’s been engaging in a kind of real-time walk-through of the story’s premise, asking what people would do if they found themselves in a situation like Jack’s. Not particularly engaging, but notable.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Earlier this year the movie – known at that point as Relive – debuted to mixed reviews and reactions at the Sundance Film Festival. Just last month it was renamed to its current title at the same time a distribution deal with Blumhouse Tilt (a skunkworks division of Blumhouse Productions), OTL Releasing and Briarcliff Entertainment.

Blumhouse and the others have brought the movie to various advance screenings in the last few weeks, most of which have been attended by Oyelowo and others from the cast and crew, including Ava DuVernay, who has worked with both Oyelowo and Reid and turned out to be a big supporter of the film. One event was hosted at the National Association of Black Journalists to make a specific appeal to that group and get the press on board as supporters.

Media and Publicity

A first look still from the movie was released at the same time it as the announcement of its Sundance screening. While there the cast spoke about the kinds of changes the script and project went through while in production.

Oyelowo was interviewed about how he got involved in the project and what he thought of the story. Reid made an appearance a few weeks ago on “Late Night” to talk about the movie.

Overall

There’s a lot about the campaign that’s intriguing, particularly the performances of Oyelowo and Reid as the time-separated pair working to keep the future from happening. The story may seem a bit familiar – similar ground was covered in the recent See You Yesterday – but that doesn’t mean writer/director Jacob Estes isn’t doing something original with the movie.

One constant element in the marketing is the reminder to the audience that this one comes from the producers of Get Out. It’s not the first time a new horror film has made that connection, so it seems Jordan Peele’s groundbreaking movie now serves as a key touchpoint for any new release featuring a primarily black cast in a scary story. That may not be enough to get the attention of audiences, who seem to be taking some time off before the fall season really gets underway.

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