How Netflix has sold a drama about vacation gone wrong.
The Weekend Away, new this week on Netflix, is based on the Sarah Alderson novel of the same name. In the movie, Leighton Meester plays Beth, a woman who goes with her friend Kate (Christina Wolfe) on a vacation to Croatia. When Kate mysteriously disappears after a night on the town, Beth has to reconstruct what happened and who might have killed Kate.
The original film arrives at the same time a certain Caped Crusader hits theaters following a massive campaign, making this the closest thing to “counter-programming” we are likely to see these days.
So let’s take a look at how it’s been sold.
the marketing campaign
Netflix announced Meester had joined as star of the film in June 2021.
As the trailer (2.7m YouTube views), released in February, begins, we see that Kate is the one who worked to convince Beth to get away from her life and family and go on vacation together. After a night of drinks and dancing Kate goes missing and is soon found dead and Beth is the primary suspect. So she has to go on the run and find out what happened while piecing together the events of the last night they spent together.
There’s not much communicated on the one poster that was released. It just shows Beth staring in disbelief a Zain (Ziad Bakr), the cab driver that helps her elude authorities an uncover the truth. It’s pretty bland, but seems primarily designed to show off Meester in the starring role so succeeds on that front.
Meester shared some of her movie favorites and more in a short video released by Netflix earlier this week.
Kate is being grilled by the police in a clip released just days ago, made to feel uncomfortable because her memory of the night in question is so fuzzy.
Compared to The Batman, this is an almost non-existent marketing push. It’s not bad as it positions the movie pretty well for what it’s meant to be, but with just a couple elements and almost no press activity it’s substantially smaller in scale.
That leads me to believe that, since as I mentioned earlier this is essentially counter-programming to the big blockbuster hitting theaters, Netflix is counting less on this campaign to raise awareness and more on the in-app promotions and recommendations. The goal then is to drive immediate action instead of long-term interest. It wants people who are staying home this weekend to turn on Netflix to find *something* to watch and decide this looks like a good enough way to spend a couple hours. And all without the hassle or expense of a trip out.