How Netflix has sold its young adult mystery sequel
Millie Bobby Brown returns in the title role in Enola Holmes 2, out this week on Netflix. In the sequel to the surprise 2020 hit and still based on Nancy Springer’s series of books, Enola has decided to hang out her own shingle as a detective for hire. She’s enlisted by a young girl who works in a matchstick factory to find her missing sister. Soon Enola discovers she’s working on a different part of the same case being investigated by her older brother Sherlock (Henry Cavill).
Louis Partridge returns as Viscount Tewkesbury, a young man Enola frequently encounters and sometimes needs help from in her adventures around London. Helena Bonham Carter is also back as Eudora Holmes, who disappeared years ago but who trained Enola for the day she’d be on her own. Others from the first movie are back as well, as is director Harry Bradbeer.
Let’s recap the campaign Netflix has run.
announcement and casting
Netflix announced the sequel to much acclaim, especially because both Brown and Cavill were slated to return, in May 2021. In September during that year;s TUDUM virtual event it revealed Louis Partridge would be back as Tewkesbury.
The end of filming was marked in January, 2022 when Netflix shared a short video.
Footage from the film was included in Netflix’s 2022 feature film preview back in February.
the marketing campaign
Things kicked off in August when a batch of stills was released.
Brown took part in this year’s TUDUM event to hype the film and introduce the first trailer (5.4m YouTube views). It starts with Enola being chased by the police before stopping to explain what’s happening. We see how she’s started her own agency and gets involved in the case of the missing girl and from there things get crazy as she once more defies everyone’s expectations for how she should act in order to make her own life as well as solve the mystery.
We see Enola standing and looking quite pleased with herself behind the door of her agency on the poster that came out at the same time.
The second trailer (2.1m YouTube views) came out in early October. It uses different footage but sells the same basic idea, that Enola is once again in over her head but refuses to give in or give up despite everyone telling her to do just that. We see a bit more of her working with Sherlock and enlisting the help of Tewkesbury as it again sells a high-energy, fast-moving and funny good time.
The poster that accompanied that trailer uses the same collage style as the one-sheet for the first movie, placing cutouts of the main characters against a pasted-together backdrop of the London skyline with a few codes and maps thrown in to add to the sense of mystery.
A clip showing Enola reluctantly convincing Tewksbury to teach her to dance came out a couple weeks later.
Shortly after that came a series of posters showing all the main characters, all of which also feature some form of pun or other play on words as part of describing that character.
Brown appeared on “Kimmel” to promote the film and engage in some hijinks with her “Stranger Things” costar Noah Schnapp.
Netflix brought the cast and crew out for the premiere at the end of October. At that premiere the stars commented on the story of the movie, how they worked out having Enola break the fourth wall, the unique place these stories hold in the overall Holmes landscape and more.
Like the campaign for the first movie, this marketing push is just a lot of fun. There’s a light entertaining attitude and vibe throughout the campaign that makes it look like it will be just as enjoyable as the first one was. And it maintains much of the branding established in the first campaign, creating a nice sense of continuity for the audience.
Much of that attitude comes from the stars. Brown is *so* much more fun and charming when she’s not weighed down by the pressures of “Stranger Things” where she can’t discuss plot details or get too casual lest something be spoiled. And as much as Cavill was sidetracked by discussion of his returning as Superman in Black Adam recently, he’s infinitely more engaging here (and elsewhere) when not constrained by the demands of the DC Universe.