There’s a Reason Solo: A Star Wars Story is Still Coming Out In May

There’s a Reason Solo: A Star Wars Story is Still Coming Out In May

He and Chewie have been in tight scrapes before, but nothing like this.

I’ve written repeatedly in the last couple years about how Disney’s release plan for the Star Wars films, at least those after 2015’s relaunch with The Force Awakens, is executed on a consolidated schedule compared to many other blockbuster franchises. In each case, the marketing for the next movie has to wait until the release window for the previous one is fully closed. So Rogue One’s campaign didn’t begin until The Force Awakens was on home video. The Last Jedi’s didn’t start until Rogue One was on home video.

With each movie coming out in December and the home video release generally happening in May, that’s just a seven month window for the marketing to operate within. That’s unusual in today’s marketplace, where IP-driven franchise films routinely have trailers drop a year or more out from release. It keeps the potential for audience confusion and burnout down, though, since the public only has to focus on one Star Wars movie at a time.

Precedent is about to be broken with this May’s release of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

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New To Home Video: Blade Runner 2049, Happy Death Day, The Snowman

New To Home Video: Blade Runner 2049, Happy Death Day, The Snowman

Blade Runner 2049

blade runner 2049 poster imaxThe 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.

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12 Strong – Marketing Recap

12 Strong – Marketing Recap

12 strong poster 2While the mission has become somewhat fuzzier and more ambiguous over the years, our initial goal in sending military to Afghanistan was to quickly and definitively rain hell down on the Taliban in the wake of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks. That story, of when everything was righteous and pure, is being told in this week’s new release 12 Strong, based on the book “Horse Soldiers” by Doug Stanton, which tells the non-fiction version of these events.

Chris Hemsworth, Trevante Rhodes, Michael Shannon, Michael Pena and others all star as members of an elite squad who went overseas as the pointy end of the knife, a small force that could be flexible and lethal, acting as America’s strong right hand. Once in-country they find the situation is even more unexpected than planned. Operating without support or infrastructure, the group finds themselves needing to work with a tribal warlord whose allegiance is questionable and facing opposition sporting significantly more firepower than the horses and rifles they’re using.

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Bullitt – Flashback Marketing

Bullitt – Flashback Marketing

Yesterday at the Detroit Auto Show, Ford Motor Company made news in both the auto and film press when it announced the 2019 Mustang Bullitt, a new take on the 1968 Mustang Fastback that plays as much of a starring role in the movie Bullitt as Steven McQueen. Here’s the description of the car, via USA Today:

The special model, due out this summer, will be available only in Shadow Black or Dark Highland Green. It has a 5-liter V-8 engine that packs at least 475 horsepower and tops out at 163 miles per hour – an 8 mph increase over the latest Mustang GT.

mustang bullitt 2018

I want to go to there. I was raised a Chevy Guy, but the Mustang is the one Ford make deemed acceptable to cross religious affiliation lines for.

The news – including the fact that the release of the new model is timed for the 50th anniversary of the film – is enough of an excuse to spend some time looking back at Bullitt’s marketing, especially with an eye on how big a role the car played in that campaign.

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Step Sisters – Marketing Recap

Step Sisters – Marketing Recap

step sisters posterThere are so many movies about how a ragtag group of moderately-talented individuals has to come together as a team or unit to win the big game or whatever that it’s a genre unto itself. Into that field steps this week’s Netflix-original Step Sisters. Megan Echikunwoke plays Jamilah, a driven college senior with ambitions to attend Harvard Law School and embark on a gloriously-successful career. She’s put everything else on hold, including participating in the step dance team she’s long been a part of.

Her plans are interrupted when a sorority full of entitled white girls embarrasses the university she attends. Jamilah is coerced by the dean of the school to help rehabilitate the school’s image by turning those sorority girls into a champion dance crew of their own. While she has an ally in Beth (Eden Sher from “The Middle”), that’s about the only one she can count on. Jamilah hides her coaching activities from her friends and is frustrated by the lack of rhythm, coordination and teamwork by the girls she’s trying to help.

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What Are 2018’s Most Anticipated Movies?

What Are 2018’s Most Anticipated Movies?

Last week at Adweek I published a piece about the top 10 movies of 2018. Here’s that list, which is based on marketing technology firm Amobee’s analysis of online conversations and engagement with those conversations.

  1. Black Panther
  2. Aquaman
  3. Avengers: Infinity War
  4. Deadpool 2
  5. Venom
  6. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  7. Ant-Man and the Wasp
  8. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  9. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  10. Mission: Impossible 6

As I note in the post, there are a few things going on with that list.

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Reginald Hudlin – Director Overiew

Reginald Hudlin – Director Overiew

Last year when I was reviewing the campaign for Marshall I was a bit surprised to see it was directed by Reginald Hudlin. That was a name I realized I hadn’t really caught in a few years. Looking into what he’s been up to a bit yielded an even bigger surprise: That he hadn’t directed a feature film 15 years. He hasn’t been idle, directing a lot of TV in that time, but here was one of the brightest, most promising directors of the early 1990s and he can’t get a feature gig? It was an important reminder that while we are absolutely having a necessary conversation about the opportunities given to women we also need to be mindful that men and women of color are often shut out of “mainstream” entertainment opportunities as well.

Since I didn’t get to it at the time around Marshall’s release, I’m taking this opportunity to correct and oversight and look at the trailers for Hudlin’s feature directorial work. While the movies may not always be revered as classics, he certainly had a knack for quick-witted comedy, though he was too often asked to try to serve a trend or movement Hollywood was trying to make happen despite all logic. Thankfully he seems to be gaining a bit of theatrical momentum, with last year’s Marshall and the news he would be directing Shadowman, an adaptation of a Valiant Comics character. So using that as an excuse to take a look at the director’s history to date, let’s dive in.

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The Polka King – Marketing Recap

The Polka King – Marketing Recap

polka king posterBased on a true story, The Polka King stars Jack Black as true-life Pennsylvania polka band leader Jan Lewan. Lewan was a self-made entrepreneur who was a musician, a business owner and an all-around good guy. He offered people the opportunity to invest in his operations and used that money to expand into new fields.

Except none of it was legal. At least not the investing part. When Lewan comes under investigation for fraud he panics, determined to keep his empire afloat. The movie also stars Jenny Slate as Marla, Lewan’s wife and Jason Schwartzman as Mickey, a musician in Lewan’s band and his best friend. Notably, the movie arrives on Netflix at the same time as the documentary showing the *actual* Lewan and detailing roughly the same events offered here.

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Movies Are Stuck Without Playlists

Movies Are Stuck Without Playlists

One of the unique trends of the downloadable and streaming media age is the playlist. If you want to go back to the foundational DNA of the playlist you can find it in mixtapes and other personally-curated media that began decades ago. Online access and social media means those playlists aren’t just shared with one friend you made a special collection for but with the world.

Playlists are common in the music world. Over a decade ago iTunes started letting users create playlists of the music they had purchased or added from their physical CD collection. You could get all your favorite running music in one place and not have to worry about it for two hours. You could get all 400 songs from your favorite band on one long-running list. You could pull out of of George Harrison’s contributions to The Beatles in a way a record company would never in a million years consider. It was great.

So where are the movie playlists?

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