Picking Up the Spare: Ant-Man and The Wasp, Teen Titans Go! and More

Ant-Man and The Wasp

Marvel released a new video promoting the movie-themed sponsorship of Girls Who Code, the popular tech-based educational program. It shows director Peyton Reed and others speaking to groups about the science of the story and how important a STEM-based education is.

There was also a new interview with Hannah John-Kamen where she talks in particular about working with Michelle Pfeiffer.

Deadpool 2

One of the stunts pulled at Comic-Con was a Chuck E. Cheese-esque animatronic band with Deadpool and a bunch of animals playing “9 to 5” and you can see a promotional video for the group’s tour here. The panel with Ryan Reynolds and other members of the cast was as offensive as you’d expect.

Another round of Deadpool-themed alternate Blu-ray covers for other Fox movies is coming, some of which were also handed out at Comic-Con.

The Equalizer 2

More from costar Ashton Sanders on what it was like to work with Denzel Washington and learn from the veteran actor.

The IMAX poster is much cooler than what was used more generally, showing just Washington’s torso with a tie that takes the shape of Lady Justice.

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

The Regal Cinemas exclusive poster continues the meta theatrical theme by showing the Titans as well as a few other heroes – and Slade – sitting in the theater watching a movie.

Blindspotting

Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal appeared together on “The Daily Show” to talk about creating the movie and what the story meant to them. They’re also interviewed here about how there’s a slight surge in the number of movies, including their own, set in the Bay Area.

Another TV spot that plays up the critical acclaim the movie has accumulated.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot

Another substantive feature interview with director Gus Van Sant here about how the film fits into his overall body of work.

Eighth Grade

Both director Bo Burnham and star Elsie Fisher have showed up on more late night talk shows, with Burnham appearing on “Seth Myers” and Fisher appearing on “Kimmel.”

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Lily James talks here about how she got an American accent down and how she studied Meryl Streep’s line readings from the first movie to mimic her speaking patterns as much as possible.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Lots more official featurettes have been released, including an IMAX Q&A with director Christopher McQuarrie, and character-specific profiles of Simon Pegg, Henry Cavill and Angela Bassett.

Bassett also joined Tom Cruise on “The Late Late Show” while Cavill popped up on “Kimmel” to talk about stunts and other aspects of making the movie. Meanwhile costar Vanessa Kirby, who wasn’t a huge part of the main campaign, was interviewed about the stunts (of course) and her decision to join the franchise.

Extinction

Star Michael Pena stopped by “Colbert” but only got a plug for the movie in briefly at the end of the interview.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Picking Up the Spare: Ant-Man and The Wasp, Deadpool 2 and More

Ant-Man and The Wasp

The movie’s successful opening weekend let it run a “#1 movie in the world” TV spot to tout how well it was received.

The search for Janet Van Dyne was almost completely missing from the campaign but now that the movie is out, Marvel released this short video emphasizing it and focusing the Quantum Realm where she disappeared years ago.

Deadpool 2

Fox is promoting the release of the “Uncut” home video release with both a TV spot and a recently-announced screening at San Diego Comic-Con next week. That home video release will include a children’s book that’s absolutely unfit for children.

Also at SDCC, LEGO will be giving away an exclusive “Sheriff Deadpool” minifigure that’s not specifically tied to the movie but is still part of everyone’s general promotions for Deadpool.

Leave No Trace

There’s a new TV spot designed to show off some of the positive reviews the movie has received and help it build on very solid word of mouth.

Avengers: Infinity War

The 10th anniversary celebration that was tied to the movie’s release continues with the release of 10 more character posters to mark the occasion.

Skyscraper

Costar Bryon Mann has received a bit more attention in the last few days, with a couple interviews that let him talk about his career, working in his home city of Hong Kong as well as the movie specifically.

Dwayne Johnson started making the late night talk show rounds in the last couple days, including an appearance on “Colbert.”

Hotel Transylvania 3

Kathryn Hahn has made a few media appearances recently, showing up on “Kimmel” to tell stories and promote the movie a bit.

Blade Runner 2049

The movie itself didn’t take off to massive success, but it apparently opened the door to new stories that will be told in comics and books.

Eighth Grade

There’s been a whole wave of stories about writer/director Bo Burnham and his mission to get the movie made and tell the story in a realistic and respectful way. You can see instances of this on Indiewire, Buzzfeed, Variety just to name a few.

The Kissing Booth

The New York Times goes into why the movie has turned out to be so popular, including how Netflix tried to not overhype it.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Picking Up the Spare: Woman Walks Ahead, The Greatest Showman and More

Woman Walks Ahead

Another feature with star Michael Greyeyes where he once again talks about the kinds of Native American character roles he’s offered and how he sees this movie as being a great example of specific representation of a Native culture, not just something vague.

The Greatest Showman

Not only does the movie’s soundtrack continue to go gangbusters on the chart but there’s apparently another album coming later this year featuring pop artists covering some of the songs from the film.

Uncle Drew

Good background story here on how the movie got made, acknowledging that films and TV shows based on commercial campaigns aren’t always the most universally successful.

Ant-Man and The Wasp

There have been a number of additional TV commercials like this one released in the last few days, all of which hope to sell the audience on a funny, light-hearted summer action movie. There are also spots like this that hit just today and which play up the shocking ending of the movie.

Marvel Studios also released a fun “Tiny BBQ” video to mark the Fourth of July.

One narrative that has been picked up in the last few days is that this is the first MCU movie where a female character shares top-billing with the male hero, something addressed here as Evangeline Lilly talks more about crafting a character little girls could relate to and connect with.

Another profile of Hannah John-Kamen, who plays the villain Ghost, where she talks about how a recommendation from Steven Spielberg helped her land this role and Peyton Reed helped her create the new version of the character.

There was a special poster created for Real 3D screenings of the first movie and this new one as a double feature. The poster shows both Ant-Man and Wasp seeking cover behind a coin that has “Opening night fan event on it.”

Peyton Reed covers a whole range of issues here, including his reaction to how offended some idiots were by Wasp receiving equal billing in the movie’s title. And the NYT covers how the filmmakers consulted with scientists to bring at least a bit of believability to the goings-on at the same time it offered a quick interview with Rudd.

Sorry to Bother You

Lakeith Stanfield received a substantial profile in The New York Times covering how he’s made a decent career to date by playing off-kilter characters.

There’s also been lots more coverage of writer/director Boots Riley, including this feature where he talks tech and this one where he weighs in on the role activism should play in the life of the artist.

I, Tonya

While it’s not directly tied to this movie, the interest and attention it received presumably lead NEON to acquire the old documentary “Sharp Edges” about Tonya Harding prior to her gaining national notoriety. Still, it’s somewhat surprising given the backlash to the movie centered around the questionable decision to make the villain in the story sympathetic while almost completely ignoring the victim.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Ant-Man and the Wasp – Marketing Recap

ant man and the wasp posteI don’t hit this point very hard in my Hollywood Reporter recap of the marketing campaign for Ant-Man and The Wasp, but it’s important to remember that the first Ant-Man in 2015 shouldn’t have been, and wasn’t expected to be, a box-office hit.

While the character has a long and rich history over 50+ years of comics stories, the name is kind of silly, a product of the 1960s when push-button technology was just starting to break out of the realm of science fiction. So trying to make a big-screen action adventure starring him was a gamble, not to mention how the casting of Paul Rudd in the title role very clearly identified the movie as a comedy, something that was still unproven despite the success of Guardians of the Galaxy the year before.

Also working against that first movie was the behind-the-scenes drama, namely the last-minute exit of writer/director Edgar Wright, who’d been involved in developing the movie for years only to leave just before production started citing disagreement with the studio on the tone and vision. That’s the kind of thing that has scuttled other movies, putting a persistent cloud over the release that shades all further coverage and even impacts reviews.

It was successful, though, even if it didn’t hit the heights of other Marvel Studios releases. Rudd reprised his role in Captain America: Civil War and now has costar Evangeline Lilly finally suiting up as his partner in crime-fighting, Michael Douglas returning as Hank Pym and Michelle Pfeiffer joining as his lost wife Janet Van Dyne.

Online and Social

There isn’t much happening on Marvel’s official website for the movie, which just has the usual collection of trailers, posters, stills and links to both promotional partners and the social profiles established for the film. It’s alright, it’s just not going to blow anyone’s doors off.

Media and Publicity

A series of stills, including a photo showing Lilly in full hero costume was released by Disney during D23 last year. Rudd spoke briefly about the film on other occasions while promoting other projects, including while at Sundance for the premiere of The Catcher Was a Spy.

During the Avengers: Infinity War press cycle Lilly also talked about this film, explaining that the story revolved around the search for Janet Van Dyne. After that movie was released Disney/Marvel started shifting the focus and began explaining, to clear up audience confusion, that this one takes place during the events of Infinity War and that’s why neither Scott nor Hope are over there fighting Thanos.

The press tour started a couple weeks prior to release as Lilly showed up on “Kimmel” and then went on to call out male actors for being too used to comfortable fashion. Rudd has shown up on TV several times to talk about the movie specifically as well as his career in general.

The movie’s premiere allowed Reed to talk about the story and what approach he took with gender-swapping Ghost, a topic explored more in-depth in a feature story with comments by everyone from John-Kamen to the movie’s writers to the creators of the character’s comic incarnation. Reed also mentioned how much stronger Lilly’s work ethic was than Rudd’s. A later interview allowed the director to share how he was able to convince Pfieffer to return to comic book movies.

IMAX offered a few more exclusive videos, including a TV spot, a goofy video featuring a tiny Paul Rudd and an interview with Reed in addition to what they’d already released. Marvel also promoted the animated shorts featuring Ant-Man that were produced for Disney XD.

Overall

What struck me from the outset of the campaign is how much the studio has worked hard to position this as a movie starring The Wasp just as much as Ant-Man. She played a big role in the very first trailer and has been a big presence throughout the push, especially on the publicity circuit and in the TV ads. Marvel Studios obviously wants to play up her role, presumably as another example of how it really does want to bring more female heroes to the forefront.

Taken in whole, the movie is being sold more or less in the same way the first one was, which is a good thing since that worked. If there’s anything about it that makes me scratch my head it’s that the attitude taken toward how closely to tie this release to Infinity War seems inconsistent and a bit confusing, moving from “Nope, it’s totally its own thing” to “Oh yeah, there’s lots of connective material.” That likely won’t impact its success to any great extent, but it is a bit questionable.

I also question why there wasn’t more of a focus on the search for Janet in the Quantum Realm. That seems like it would give the story a more personal appeal, making the stakes for everyone more real and concrete than whatever vaguely-defined scheme The Ghost has. Mostly I just wish there were more Michelle Pfeiffer, or that there were more of an effort to tie this into her recent wave of high-profile releases that signal a return to prominence in the movie world.

PICKING UP THE SPARE

There have been a number of additional TV commercials like this one released in the last few days, all of which hope to sell the audience on a funny, light-hearted summer action movie. There are also spots like this that hit just today and which play up the shocking ending of the movie.

Marvel Studios also released a fun “Tiny BBQ” video to mark the Fourth of July.

One narrative that has been picked up in the last few days is that this is the first MCU movie where a female character shares top-billing with the male hero, something addressed here as Evangeline Lilly talks more about crafting a character little girls could relate to and connect with.

Another profile of Hannah John-Kamen, who plays the villain Ghost, where she talks about how a recommendation from Steven Spielberg helped her land this role and Peyton Reed helped her create the new version of the character.

There was a special poster created for Real 3D screenings of the first movie and this new one as a double feature. The poster shows both Ant-Man and Wasp seeking cover behind a coin that has “Opening night fan event on it.”

Peyton Reed covers a whole range of issues here, including his reaction to how offended some idiots were by Wasp receiving equal billing in the movie’s title. And the NYT covers how the filmmakers consulted with scientists to bring at least a bit of believability to the goings-on at the same time it offered a quick interview with Rudd.

The movie’s successful opening weekend let it run a “#1 movie in the world” TV spot to tout how well it was received.

The search for Janet Van Dyne was almost completely missing from the campaign but now that the movie is out, Marvel released this short video emphasizing it and focusing the Quantum Realm where she disappeared years ago.

Marvel released a new video promoting the movie-themed sponsorship of Girls Who Code, the popular tech-based educational program. It shows director Peyton Reed and others speaking to groups about the science of the story and how important a STEM-based education is.

There was also a new interview with Hannah John-Kamen where she talks in particular about working with Michelle Pfeiffer.