You’ll find the usual marketing material on the movie’s official website, which uses the key art of the cast standing and looking tough throughout.
Media and Press
A brief interview with Ritchie accompanied the first look photo released just before the first trailer dropped.
Most of the cast, including McConaughey, Grant, Hunnam, Golding and Strong all made various appearances on late night and early morning talk shows, with the first two showing up together to banter on “The Tonight Show” late last week.
STX released a short behind the scenes video showing the creation of the “weed portrait” outdoor execution, with an artist making a sign out of different parts of the cannabis plant. Another video showed off the fan-created posters submitted in response to a call for movie-inspired artwork.
"Here's a bunch of attractive men all sporting beards and wearing nothing but knit sweaters and twead jackets."
The former Special Forces operatives at the heart of Triple Frontier have had enough of being underappreciated by the country they defended. Directed by J.C. Chandor, the story follows five disgruntled specialists who, tired of having to scrape by after dedicating their lives to public service, decide to to use some of the intel they’ve gathered for their own benefit.
To that end they set out to rob the estate of a notorious South American drug lord. Determined to get what they can so they can retire in some comfort, they face the reality that they are out on their own for the first time without a sanctioning country and military at their back. That means when the mission goes south they have no one to rely on but themselves. The movie features an all-star cast including Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Pedro Pascal, Garrett Hedlund and…not…Garrett Hedlund.
The primary poster sets up the story pretty effectively, showing all five of the specialists who are engaging in the heist walking toward the camera in full gear and with bags – presumably full of money – in their hands. The green foliage shown in that photo as well as in the title treatment establish the setting while the movie’s creative bonafides are communicated by name-dropping Chandor’s previous well-known films.
Character one-sheets showed all five ex-soldiers who embark on the mission along with Adria Arjona, who plays a character who’s ill-defined by the marketing.
The beginning of the first trailer from last December is much like many others, focusing on a core team of special operators who are about to embark on a mission so dangerous they’re being given an out. Text shown over the footage, combined with the briefing being given by Davis, explains that they’re about to try and steal a massive amount of money from a drug cartel and that this operation is a robbery, not a sanctioned mission. After this they’ll be on their own. But they’re willing to take that risk because they feel they’ve been left on the side by the military they swore allegiance to.
The second trailer, which debuted on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” shows how it’s Garcia that recruits the team, playing on the money problems and overall dissatisfaction the rest of the team are experiencing. There’s more of the same setup from the first trailer, but we see that the mission goes south unexpectedly, leading the team to have to improvise and make harder choices than they expected to just to survive.
Online and Social
While there wasn’t an official website, Netflix did create at least a Twitter account for the movie which it used to share the same sort of videos, links and other information other movie profiles offer.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Online ads used shots and video elements of the main actors, all in full combat gear, to sell the movie as a star-studded action film.
The movie sponsored a special basketball draft event from online betting site DraftKings
Media and Publicity
The movie was originally set up at Paramount, which dropped the project in 2017, at which point Netflix picked it up and moved forward with a different cast and crew.
Isaac, Affleck and others were all featured in a story including a first look still from the movie. Affleck showed up on “Kimmel” to talk about the movie and, as mentioned before, debut the second trailer. The actor also spoke about Netflix and how he saw it as the future of film distribution and viewing while he and Hunnam appeared on “The Today Show” to talk about the story.
The Playlist hosted an exclusive piece from the movie’s soundtrack composed by Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. Chandor revealed in an interview just before release that he found a rescue dog while filming, as did other members of the crew.
An exclusive clip hosted by IGN showed a pivotal moment from the story as the characters make an important decision about the mission. That site also interviewed the whole cast and crew, while Hedlund went solo to try and distill the movie’s story for audiences.
Honestly the most exciting part of the campaign is that the movie comes from director J.C. Chandor, who has a track record of crafting tight, emotional stories around a simple premise. He’s not a big part of the marketing push, which isn’t surprising given the star power on display here, but he’s still noticeable as the latest in a strong of high-profile directors working with Netflix on original features.
Outside of that, the campaign sells an emotionally conflicted action drama that has the potential to not only tell a harrowing story but also one the focuses on how treats its veterans and how they feel neglected (at best) following their years of service. There are some good visual elements to the marketing that are a mark above what Netflix usually offers in terms of effort, another sign they see treating talent well (including a limited theatrical release) as a key tactic in their long-term strategy.
Picking Up the Spare
Netflix released a featurette on the music from a key sequence in the movie and one that focused on the work out costar Adria Arjona did to get in shape for the production.
Isaac showed up on “The Tonight Show” to talk about the movie but of course the conversation turned to Star Wars. He and Pascal also did one of those Wired features about frequent web searches about them.
Chandor was interviewed about the lessons the movie offered to himself and the audience. He also offered his thoughts on working with Netflix and how he got involved with the project.
There was also renewed discussion of the long road the project took before finally being filmed.
Affleck spoke about the movie and other aspects of his career.
This week’s new movie Papillon is based on the books by Henri “Papillon” Charrière, telling the story of his imprisonment on a remote island after being mistakenly convicted of murder. In the movie, Charlie Hunnam plays Charrière, someone who is a criminal but not a murderer.
Once on the island prison, Charrière befriends fellow criminal Louis Dega (Rami Malek), who encourages Charrière to continue trying to escape despite the odds against success, promising to fund those attempts.
The first one-sheet definitely isn’t being humble as the movie is billed as “The greatest escape adventure ever told.” That’s displayed beneath the weathered and somewhat weary-looking faces of Hunnam and Malek, who we see are being held in some sort of work camp or similar type of prison. Their faces are visible through the cutout image of a butterfly that breaks up the solid yellow of the rest of the poster.
Henri is arrested when the trailer opens, a situation he tries to explain is a mistake. Despite that he’s sent to a terrible-looking prison where he bonds with Louis, rumored to be carrying substantial amounts of cash. After Henri promises to protect the smaller man, Louis agrees to fund an escape plan, something even the administrators of the facility encourage because of their certainty in the security. From there on out there are scenes of the various escape attempts and their consequences, including the apparent hallucinations that result from time spent in solitary confinement.
It’s an interesting trailer, one that presents kind of a mixed bag for audiences. There’s the harshness of the penal colony the two men and the others are sent to and the struggle the engage in just to make it through each day and then there’s the slightly surreal elements that come in as hope begins eating away at everyone’s psyche. Malik and Hunnam seem to play well off each other, which is important since their friendship is what will likely drive the story on all fronts.
Online and Social
Bleecker Street’s official website for the movie has all the usual content within its standard template. So as you scroll down the site you’ll be able to watch the “Trailer,” read a “Synopsis” and check out a few original “Editorial” pieces about the characters and filmmaking. There are also links to the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles created.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
A TV spot skipped much of the character establishing of the trailer and sold the movie simply as a story of trying to escape from a remote, brutal prison.
Media and Publicity
A first-look photo gave fans their first glimpse at Hunnam and Malik in advance of the movie’s screening at the Toronto Film Festival. In mid-August a couple clips like this one started to come out.
The campaign itself isn’t hugely engaging, but there are some good elements to it. The poster is kind of the strongest part of it while the trailer doesn’t offer a very strong sales pitch. It’s not bad, it’s just a more complex story than can be captured here and it doesn’t convey a clear message to the audience. Aside from the release of clips, there isn’t much on the publicity front, either, so I’d be surprised if awareness of the movie was very high.
PICKING UP THE SPARE
A few days before the movie hit theaters I started to see promoted Tweets like this and others. A new interview here with stars Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek about the bond they forged during production.