Picking Up the Spare – Christopher Robin, The Darkest Minds and More

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Chloe Grace-Moretz goes all [fire emoji] on the idea of gay conversion therapy and talks about the recent moments that have dramatically changed her thinking on the idea. She also unloads on the studio mentality that marginalizes female actors and characters as well as her belief stories should be told by the kind of people portrayed in the story, highlighting the difference in reaction to this movie by a queer woman and the upcoming Boy Erased, which tells a similar story but is directed by a straight man.

The Spy Who Dumped Me

Lots of new interviews from late last week with director Susanna Fogel, who talked about casting the film and telling a story about a strong female friendship, the (slightly) increased willingness by the studios to tell heretofore underrepresented stories, the sometimes choppy waters of her career to date, how filming action sequences helped her embrace her “inner badass” and more.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

The popular Battlegrounds Mobile video game is getting a movie-themed level.

Christopher Robin

I did not realize the movie was written by Alex Ross Perry, who’s been primarily known to date for his smaller character dramas, but he talks about just that topic here.

Lots of the movie’s positive reviews are included in this “Now Playing” TV spot.

The Darkest Minds

Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson says she doesn’t mind at all if the movie and its story invite comparisons to current real world political resistance movements.

The cast also talks more in a joint interview about how the story mirrors the recent youth-driven drives for societal change on various topics.

Fox has released a series of “Meet…” character introduction videos like this one, apparently hoping that such explainers will help audiences get interested in characters they may not otherwise be familiar with.

Puzzle

There’s a new TV spot, the first for the movie I believe, that outlines the story and relationships while highlighting some of the positive reviews it’s received.

Eighth Grade

Regal Cinemas has been running this update as a promoted post on Twitter highlighting the movie and its emotional story.

This past Wednesday A24 hosted a series of free screenings around the country that, importantly, were voluntarily free of MPAA ratings enforcement. That’s been a subject of conversation around the movie as the R rating the movie was given for a a few bad words and some age-relevant discussions of sexual matters have put it out of reach of many actual eighth graders.

Sorry To Bother You

Writer/director Boots Riley ignited a thousand hot takes when he spoke up about the lack of international distribution for his well-received movie, citing a belief by the studio and others that “black” movies still don’t work overseas.

There isn’t usually a lot of attention paid to producers, but Nina Yang Bongiovi got a nice profile covering how she has become a force in the indie movie world and helped bring this movie to fruition.

Pineapple Express

Among the interesting tidbits shared by writer/star Seth Rogen marking the movie’s 10th anniversary was one saying a smoking billboard was shut down by the LA fire department for obvious reasons.

Deadpool 2

Another fun teaser for the movie’s home video release.

BlacKkKlansman

John David Washington appeared on “Kimmel” to talk about the movie, working with Spike Lee and more.

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

Picking Up the Spare – Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Eighth Grade and More

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

There’s some good points made in this story about how the M:I franchise is the rare movie sold on its star and not an IP brand. I don’t, though, think it goes far enough to look at how the marketing relied on the combination of Tom Cruise’s name recognition and the promise of mind-blowing stunt work *is* a brand. If Cruise was actually still a market-driver on his own, Edge of Oblivion 2 would already be in production.

A new TV spot has been released emphasizing the incredibly high marks the movie has received from critics.

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

The movie’s directors share which joke was almost too much for DC/WB to allow and it’s a doozy.

Eighth Grade

Another profile of breakout star Elsie Fisher here, where she talks about making the movie and how she got started in the business.

A24 has also released a bunch of clips like this to help show people what all the buzz is about.

The Catcher Was A Spy

The real-life Moe Berg, played by Paul Rudd in the movie, is getting an exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

The Spy Who Dumped Me

I missed a couple press hits in my recap.

First, an interview with director Susanna Fogel where she talks about trying to craft a story that was funny and feminist but which also an “authentic” spy movie that adheres to that genre’s tropes.

Second, a feature piece that includes Fogel along with Kunis and McKinnon where they talk about bonding on set, how they wanted to sell the comedy, the importance of showing female friendships on-screen and more.

Christopher Robin

Ewan McGregor showed up on “Colbert” and “Late Night” to talk about the movie and working with an invisible character, something he does have previous experience with.

More interviews from the movie’s premiere, which happened on the Disney lot that was transformed into the Hundred Acre Wood for the occasion. This time it’s director Marc Forster sharing how he made the movie for his own daughter and kids like her that have grown up with Winnie the Pooh. And another interview with Hayley Atwell here.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

A number of media outlets have been rerunning interviews they did from the movie’s festival appearances, while Chloe Grace-Moretz made a few additional media appearances like this stop at “Colbert.”

Director Desiree Akhavan has also gotten a bit of press, including this interview where she talks about her festival experiences and why it is she hasn’t yet had the same mainstream success some of her contemporaries have.

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

Christopher Robin – Marketing Recap

christopher robin poster 3One of the key elements of Disney’s reinvention as a movie studio identified by Ben Fritz in The Big Picture is the concerted effort to maximize the value of its existing IP. That has lead to live-action remakes of animated classics “from the Disney Vault” such as The Jungle Book, Cinderella, Beauty & The Beast and more.

Not everything has received a straight-up remake, though, and in that category falls this week’s new release Christopher Robin. The movie takes a Hook-like approach and catches up with the title character (Ewan McGregor) when he’s a full-grown family man working in mid-20th century London, far from the Hundred Acre Wood. His life is upended when Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger and the rest of the gang show up to help save him from a problem he didn’t know he had.

The Posters

“Sooner or later your past catches up with you” we’re told on the first teaser poster, which shows Pooh leaning against someone’s briefcase, a stylish but conservative hat obscuring the bear’s head. Those elements combine to at least imply that it’s an adult Pooh will be dealing with, not a child, and maybe a stuffy one at that.

The second one-sheet dispensed with the teasing and showed McGregor as the grown Christopher looking busy and somewhat annoyed – or at least perplexed and slightly embarrassed – by the presence of Pooh, Tigger and the rest of the stuffed gang walking cheerfully around him. “Cheerfully” except for Eeyore, of course, who just wants to sit and be a little glum. Another recreates a scene shown in the second trailer of Pooh and the rest of the gang hanging out on the beach, reminding us to “Never underestimate the value of doing nothing,” which is good advice.

A series of character posters put Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore against solid, light-colored backgrounds.

The Trailers

The teaser trailer starts on a dank, grey London street as Christopher Robin is being told by his boss that he has to work over the weekend, breaking a promise to take his wife and daughter away for a trip. Even worse, he has to help make significant cuts to the workforce of the company. After seeing his family off he goes to a nearby park to collect his thoughts. It’s there he encounters an old friend.

It’s a sweet, gentle trailer that gives off a very strong Hook vibe. There’s an emphasis in the title cards on reminding the audience of other recent Disney live-action remakes including Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast as the studio hopes to position this as the latest in a series of films you’re sure to love.

The first official trailer, which debuted on “Ellen,” shows lots more of Pooh and the 100 Acre Wood gang and how Pooh’s reappearance in his life throws Christopher Robin for a loop. Helping the bear find the rest of his friends gives Robin a purpose much more enjoyable than anything else but he has to get back to his family. Pooh and the others then decide it’s up to them to save Robin from the trappings of his life and so set out to introduce a bit of innocent chaos to the grown up’s life.

This one is just as sweet and light as the first and just looks completely charming.

Two more trailers came out in the last few weeks leading up to release. A short “Sneak Peek,” was much more about the adventure Pooh involves Christopher Robin in and shows them getting into all sorts of gently madcap situations that challenge Robin’s British reserve. A week or so later a longer “Extended Sneak Peek” basically combined much of the footage from all the trailers and other materials into one video to give audiences a really good look at what the movie was going to entail.

Online and Social

Ummm….really? The movie’s official website is so bare bones I thought it was an indie drama. There’s no synopsis, no cast list, no interactive adventures or anything else, just the trailer and a collection of other videos. Very disappointing. There’s only slightly more information on the movie’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

A significant online ad campaign was run in support of the movie’s release. That included promoted posts on social media that used various videos from the rest of the campaign and other website ads that utilized some combination of video clips and elements pulled from the key art and other promotional material.

Media and Publicity

Outside of the release of marketing materials the movie’s first real press activity was when it was part of Disney’s nostalgia-heavy CinemaCon presentation to media and exhibitors. New photos were released at about the same time and shown off in EW’s summer movie preview issue.

As the summer movie season wound down in mid-July, Disney released a featurette that explained how this film fit into the long history of Winnie the Pooh, particularly the animated classic. Future featurettes included looks at Pooh’s snippets of wisdom and an interview McGregor did with Pooh.

The cast, particularly McGregor and costar Hayley Atwell, who plays Christopher Robin’s wife, did a few fan Q&As online. Atwell showed up on “Kimmel” to talk about the movie while McGregor did likewise on “Ellen.”

The red carpet premiere allowed the cast to talk more about the gentle, slow theme of the movie and how relevant that is in today’s world.

Overall

You have to hand it to McGregor and Atwell, both of whom seem totally game to engage in the kind of silliness this campaign often called for. That’s all done in the name of selling the movie as a welcome respite from the real world and the reminder that occasionally dipping into unbridled imagination is good for one’s soul.

The good news is there isn’t a whole lot of fresh competition at the box office. With tracking placing opening weekend somewhere around $30 million, the biggest threat it faces is from whatever continued strength Mission: Impossible – Fallout has. If Disney has been able to reach an audience of adults who want to share an emotional moment with their kids, it could do pretty well in attracting the family crowd.

PICKING UP THE SPARE

I did not realize the movie was written by Alex Ross Perry, who’s been primarily known to date for his smaller character dramas, but he talks about just that topic here.

 

Lots of the movie’s positive reviews are included in this “Now Playing” TV spot.  

 

Ewan McGregor showed up on “Colbert” and “Late Night” to talk about the movie and working with an invisible character, something he does have previous experience with.
More interviews from the movie’s premiere, which happened on the Disney lot that was transformed into the Hundred Acre Wood for the occasion. This time it’s director Marc Forster sharing how he made the movie for his own daughter and kids like her that have grown up with Winnie the Pooh. And another interview with Hayley Atwell here.