Ava – Marketing Recap

How Vertical Entertainment is selling another hyper-efficient assassin drama.

There are a great many movies that should have gotten sequels but didn’t, for any of a variety of reasons. One of those is Salt, the Angelina Jolie spy action drama that was about as tight and well-constructed as they come.

This week’s Ava comes close to filling the gap left by the lack of a Salt sequel. Jessica Chastain stars as the title character, a highly-skilled assassin who has worked for years for a black-ops government agency. When an assignment goes wrong she finds herself on the run and struggling just to survive. That flight includes visits to the family she ran away from almost a decade earlier. At the same time she has to find out who it is that sold her out and now wants her dead.

The movie costars Geena Davis, Colin Farrell, John Malkovich, Common, Jess Wexler and others. Reception so far has not been great, with a paltry 25 percent “Rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes. Vertical’s campaign has been heavy on action and light on story, as we’ll see below.

The Posters

In June the first and only domestic poster (by marketing agency Ignition) came out. It shows Ava looking glamorous but deadly, wearing a lovely evening dress and fully made up while also holding a gun and with a bloody gash on her cheek. The title treatment uses a bullseye to communicate the idea she’s an assassin, with the copy below it hinting at the danger by saying “Kill. Or be killed.

The Trailers

The first trailer (371,000 views on YouTube) came out in late June, quickly introducing us to Ava and her lethal skillset. Her abilities are being questioned by some, though, and she becomes a target herself. While her mentor wants to protect her, others want her dead and she has to call on all her abilities and training to get through each day. What we see here promises lots of close-up action and violence with a great cast, making it look more than a little attractive and interesting.

Online and Social

There doesn’t appear to have been a website created for the movie and it received limited support on Vertical’s social brand profiles.

Advertising and Promotions

Chastain posted a fun little video on social media showing her fight training with Farrell, joking about how they never seem to get along on film.

A clip came out recently showing just how deadly Ava is

Media and Press

There had been a bit of controversy around director Matthew Newton regarding past accusations of assault the ultimately led to him being removed from the project. It wasn’t until a while later that a first look photo was released.


Salt, of course, isn’t the only movie this one can be compared to. There’s more than a little John Wick in here as well, and there have been others that have tried to play in the same space.

This film’s biggest differentiator is Chastain in the lead role, but based on what is laid out above it looks like no one’s heart was really in it. The whole campaign is rather lackluster, not trying very hard to raise a standard action flick to any substantial level. It’s a shame since it’s not a bad premise, and the addition of a life Ava left behind is intriguing. As it is the marketing sells a slick but unexceptional movie.

All About Nina – Marketing Recap

all about nina posterNina (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is trying to escape personal and professional turmoil in the new movie All About Nina, opening this week. She’s an up and coming comic who’s known for entertaining crowds with her provocative and personal set but a bad breakup and general dissatisfaction with her life in New York has her heading out west to try and make it in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately she brings those troubles with her on the move. While things continue to go well for her career, personal relationships are still a mess, even her new romance with Rafe (Common), a well-meaning and overly-honest guy she can’t bring herself to fully trust. When outside factors play on that as well, Nina has to figure out how willing she is to commit to trying to have it all.

The Posters

Winstead and Common are shown at the top of the poster, him looking her but her looking at the camera to show in some way the different levels they’re at in their relationship. Below that is an arty shot of Nina doing her standup routine, a single spotlight showing her holding the mic. “Get your act together” reads the copy at the top, a nice way to address both aspects of Nina’s life that are covered in the story.

The Trailers

Nina is working hard to make it as a comic in the trailer, mining her dating life for material and then moving to LA to try and kick her career to a new level. She meets Rafe, who is overly honest with her on just about everything. The two begin a relationship as she gets her big shot on stage, but her past and her attitude catch up with her and cause problems for both endeavors.

Online and Social

The Orchard isn’t usually known for its extensive websites, but the official site for this movie isn’t bad. There’s nothing all that innovative about it, there’s just the trailer, a synopsis and a few other bits of material along with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram links, but that’s more than the studio usually offers.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I’ve seen.

Media and Publicity

The movie had its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Months later it was picked up for distribution by The Orchard. It later screened at the LA Film Festival.

That’s actually about it. A few sites got some exclusives clips, but I don’t see much of anything like interviews or other features with Winstead, Common or writer/director Eva Vives.


If there were a stronger publicity element here I’d feel it was a lot stronger effort. The trailer shows a great performance by Winstead, and her turn has been the focus of much of the conversation coming out of festivals. But there doesn’t seem to have been more of an effort to let everyone else know about it, which is too bad.

Picking Up the Spare

Director Eva Vives was interviewed about how the character of Nina is justified in her anger and hurt and how she wanted to tell a story about the reality that underlies a woman’s pain. Instead hit similar themes in this interview as well.

Instead talked more frequently about how she seems to attract roles about women with difficult pasts and what kinds of scenes were toughest to shoot.

Exclusive screenings in New York and Los Angeles were arranged to support survivors of sexual abuse.

Another great feature interview with Winstead here.