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And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
If you’re looking for my usual marketing recap on Avengers: Infinity War, this week’s biggest release, you’ll find it spread across two outlets.
For The Hollywood Reporter I covered the primary marketing elements such as posters, trailers and TV spots. Meanwhile over at Adweek I went a bit more in-depth than usual on the movie’s promotional partnerships and the efforts supporting those partnerships.
Even with all that there were some elements I usually include that didn’t make into either of those two pieces. So, using those as starting points, here’s the rest of what the marketing campaign looked like.
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.
For the third time in as many years, Disney/Lucasfilm are bringing Star Wars to theaters just in time for the holidays. After successfully reintroducing the franchise with 2015’s The Force Awakens, we took a detour away from the core “Saga” that has been the focus of the movies to date in 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Now we’re back to the story of the Jedi and the fight against the powers of darkness in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The story picks up right where The Force Awakens left off, as Rey (Daisy Ridley) finds the self-exiled Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who she hopes will help her learn who she is and what her destiny might be. Meanwhile, The Resistance, led by General Leia Organa (the late Carrie Fisher) continues its fight against the ascendant First Order, ruled by the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) and Finn (John Boyega) along with Chewbacca and a bunch of porgs keep fighting the good fight while Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) continues to emote across the entire galaxy while trying not to be the Diet Coke of evil.
With so much Star Wars hype and promotion over the last three years, the franchise lately has never seemed far out of reach. To sell The Last Jedi effectively and forcefully, Disney has worked hard to make sure the campaign sells a compelling and unique product to the audience.