Together Together – Marketing Recap

How Bleecker Street sold a very modern relationship dramady.

(Ed. Note: Yep, another case where the movie came out last week but I didn’t want to miss covering it.)

Together Together, starring Ed Helms and Patti Harrison and written/directed by Nikole Beckwith, came out a couple weeks ago in limited release but went into wider release last weekend. Harrison stars as Anna, a currently unattached woman who agrees to be a surrogate for similarly single Matt (Helms). As the pregnancy progresses the two grow closer, but in unexpected ways that surprise both of them as it’s not about romance but simply about being together in an uncommon way.

That unusual take on the idea of what companionship means comes through in Bleecker Street’s marketing, which emphasizes how Anna and Matt feel each other out tentatively and cautiously as they navigate their complicated relationship. The movie has a 91% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Posters

Both Matt and Anna look out at the camera on the poster (by marketing agency Cold Open). The two are sitting in front of a wall that has color samples taped to it, like they’re figuring out how to decorate a room, but there’s nothing that hints at the pregnancy aspects of the story. A handful of positive pull quotes from festival screenings are placed at the top to help show how well-received the movie has already been.

The Trailers

Matt is being super-awkward as he meets Anna as the trailer (2.6 million views on YouTube), released in late March, begins. That awkwardness doesn’t really stop as the pregnancy begins and continues, of course, though Anna tries to remain a good sport about everything that’s going on. The two find an equilibrium to their unusual relationship, though, including that they’re both alone and don’t fit into anyone’s neat boxes. It’s a cute unconventional comedy being sold here, buoyed by the performances from the two leads, especially Harrison.

Online and Social

The basic information – the trailer, synopsis and a small gallery of pictures – can be found on the official website created by Bleecker Street. It also received some support on the studio’s social channels.

Advertising, Press and Promotions

Before the movie had a chance to make its debut at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, Bleecker Street picked it up.

During Sundance there were interviews with the movie’s editor, director of photography and director.

A clip released in April shows an awkward dinner where Matt and Anna are meeting for the first time and judging each other’s food choices. Another has Anna trying to explain her unusual friendship and situation to someone else.

Harrison got a profile of her own as the breakout star of the film based on those festival reviews. Also following Sundance, the cast and filmmakers talked about the story and making the movie together.

Closer to release there was another interview with Harrison about working with Helms, how she decided to get involved in the project and more. Helms himself appeared on “Late Night” to joke around and talk about the movie.

TV spots began running in late April offering a cutdown version of the trailer with just the broad strokes of the story. Others like this featured some of the positive reviews the movie has already accumulated. Additional commercials that came later hit the same basic ideas.

Another clip shows more of Anna contending with a situation her friend doesn’t fully understand.

Overall

What comes through most clearly in the campaign is the emphasis on Harrison and her role as Anna. She’s obviously not a star as well known as Helms but she’s been the subject of more interviews and clips, which is a great way to signal that it’s her journey that may receive more attention in the story than Matt’s. There’s nothing all that groundbreaking about what Bleecker Street has done from a purely tactical way, but those small touches show who the audience will be asked to care about most and who has the most engaging arc.

Tag – Marketing Recap

tag poster 2Movies based on true events often tell outsized or “important” stories, ones that either tell some essential story people need to know or which are somehow meaningful to the human experience. The new movie Tag is not one that would fall into any of those categories.

Jon Hamm, Hannibal Buress, Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms and Jake Johnson play a group of guys who gained prominence years ago when their decade-spanning game of tag came to the public’s attention. The game has kept them connected to each other even as they’ve gotten married and gone about their lives. One thing has eluded them, though: Jerry (Renner) has never been tagged. Isla Fisher, Leslie Bibb, Rashida Jones and Annabelle Wallis costar.

The Posters

tag posterThe teaser poster really hits the core selling point of the movie – that it’s based on a true story – by stating that outright and even emphasizing it by including “We’re not kidding.” That’s the very definition of “trying too hard.”

A second poster is the same thing, only with the faces of the leading cast at the bottom looking at the camera with various bewildered or amused expressions on their faces.

The Trailers

The first – and only – trailer is preceded by Renner as himself filming a video while in the middle of playing a game of tag with his costars. Once the footage actually starts we get the backstory, that this group of friends has been playing the same game every May for 30 years, with it being the thing that’s kept them connected over all that time. Of course that’s really weird for outsiders, but whatever. Everyone is gunning for Jerry, who’s never been tagged in all that time.

It’s funny enough, certainly appearing better than some of the recent films by the people here. Seeing Renner in a comedy is nice as he’s not usually allowed to be funny, but I’m going to throw flags on the criminal underuse of both Hamm and Isla Fisher. And we’re going to stipulate that the story is only a slightly more socially-acceptable version of hyper-competitive toxic masculinity, no matter how cute it’s dressed up.

Online and Social

The movie’s official website opens with the trailer, also accessible via the “Trailer” button on the splash page and along the top content menu. Also there are sections with a “Synopsis” and a “Gallery” but that’s about it. Strangely, they’re not listed or linked to on the main site but there are Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

The movie was one of the first to be advertised via Snapchat’s recently-unveiled unskippable six-second video ad units.

Media and Publicity

AS the filmmakers were more than willing to point out repeatedly, this is based on a true story whose history was revisited in features like this on several occasions. That theme was reinforced with a short promo video featuring the real life members of the gang that has kept the game going and showed them watching footage from the movie where their lives are being depicted.

Hamm hit the publicity circuit to talk about the movie, including commenting on Renner’s broken arms and how production accommodated that. The story of Renner’s injury provided a significant hook for the publicity cycle as stories circulated about how CGI had to be used to bring them back to life and the actor himself shared the details in his appearances. Even Fisher had to comment on it while she was doing press. Thankfully Buress was able to avoid the topic when he showed up on “Kimmel.”

For little apparent reason other than there’s a wedding in the movie, the cast crashed a real-life wedding, causing all sorts of chaos and hilarity. The advice Hamm gave Johnson and the rest of the cast to make that work came up at the movie’s premiere.

Overall

I’m wondering who the studio thought the audience for this movie would be. All the actors here are very funny in their own right, but a story of a bunch of overgrown manboys who can’t let their childhood game go while letting that game bleed over into every other part of their lives seems….out of touch with the current cultural conversation.

It’s not that the movie doesn’t seem funny; it honestly looks like it has more than a few laughs. But when the only two talking points for the press cycle are “It’s based on a real story” and “Here’s how Jeremy Renner broke his arms,” the underlying weakness of the premise is exposed.

Finally, how do you make a movie with Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb and Isla Fisher and not have them as the focal point of the entire film, much less the marketing? I want to see the movie that has them as the leads.

PICKING UP THE SPARE

Jeez, even Annabelle Wallis has been forced to talk about Jeremy Renner’s broken arms during her portion of the publicity cycle. Hamm and Helms have also done a bit more publicity.

 

A clip from the movie was played in an episode of Machinima’s “Inside Gaming” to try and reach that crowd.

 

Nice profile of co-star Jake Johnson here at GQ. And there’s more from Hannibal Buress as well as an interview with the comedian.
Star Jeremy Renner’s broken arms are part of this interview with director Jeff Tomsic where he talks about all the challenges he had making the movie.

Father Figures – Marketing Recap

father figures poster 2Owen Wilson and Ed Helms star in the new movie Father Figures as two brothers who one day get a rude surprise: Their mother Helen (Glenn Close) doesn’t actually know who their real father is and has been lying about it for years. That sets the two off on a trip to track down some of their mother’s former paramours to figure out who their true biological father is.

That journey, of course, goes off-track pretty quickly. Not only do they learn more about their mother and her history than they ever really needed to, but they get involved in various other hijinks that complicate matters. Some of the potential fathers are great, some are less so. Blah blah blah, lessons are learned and so on.

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