Harriet – Marketing Recap

Focus Features brings the story of an activist icon to the big screen with an action-packed campaign.

harriet poster 2Cynthia Erivo stars as the iconic Harriet Tubman, the former slave who escaped her captors and went on to take matters into her own hands in the new movie Harriet. The movie follows Tubman from the time of her escape to her quest to free others still suffering from the shackles of slavery through the Underground Railroad.

Unlike other biopics the movie doesn’t seem to follow Tubman from childhood, attempting to capture her entire life. Instead if focuses on this one important period of her life when she grew from someone unsure of what future she would have to one where she was defining her own destiny.

To sell the movie – which tells an important story in American history – Focus Features has run a campaign that ups the drama of the events depicted, presenting Tubman as a social activist hero. Tracking estimates an opening weekend upwards of $5 million, but the weak 63 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating may indicate it could be hurt by poor reviews and word of mouth.

The Posters

July brought the release of the first one-sheet (from marketing agency BOND). Tubman is presented as some kind of secret agent on the poster, barely emerging from the shadows with gun in hand and her face still obscured by the hat she wears. It’s an attempt to present the historical figure as an action-oriented leader, someone not afraid to get in the thick of things in service to her cause. Copy at the top reads like a personal credo, reminding the audience to “Live free or die” while at the bottom the audience is told this is based on “the “unbelievable true story of an American legend.”

The second poster shows the floating heads of Tubman, William Still (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Marie Buchanan (Janelle Monáe), two important figures in Tubman’s quest. Below those heads is the figure of a gun-toting Tubman standing against the breaking dawn. It’s a design that doesn’t send the message the movie is a historical drama but that it’s an action-packed story.

A third poster (by marketing agency Gravillis Inc) almost seems like it’s for a different movie. The overly-stylized “H” that’s placed in front of Tubman and the way she’s shown wearing what might as well be a costume or uniform of some sort further the feeling the marketers are selling this less as a serious film and more like Van Helsing.

The Trailers

Harriet is on the run from her slaver as the first trailer (7.4 million views on YouTube), released in late July, begins. She’s willing to risk her own life to be free, finally achieving her goal and given the chance to create her own identity. Once she’s safe she becomes determined to go back and free the rest of her family, once more putting her own safety at risk. Her repeated success results in being introduced to the Underground Railroad, but the people who are looking for her want her dead and the odds of her escaping seem to drop each time.

Online and Social

The movie’s official website opens with the trailer and, after you close it, offers little beyond the usual array of content Focus always puts on its site. That material is laid out nicely enough, but it’s simply not very much. Missing, unfortunately, is any background on the real life Tubman or links to resources where people can learn more about her.

Advertising and Publicity

The Austin Film Festival announced in August that the movie would screen there in October. It was also scheduled for the Urbanworld Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival, the latter of which generated mostly positive reviews, especially for Ervo’s performance.

An extended TV spot came out in early October that shared some of the trailer’s more dramatic moments while focusing on the inclusion of the original song “Stand Up” by Cynthia Erivo. A bit later on an official lyric video that also included footage from the film was released.

A very strange video titled “Her Story” was released a bit later that plays like a dramatic version of the trailer, just about half as long. What’s odd about it is the text at the bottom of the screen that offers Wikipedia-like factoids about Tubman, perhaps to help explain the background of the woman in a way the trailer can’t. There’s a better way to do this, though.

The first clip released shows Harriet getting some pushback to her plan to go rescue more of those still enslaved and reacting badly to being told she can’t do something. A second also has her discussing going and freeing her husband, family and others.

Media and Press

While at Toronto there were numerous interviews with Enrivo allowing her to talk about finding the real Tubman underneath the history and how they wanted to show a well-rounded portrait of the woman, not a caricature or sketch.

There was an interview with composer Terence Blanchard where he talked about creating the movie’s period-appropriate score. Director Kasi Lemmons spoke about directing this film in particular as well as her frustration with the industry that’s restricted her opportunities along with her determination to keep at it. Another interview with Lemmons had her commenting on how she connected with the material.

A Variety cover story included Lemmons and Enrivo talking about the long road the film took to production, something they say indicates a new willingness in Hollywood to make movies about women of color.

Enrivo in particular made the media rounds, including appearances on “NBC Nightly News” with Odom Jr., “The Today Show,” “CBS Sunday Morning” and more.


It’s undoubtedly great to see someone like Tubman finally get her turn on the big screen, especially in a story that appears to put her front and center as someone who makes her own rules and follows what she believes God has set as her purpose without compromise. She is going to fight the injustice being done to her and her people regardless of anyone’s opinion or beliefs.

The trailers are great on that front, but the posters are still a little odd in their presentation of Tubman as a costumed hero. She may have had a go-to outfit for her travels, but the insistance on showing her like Wynonna Earp is a bit perplexing and maybe even a little off-putting.

Still, that shouldn’t take away from the fact that a movie like this getting made is an accomplishment that should be recognized and it’s certainly a story worth understanding a bit more deeply.

Picking Up the Spare

Lots more interviews leading up to and immediately following the movie’s release, with Lemmons talking about the long road taken to get Tubman’s story told, deciding to focus on Tubman’s early years and why she avoided some of the most cruel aspects of slavery.

More from many of those involved while attending the movie’s red carpet premiere here, while they also talked about honoring Tubman and her accomplishments.

Odom Jr. and Erivo spoke about their hope more movies like this will be made while an interview with writer Gregory Allen Howard covered how much had to change in Hollywood for this one to be made in the first place. Similar ground was covered in this profile, including a troubling anecdote from an earlier attempt.

How Erivo created the original song “Stand Up” was covered in this interview, part of a THR cover story. She and Lemmons appeared on “PBS Newshour” to discuss making the movie and were interviewed about their decision to focus on freedom over slavery.

Focus released a new featurette focusing on the scene of Tubman choosing her new name and another with the starts sharing stories from the set. The latest installment of the studio’s “Reel Destinations” series also visited locations from the movie. There was also another entry in its “My First Gig” series with the cast.

Regal Cinemas was given an exclusive featurette with Lemmons and Erivo talking about the story and its history. A short MovieClips featurette had Monae talking about the inspiration Tubman has provided her.

Additional clips from the movie were provided to AMC and EW.

Erivo appeared on “The Late Show” and “Late Night” to talk about the movie.

The full video for Erivo’s “Stand Up” was finally released.

There was a feature on the work of the movie’s director of photography and composer and how they did their jobs. Lemmons again spoke about how she sought to tell the story of the journey Tubman went on.

The movie features significant levels of diversity at all levels of production.

Focus Features brought the movie back to theaters with select free screenings around the country courtesy of Gofobo.

Downton Abbey – Marketing Recap

The ITV/PBS fan favorite drama about the landed class in turn of the 20th century Great Britain returns with a bigger story.

downton abbey poster 14Three years after its six season run on TV ended Downton Abbey is back, but this time the drama is taking place on the big screen. Nearly all the cast has returned, including Maggie Smith as Violet Crowley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, in yet another story focusing on both the wealthy family that lives in the majestic estate and the staff that attends to their needs.

The story of the movie is bigger than the interpersonal drama often seen on the show. This time the Crowley family must prepare for the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary, a grand affair that necessitates the return of Carson (James Carter), their longtime butler who has since retired. With troubled marriages, pregnancies, squabbles over inheritances and more adding to the already high tensions around a Royal visit, the drama is sure to be high.

Focus Features has run the marketing equivalent of a warm blanket on a chilly fall day, focusing on exactly the story elements audiences are sure to be looking for as their favorite characters return to their lives. Tracking estimates predict an opening weekend of about $12 million, which would be a decent showing. And the 81% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes indicates they will get most of what they’re expecting when they head to the theater.

(Note: it’s a bit hard to differentiate between the U.S. and U.K. campaigns for the film, so I’ve aired on the side of including material unless it’s specifically designated for overseas markets)

The Posters

“We’ve been expecting you” the first poster (by marketing agency BOND) declares. A smartly dressed butler is shown, his gloved hands inspecting the silverware being placed on a table so finely polished it shows a reflection of the Abbey itself. A second poster similarly shows him polishing a crystal glass. Two more shift the focus from the servants to the nobility, showing Lady Mary Talbot (Michelle Dockery) and Lady Hexham (Laura Carmichael) in their finest gowns.



More of the characters are assembled in the house’s expansive hall on the next poster to show off how many are back for the movie.

Those characters are broken out into pairs in a series of posters that put each group into a portion of the house they’re associated with. So Carter and Elise (Phyllis Logan) are shown in the pantry while others are placed in other rooms befitting their status and vocation.



On the next poster the nobility are presented at the top while the servants are at the bottom, befitting their perceived status in the house and society.

Another poster came out that eschewed the cast for a golden image of the Abbey itself, presented as a “cordial” invitation to come see “the motion picture event” in theaters.



Two more posters came out in September on International Dog Day that focuses on Teo, the family dog. On one, Teo is shown sitting on a formal chair in the same manner as the other character posters. On the other, she’s seen jogging alongside Carson, welcoming him as he returns to the house following his retirement.

The Trailers

The teaser trailer from mid-December didn’t offer much, just a sweeping crane shot of the estate grounds and the promise that the whole cast was going to be back for everyone to enjoy.

That same opulence and grandeur are on display in the first official trailer, showing that the story is back on familiar territory even if things have changed a bit since the series ended. After establishing the return of most of the characters it’s revealed the King and Queen are coming to Downton, an event that has everyone preparing and which necessitates the return of Carson to the staff. After that it’s a series of shots showing the relationships between different characters and how they’ve grown or changed over time.

Online and Social

Focus Features’ official website has some good information but never really rises above the standard template used by the studio to offer unique material or take visitors deeper into the story.

Advertising and Publicity

The first full trailer was shown to exhibitors and others in attendance at CinemaCon in April, sparking lots of positive buzz and conversations as it revealed more of the story’s details. Footage was later shown at CineEurope a couple months later.

The movie was among those announced by AMC Theaters as part of the first curated under its Artisan Films program to highlight smaller films.

A short featurette was released in August that had the cast and crew talking about how excited they were to be returning to characters and settings the audience loves.

Just before release, NBC – a corporate sibling of Focus Features – was scheduled to air “Return to Downton Abbey: A Grand Event,” a special that amounted to an hour-long featurette designed to suck fans back into the world of the movie.

Focus launched a web series on YouTube called “Reel Destinations,” with the first episode – sponsored by Visit Britain – visiting the locations of this movie and offering some of the history found at those spots.

A brief clip was released in early September that showed Lady Crawley still had all her wits about her.

Online ads featured photos of the assembled cast to sell audiences on the return of their favorite characters.

downton abbey ad

Promotional partners for the movie included,

  • Airbnb, which listed the castle used as the fictional Abbey for one night only, the caveat being that those staying must prove themselves to be passionate fans of the series.
  • The Art of Shaving, which introduced a movie-themed collection of products featuring the same formal invitation style seen on one of the poster.
  • Books-a-Million, which ran a sweepstakes awarding movie tickets and books about the film.
  • Cost Plus World Market, which offered a curated collection of high-end goods all featuring the movie’s branding.
  • Fairmont, which offered Afternoon Tea at locations around the country. Select locations also offered additional movie-themed catering, drink selections and more. The Boston location hosted a display of costumes from the film.
  • Visit Britain, which created a whole to the film’s locations and settings for people to explore.
  • Magnolia Bakery, which created a new Earl Grey Cupcake to celebrate the movie’s release.

Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 8.45.36 PM

  • The Republic of Tea, which offered a series of special edition teas inspired by the movie’s characters and featuring them on the labels.
  • Saks Fifth Avenue, although that partnership was also unclear.
  • Viking, which offered a sweepstakes awarding a tip to visit the castle where the movie was filmed.
  • Chase, which ran a sweepstakes awarding tickets to the movie’s New York City premiere.
  • Walker’s, which ran a sweepstakes awarding a trip to London that included a tour of the film’s shooting locations.

The Biltmore in Asheville, N.C. hosted Downton Abbey: The Exhibition, featuring props and costumes from the film as well.

The studio put out a helpful recap of the major events of the series.

AMC Theaters shared an exclusive interview with some of the actors from the film. It also hosted a fan event early screening last week for people to see the film ahead of release and start spreading the word.

Media and Press

In late November members of the cast appeared on “The Today Show” to offer a behind the scenes look at production. A month later EW’s 2019 preview issue had more first look stills and comments from the cast and crew, including why Lily James’ character isn’t included.

A feature profile included comments from much of the cast as to why they felt it was important to come back as well as why the filmmakers were reluctant at first to jump in and potentially disrupt any storylines from the show. The producers were also interviewed about the likelihood of a sequel should this one prove successful.

A cover story in Town & Country focused the massive undertaking that was reassembling the cast and how the filmmakers worked to make everything special. There was also significant focus on the style of the movie, including features like this and this.

The cast and crew made various other stops around the media world in the last few weeks to talk about the movie.


Without the Downton Abbey branding attached, this campaign would have faced significant pressures in the market. This kind of quiet, reserved adult drama has been going nowhere at the box office in the last few years, drowned out by the bigger, noiser campaigns for sci-fi sequels, adaptations and other high-profile releases.

With that branding, though, the chances for success increase significantly. The show still enjoys a deeply-invested fanbase, many of whom will likely turn out for the film in the coming weeks. Never mind that the campaign barely mentions anything involving a story or stakes or character arcs, it’s simply the return of loved characters that will entice many to venture out.

Picking Up the Spare

Michelle Dockery appeared on “The Tonight Show” to talk about the movie.

Allen Leech was interviewed about his career and how he was happy the movie would allow for a fix to the unsatisfactory ending he thought he got on the show.

Additional stories covered the important role the score plays in the franchise and how creator Julian Fellowes was inspired to create the original series and the movie.

Additional clips like this came out once the movie was in theaters and more featurettes like this had the cast talking about production.

“Saturday Night Live” put out a fake trailer for the movie that poked fun at how low the stakes and drama in the story are that turns into something else entirely.

The movie’s gowns and costumes were once more brought to the forefront in a profile of the designer who created them.

Captive State – Marketing Recap

captive state poster2(Note: Once again my calendars lied to me as I thought this was scheduled for later this month.)

An alien invasion forms the crux of the story in the new movie Captive State. It’s not an invasion that’s happening now, though, but one that was successful a decade in the past. The presence of those aliens is welcome by some but resisted by others.

In the latter category is Gabriel Drummond (Ashton Sanders), a young man living in Chicago who joins the secretive resistance movement. Aiding him is police officer William Mulligan (John Goodman), the partner of Drummond’s late father. Mulligan must walk the fine line of aiding his fellow humans, including Drummond, and continuing to appear to be an aid to the conquering species.

The Posters

captive state posterA lone figure stands in the middle of the poster, red smoke rising all around him from a flare or beacon he’s holding. Copy at the top explains that “Ten years ago, they took our planet.” That’s continued at the bottom, which explains “Today, we take it back.”

The second poster shows the view outside a car window, a dashboard hula dancer in the foreground. The image is strangely pixelated, though, as if the window is a screen that’s glitching. Visible in the sky, though, is one of the mysterious ships.

The Trailers

Things start off relatively alright in the first trailer, as a voice tells us the state of the union is strong, with low employment and other benefits to the general populace. But a few scenes show us those blessings come because of a police state that’s been invoked, with the population surveilled and detained at the whims of a power that may be alien in nature. That latter point is emphasized when, at the end, a floating ship is introduced to a football stadium filled with people as “the legislature.

The threat is a little less vague – something alien is hovering over cities – in the second trailer, but the focus here is on presenting all those claims of low unemployment and so on as false information, lies spread by those who want to keep the populace in place. Instead, it’s shown there’s a resistance that’s forming and just waiting for the signal to rise up.

In mid-December the “official” trailer was released showing more clearly what has happened. The arrival of the alien “legislators” has brought about an era of peace and harmony, but at the cost of individual freedom. Some are happy to go along with that while others form an underground resistance. This one gives us a good look at those aliens and just how swift their reaction to any infraction is and the state of fear that has most people living in.

Online and Social

Focus Features offers the usual content mix on the official website, but in addition to that there’s a site for The Legislature, the governing body of aliens and collaborators. That site has news stories about the world of the movie that have been hacked by the resistance, so you see words crossed out, with euphemisms replaced by more realistic descriptions of what has happened and what is going on.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

The first trailer was used as a Promoted Tweet in mid-September. Further paid social posts used cut down versions of the trailer that were similar to TV commercials.

A TV spot took the tone of recruiting members for the resistance while also encouraging the audience to Tweet about the movie and enter a sweepstakes at the same time.

Media and Publicity

This movie was one of quite a few featuring Sanders that’s come out in the last several months.

A Fandango-exclusive clip hit just a week or so out from release showing a tense standoff from the story. Tracks from the soundtrack were also shared.

The studio tried to get some buzz going by hosting, with Nerdist, a movie-themed party at the recent SXSW film festival.

Writer/director Rupert Wyatt was interviewed about his goals for the story and more as well as what inspired him to make the movie.


As is the case with many films like this, what is really needed is more world-building. The website for The Legislature goes in this direction but the trailers could have done more to set up the situations of the story so audiences would better know what to expect.

Despite that there’s still some good stuff here. Even without a single clear brand identity in the campaign it still offers a decent picture of what the story will be, or at least what the tone of that story will be. Certainly a message of political resistance against a totalitarian government is going to hit some nerves in this day and age.

Greta – Marketing Recap

greta poster 2This week’s new release Greta tells a familiar story, one of a young woman who through a series of events winds up befriending an older one. In this case the younger is Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz) and the older Greta (Isabelle Huppert), with the two coming together when Frances finds Greta’s purse abandoned on a train and returns it to her.

After some time Frances begins to realize the circumstances that brought them together may not have been as coincidental as they first appeared, and Greta’s behavior becomes increasingly dangerous as she refuses to be ignored and abandoned. That’s bad news for Frances, as Greta’s plans and motivations become increasingly clear as well as disturbing.

The Posters

greta poster“Don’t take the bait,” the audience is warned on the first poster, which shows a nice handbag being caught by a fishing hook. It’s a simple image and copy combination, but it comes together to present something intriguing and mysterious.

The second is a bit more on-the-nose, showing Greta’s head split open at the top with Francis popping out of it while the copy here reads “Everyone needs a friend.”

The Trailers

Frances discovers a handbag left on the subway and returns it to Greta, its owner, as the first trailer opens. The older woman invites the younger in to repay her for her kindness. The two go on to form a friendship but Frances discovers this may not have been a coincidence that brought them together. When she tries to separate herself, Greta goes full-on stalker as Frances finds herself harassed at work and drugged and kidnapped. It’s creepy as heck but shows the interplay between the two actresses may be the key selling point for the movie.

Online and Social

The official website offered by Focus Features follows the studio’s usual template, presenting the trailer when you first load the site and then letting you scroll down to view production photos and read cast/crew bios. Links to the movie’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles are also at the top of the page.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Online ads using elements of the key art – particularly the image of Moretz – began running in early February, shortly after the trailer was released.

The studio partnered with LA Times Studios on a limited-run podcast titled “Obsession” that explored what makes people become infatuated with another person. The movie sponsored one of the escape rooms at Breakout Atlanta, offering those who completed it movie posters and other swag.

Media and Publicity

An appearance at the Toronto Film Festival resulted in Fox Searchlight picking up distribution rights rather quickly. An extended clip showing the restaurant scene glimpsed in the trailer was released in early February.

A video offering signs you have a clingy friend kind of made light of the situation presented in the story, but the studio was obviously going for a thing here even if it didn’t quite land. Two clips followed that.

Moretz was interviewed about her character, the story and the experience of working with Huppert while everyone spoke about similar topics at the movie’s premiere. She also appeared on “Good Morning America.”


Focus Features is trying to play on the ideas of obsession pretty heavily in the campaign, from the trailers to the sponsored podcast and more. That’s a good message to send, and it’s interesting that it’s not a romantic, heterosexual obsession being depicted but one between two women that’s free (at least based on what we see here) of any sexual component. Instead it’s just about friendship, companionship and understanding, all of which can be powerful – and dangerous – motivators.

Moretz and Huppert, particularly the former, are bold personalities to use in the campaign, offering audiences a female-centric drama that has twists and turns that are well-telegraphed in the marketing but still promise some surprise to viewers.

Picking Up the Spare

There was a good profile of costar Maika Monroe.

Moritz made a few more media appearances like this. She also did a featurette playing “This or That” which was thematically tied to moments from the movie and one that had her looking back at her first role, as did Jordan later on. There was another that examined obsession and stalking in previous movies.

Everybody Knows – Marketing Recap

everybody knows posterSecrets emerging from the past to intrude on the present form the primary problem in the new movie Everybody Knows. Laura (Penelope Cruz) has brought her daughters with her as she returns to her hometown outside Madrid for the wedding of her sister.

That joyous occasion is marred when Laura’s oldest daughter is abducted in the middle of the celebration. She sets out to find her with the help of Paco (Javier Bardem) and others, but it leads to revelations being uncovered about the past of Laura’s family that cast new light on everything that’s happened.

The Posters

There were a number of Spanish-language posters for the film’s overseas release but the one U.S. theatrical one-sheet hints at the drama of the story by showing Bardem looming over Cruz’s shoulder, his face obscured by her unkempt, blowing hair. Her face is concerned while he looks slightly shady but there’s no copy here to explain the story or offer more detail. The film’s film festival credentials are offered at the bottom to lend it some authority.

The Trailers

The first trailer, released last April before the movie debuted at Cannes, presents a dramatic thriller. Carolina has returned to her hometown for a wedding and brought her family with her. She reconnects with everyone, including Paco, an old friend. When her daughter goes missing it kicks off a series of events that lead to secrets – including the past love affair between Paco and Laura – to be revealed all over the place as everyone comes under suspicion.

The domestic theatrical trailer strikes a very different tone. Narration by Paco at the beginning explains that sometimes the past doesn’t stay in the past as we see Laura and the girls arrive for the wedding. After her daughter is taken it turns into just selling a more or less straight drama about the search to find her, jettisoning much of the emotional narrative that was found in the first spot.

If you were going on this alone you might suspect that Laura and Paco were the primary couple, not that each is married to someone else even though they used to be lovers years ago. That secret is just one of the revelations in the first trailer that hint at lots more secrets hiding under the surface, a storyline that’s missing completely here.

Online and Social

The website doesn’t offer much in the way of additional information. The domestic trailer plays when the site opens and the front page has links to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles. Scroll down and you can read an “About” section and then find bios for the cast and crew when you click on the photos arranged on the page.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I’ve seen on this front.

Media and Publicity

One of the first major stories about the movie came when it was revealed it has landed the coveted opening night slot at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It was quickly bought by Focus Features after that screening, which resulted in a good amount of very positive buzz. While there Bardem and Cruz, a couple in real life, talked about working together, receiving equal paydays for the movie and more.


Most striking about the campaign is the difference between how the movie was sold last year for overseas audiences and how it was sold this year for U.S. moviegoers. The way entire plotlines and character connections are discarded in favor of selling it as a straightforward drama about a missing child is really something, an example of the message being dumbed down significantly for the domestic market.

That may have been done simply to avoid presenting it too clearly as a Spanish-language film. Notice in the U.S. release trailer that 1) Bardem’s narration at the opening is in English and that 2) There’s no dialogue from the film in the spot at all, with the story conveyed through the use of title cards. That makes sense from a certain point of view, but it also means that people here aren’t getting the full heft of the story, which could be a problem.

Picking Up the Spare

Focus Features finally released a bunch of TV spots that sell the movie in various slightly different ways.

Bardem finally made some media appearances, including an interview where he spoke about working with Cruz and an appearance on “Kimmel.”

On the Basis of Sex – Marketing Recap

on the basis of sex posterSupreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become a cultural phenomenon in the last few years, largely because of her status as a kickass liberal woman who has carved her own path in an effort to bring legal equality to the world. Her story has recently been told in books like “The Notorious RBG” and the documentary RBG.

Now that story is getting the feature treatment in On the Basis of Sex. Felicity Jones plays Ginsburg as an ambitious lawyer who’s just starting out in her career. She comes up against walls and barriers all over the place, though, as she seeks to argue against laws she believes to be discriminatory against genders. Armie Hammer costars as her husband Martin.

The Posters

Jones as Ginsburg wears a sensible wool dress and gloves as she stands in front of a miniature Supreme Court building, showing how she will come to dominate that venue in more ways than one. Her outfit explains the time period the story is set in but it’s a drab image that doesn’t do much to fire the imagination or inspire much passion. Honestly it’s the kind of photo you’d expect to see used in a culture magazine for a feature on a powerful female attorney.

The Trailers

We get the basic outlines of the story in the first trailer, including how Ginsburg is determined as a young woman to change the culture and address some of the gender-based inequalities that have been codified into law. She’s smart but can’t get ahead because she’s a woman. Eventually she comes across a case where the law is prejudiced against men and she decides this is what it will take to upend the whole system.

What’s notable in what is otherwise a choppy and uneven trailer is the Hammer is very much playing the kind of role usually assigned to a woman, that of the supportive partner/spouse who encourages the other to keep fighting and do what’s right. That’s…that’s big. Jones looks very good, of course, but the story overall seems a bit overdone. Also, while some people took issue with the “Neither does the word ‘Freedom.’” line at the end, the movie’s screenwriter defended its usage, saying it makes sense in the context of the full scene.

That line is still in the second trailer, which focuses on Ginsburg’s fight against those who would keep her down and in her lane, something she’s utterly unwilling to do.

Online and Social

Focus Features’ official website follows the studio’s regular online template, opening with the trailer and with a bunch of photos, bios and videos further down the page for visitors to check out and click on. There are links to the movie’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages as well.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Jones really shines in the first TV spot from late October, with Kesha’s inspiring original song playing over footage of her as Ginsburg crusading for what she believes to be right and making friends – and enemies – along the way.

In mid-November the second trailer was used as a promoted post on Twitter, one that specifically called out the inclusion of a new Kesha song.

Focus Features partnered with a number of consumer brands on the “All Rise Now” collection of lifestyle products, the purchase of which supported the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. The site for the campaign also featured movie assets and other graphics to be shared online, though oddly Pinterest isn’t one of the default choices for doing so despite them seeming to be perfect for that platform.

Media and Publicity

The publicity campaign kicked off with the release of the first photo showing Jones as Ginsburg. The actress spoke about the process of portraying the justice when Focus Features made it part of their CinemaCon presentation, which included an early look at footage for attendees.

Jones was the subject of a Vanity Fair cover story that detailed her preparation for the role, the attention to detail paid by everyone involved, the timeliness of the story and lots more.

Pop star Kesha released her anthemic song of empowerment that’s featured in the movie in mid-September.

The movie was singled out as the AFI Film Festival’s opening night feature.

Of course one couldn’t ignore the fact that this movie was coming shortly after the widely-acclaimed release of RBG, the documentary of Ginsburg that created a lot of stir among critics and audiences. That documentary was scheduled for a series of free screenings in advance of the U.S. midterm elections, which also nicely brought the subject back up a couple months before this movie’s release date.

Jones praised Leder as a director at a Q&A about the movie and her career in general. She also spoke about Ginsburg and the challenges she’s faced in her career while accepting the Variety Award at the British Independent Film Awards.

The first clip offered an extended look at a scene from the trailer of Ginsburg making a strong impression at a formal dinner. A second showed her making it clear she expects her husband to give her some space to be herself and a third had her arguing for taking a case no one else believes in. A final one had Ginsburg testing her arguments for equality.

An interview with Jones made the odd choice of focusing on her beauty and fitness routine as opposed to the research she did to take on the role of a future Supreme Court justice.

Hammer did the media rounds in the last couple weeks, talking about how he’s now BFFs with Ginsburg herself, his experience shooting the movie and how he bonded with the cast during production. Jones got in on the action with TV and other interviews.

The true story of the cast that essentially launched Ginsburg’s legal career, the one recounted in the movie, was detailed by Smithsonian Magazine and other outlets in the last few days.


First off, it’s worth noting this is the second movie in as many years to tell the story of a seminal case in the career development of a future Supreme Court justice, though last year’s Marshall didn’t get quite this level of buzz and awareness. That’s at least in part because Thurgood Marshall is a generation removed from most modern movie audiences, so there just wasn’t the connection.

This movie’s campaign, though, makes sure the audience knows this is about a woman who is held as an idol by many right now, so it’s much more relevant message. While the details of the case she’s arguing to make her point aren’t made very clear, that’s not the point. Instead it’s about her fierce determination in the face of adversity and disbelief.

Picking Up the Spare

Another interview with Leder where she talks about the ways she understood Ginsburg’s story and another where she talks about what she found in common with the lawyer.

She, Jones and Hammer were all part of a joint conversation about digging into Ginsburg’s life along with how the way her real life husband supported her wasn’t dramatic enough for some studio execs, who wanted to see more conflict. Another similar joint interview followed. That was also the subject of a new featurette.

Cailee Spaeny, who plays Ginsburg’s daughter, was interviewed a bit later about how she approached her role and got involved.

Later on there was another profile of Leder that focused on how she was yet another example of a female director who’d been shut out of feature films for almost two decades.

More on the “All Rise” campaign for workplace equality that involved a partnership with the ACLU here.

Mary Queen of Scots – Marketing Recap

mary queen of scots poster 4Mary Queen of Scots is the second movie, following Outlaw King on Netflix, to bring audiences a story of Scottish history and nobility. And once more the focus of the story is on the conflict that’s part of that history, particularly the tension between Scotland and England and the former’s desire to be free and independent from its larger cousin.

In this case that’s very literally the case. Saoirse Ronan plays Mary Stuart, who became queen of Scotland when she was just six days old. Forced to abdicate the throne, Mary eventually winds up seeking the protection of her cousin, Queen Victoria I (Margot Robbie), in England. The two are divided on many fronts, though, including Mary’s claim that she is the rightful English monarch, leading to backstabbing, confrontations and rivalry between the two.

The Posters

Two character posters, one with each of the lead characters, lead things off at the same time the first trailer was released. As many people pointed out, though, the placement of “Born to power” on Elizabeth’s poster and “Born to fight” on Mary’s was kind of backwards when you consider their actual circumstances. This seems like the studio ignoring history in order to position the characters more squarely as rivals, with Elizabeth the one grasping to the throne and Mary the one willing to take up arms to claim what she feels is hers.

The next two posters show the two women in various poses in relation to each other, each highlighting both the friendship and the conflict between the two.

The Trailers

As the trailer opens Mary has returned home to England from Scotland. She wants to make sure she and her cousin Elizabeth rule side-by-side as equals, not competitors or with one subservient to the other. Things quickly become competitive though as Elizabeth’s advisors position them against each other, something Mary keeps trying to avoid but which eventually leads to a clash of armies.

A second short trailer was released just earlier this week that positioned the story as “the epic clash of queens,” showing the two women maneuvering against each other while including blurbs and quotes from some of the positive reviews the movie has already accumulated.

Online and Social

The second trailer opens Focus Features’ official website for the movie, which seems to just offer visitors the two trailers and a brief “About” synopsis. There were also Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles for people to connect with.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

I’m not aware of any TV spots, but online ads have used some of the key art to show off the glamour of the costumes as well as the actors involved.

Media and Publicity

First look photos of Robbie and Ronan in character appeared in EW along with brief details on the story. Ronan was part of Focus’ CinemaCon presentation, where she talked about working with Robbie and what story they were trying to tell while the studio showed off a bit of footage. The movie was also part of the later CineEurope presentation from the studio.

A new interview with Ronan and another new still were part of EW’s Fall Movie Preview issue. It was later announced as the closing night feature at the AFI Film Fest. Later on Ronan, Robbie and director Josie Rourke were interviewed together about the production, the nature of the characters and more. Another later feature focused on the same material, including how the two costars worked to stay apart on set to better get in the mood of being rivals.

Robbie appeared on “The Tonight Show” to joke around and show off the look of the movie, with Ronan showing up just a couple days later to talk about the movie, her costra and more. Robbie also stopped in to “Good Morning America” and other shows.

Ronan was also interviewed about the characters and story and again about working with Robbie and more. The two were also jointly interviewed about the production and the political relevance of a story that pits two powerful women against each other, something Robbie also touched on here.

Chateau Marmont in Hollywood hosted a display of costumes from the movie presented by both Vanity Fair and Focus. Those costumes, and the work put into creating them, were the focus of a few stories and interviews with the designers while the sets also got some attention.

Costar Gemma Chan got a bit of attention later on in the campaign, including a short interview and a few TV appearances where she talked about being part of the cast and more.


What strikes me most strongly about the campaign is that on most every front, particularly in the publicity, it acknowledges that a lot of the rivalry and fighting between the two women is the fault of them needing to prove themselves in what is otherwise a man’s world. They’ve been controlled by advisors and regents and so are paranoid when they see any threat to their position, even if it comes from someone who should otherwise be a friend and ally.

That aside, the marketing has focused strongly on the two costars, which isn’t surprising. The story is there, of course, but it’s all about seeing these two actors go up against each other on screen in a period drama. That’s been the topic of the interviews they’ve done while the rest of the media push has played up the design of the set and costumes, offering audiences a spectacle along with the story.

Picking Up The Spare

Robbie spoke more here about the nerves she had in taking on the role of Queen Elizabeth.

The process of developing the story was covered in a profile of screenwriter Beau Willimon and historian Jon Guy.

Ronan made another appearance on “Late Night” to talk about the costumes and story of the movie.

Another featurette on the royal story of the movie as well as a clip showing some of the planning going on.

Boy Erased – Marketing Recap

boy erased poster 2The latest in a series of movies about parents dealing with their child’s sexuality, Boy Erased is directed by Joel Edgerton and stars Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe. They play Nancy and Marshall Eamons, parents of Jared (Lucas Hedges), who is gay.

That may not seem like a bad thing, but it is given that Marshall is a Baptist preacher. Jared is outed by his parents without his consent, after which he’s sent to controversial gay conversion therapy. So the story is about accepting – or not – who your kids are and the attitudes around whether that’s acceptable to parents or not.

The Posters

boy erased posterJared is shown in either deep contemplation or prayer on the first one-sheet, a reassuring parental hand seen on his shoulder. The names of the cast as well as the fact it’s based on a true story. The tagline at the top reads “The truth cannot be converted,” making the theme of the story explicit for the audience.

The second one-sheet places Jared between and in the background of his parents, an illuminated cross on the wall in the back. The same tagline is used and it’s clear that he’s causing strife in his family and division between his parents.

The Trailers

Jared has finally found the courage to come out to his parents in the first trailer, a declaration they just don’t accept. So they send him to a church-approved conversion camp where he’s told homosexuality isn’t natural and that God will never love him as long as he and the others insist on this identity. While there are plenty of scenes from that camp, the main focus of the trailer is on the dynamic between Jared and his parents and the conflict they feel between their love of their son and their love of God.

It’s a serious and sober-minded drama being sold here, one that has a lot of raw emotions on display. I’m hoping the story doesn’t paint all Christians as holding to the belief that homosexuality is an error to be corrected but is a bit more nuanced. Still, excellent performances all around are on display.

A second trailer was released just days before the movie was supposed to hit theaters that shows a lot more of what’s going on, from Jared coming out to his parents to them sending him away to be “fixed.” What’s different here is the extent to which his mother comes to his rescue when things clearly aren’t going right. The trailer ends with statistics about how many people are being held in therapy like what’s shown here and a link to the site to learn more.

Online and Social

Focus Features gave the movie its usual website treatment, opening with the trailer and giving way to full-motion video on the splash page. There don’t appear to be social profiles for the movie itself, just the studio. Scroll down and you’ll see some photos and an “About” synopsis but that’s it.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

I’m not aware of anything paid on behalf of the movie, but it’s possible I’ve missed something.

Media and Publicity

Some of the first real publicity for the movie came when Edgerton and Hedges showed up at CinemaCon to help Focus Features show off a bit of footage and talk about why they found the story so compelling. Edgerton later was interviewed about what attracted him to the true-life story and how he went about conveying the difficult subject matter.

The movie was also part of the later CineEurope presentation from the studio and was later added to the Toronto Film Festival and the Austin Film Festival as well as the Telluride Film Festival. It was also the closing night film at the Hamptons International Film Festival.

An interview with Hedges at the same time as the Telluride appearance had the actor talking about the movie and his career as a whole, as well as how this role relates to his own journey to understand his sexuality more fully. Edgerton spoke more about the kind of story he wanted to make and why he made this movie at this time.

At the movie’s premiere, the real Jared’s mother spoke about how the story is personal to her and how seeing it on the screen felt to her.

Costar Troye Sivan hosted a couple preview clips, one released on National Coming Out Day where he talked about his own experience coming out and one a PSA for StopErasing.com that advocates for the rejection of conversion therapy. Another had the cast celebrating “Spirit Day” to fight against bullying.

A video for the original song “Revelation” by Sivan and Jonsi came out in mid-October to help tap into the former’s fanbase.

Edgerton spoke about his opinion of conversion therapy and what prompted him to make the movie and tell this story.


As I stated at the opening, this is the third or fourth movie this year alone to tackle the idea of gay conversion therapy and similar topics. That means it has some competition for people’s attention. There’s nothing here that presents something wholly unique about this particular movie other than that it’s based on a true story, but even that has been done before.

That’s fine as it’s not that this isn’t a story that should be told and it’s certainly coming at a time when issues of identity are still at the forefront of our national conversation. It’s just that it may get lost in the shuffle and overshadowed by other events.

Picking Up The Spare

Edgerton spoke more in this interview about the process of making the movie and the responsibility he felt to tell the story. He also expressed some regret over not selling the movie to Netflix, saying that would have allowed more people to see it more readily. Hedges was also interviewed about some personal issues and how this movie fits into his other recent work. He also showed up on “Late Night.”

The Advocate was given a series of exclusive posters, a nice media partnership given the story’s subject matter.

The filmmakers helped create an original podcast series titled “UnErased” that offered insights into the history – and current practices – of the controversial gay conversion therapy that’s at the center of the film’s story.

Kidman noted this is one of two recent roles she’s taken where the character is a mother in a lot of pain over the choices they’ve made.

The Little Stranger – Marketing Recap

The marketing of THE LITTLE STRANGER makes the case for another movie about a house – and family – with plenty of secrets to hide.

little stranger poster 2Gothic-tinged, dark horror stories haven’t fared particularly well of late. Winchester came and went without much buzz, as have a few other recent entries. This week The Little Stranger tries to break through into some level of success. The movie stars Domhnall Gleeson as Dr. Faraday, a young man called back to an English estate he frequented as a child because his mother worked as a servant there.

Reacquainted with the Ayers family that still lives there, Faraday soon finds things are not as they once were. Not only is the once-lavish house now crumbling and dingy but so are the people. The children are haunted by something mysterious that seems to want everyone out of the house, while Caroline Ayers (Ruth Wilson) tries to manage the house as well as the matriarch, played by Charlotte Rampling.

The Posters

little stranger poster 1Metaphors are mixed in the tagline on the first poster, “From small acorns, dark mysteries grow.” That copy is meant to play up the spookiness of the photo, which is kind of confusing and a bit trippy. The main characters are posed as if for a formal portrait, but the house in the background is actually a framed painting. The little girl off to the side is looking toward the painting, but she sees a skewed reflection of herself as the little boy who may be haunting the house and causing all sorts of problems. In short, there’s a lot of juxtaposition happening here.

The second keeps the house in the background, but the main image is a profile of Gleeson’s Faraday, the paint cracking and chipping from his face so not only are there lines running down his neck but the entire top half of his face has come off. “These delusions are contagious,” the copy tells us.

The Trailers

As Dr. Faraday returns to a place he used to know as a child he marks, as the trailer opens, how much it has changed, appearing far less imposing and magical than it did years before. He’s been called there to help care for a member of the family that has lived there for centuries and who has been acting strangely, something Faraday attributes to “war shock.” There are odd things happening that point to something spooky residing in the house that’s tormenting the residents. Faraday keeps looking for rational explanations but events continue defying his efforts.

Gleeson seems to be carving out a nice little career for himself jumping all over to different genres and looks to be tackling the “haunted mid-20th century family home” category with his usual talent. The story looks fairly basic and predictable, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t likely a few surprises along the way.

Online and Social

Focus has used its standard site template for the movie’s online presence, opening with the trailer and placing the content further down the site, accessible via clicking on the various photos and images. There’s not a ton of additional information, mostly just an “About” section and bios of the principle cast. Links to the movie’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are also there at the top of the site.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

I haven’t seen any paid efforts, but may have missed something.

Media and Publicity

The filmmakers talked at the movie’s premiere about turning the book into a movie and how they approached that task.

A couple weeks prior to release clips like this started being pushed out to get people talking. The studio also put out audio of Gleeson reading a passage from the book’s first chapter.

GQ profiled Gleeson in a piece that covered his career to date and talked about this movie in particular, but also focused on how he’s been able to create a significantly diverse and eclectic filmography over the last several years. A more succinct overview was offered here.

Wilson was interviewed about what attracted her to the role of Caroline and what she thinks of horror films as a whole. Wilson, Gleeson and director Lenny Abrahamson all appeared on the BUILD Series to talk about similar themes.

Arclight Cinemas in LA hosted an exhibition of the costumes and wardrobe from the movie.


The appeal on display here is pretty standard, selling the audience on a movie filled with strange noises, mysterious happenings and a house filled with memories that aren’t all pleasant along with a family which has plenty of skeletons it would like to remain hidden. Gleeson and Wilson seem to give it their all to breathe life into the genre, but it remains to be seen if it actually offers anything original.

The biggest thing the movie has going for it is that this weekend is pretty weak in terms of new offerings. The primary competition it faces isn’t Operation Finale, it’s the third weekend of Crazy Rich Asians. It if can bring out genre fans who are biding their time until the next Blumhouse release, it might do alright.


The New York Times profiles star Ruth Wilson, focusing on the mysterious and somewhat off-kilter roles she seems drawn to. And EW talks with Sarah Waters, author of the source novel.

BlacKkKlansman – Marketing Recap

blackkklansman poster 3Spike Lee, one of the most powerful and important filmmakers of the last 30 years who we collectively too often sleep on or overlook, is back this week with the new movie BlacKkKlansman. The movie is basically just what you might think it is based on the title, a story of a black member of the KKK…at least kind of.

Based on real events from the 1970s, John David Washington plays police officer Ron Stallworth. In the midst of the social turmoil of the time, Stallworth decides to infiltrate the KKK to determine how dangerous they are. He conducts most of his business over the phone but partners with fellow cop Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) to be the face of the operation when things need to be handled in-person. They do so well they eventually cross paths with KKK leader David Duke (Topher Grace) himself.

The Posters

Ummm…wow. Stallworth is shown on the first poster standing there with one fist raised in a “black power” salute and the other holding a hair pick, all of which, when combined with the leather jacket he’s sporting, makes it clear the story takes place several decades in the past. The main thing is…he’s wearing the white hood of the Klan over his face, creating an incredible juxtaposition between the visual elements and setting up the nature and premise of the story. The edges of the photo shown have been artificially worn to give it a dated feel as well.

Driver and Washington stand on opposite sides of a white triangle, on which is the tagline “Infiltrate hate” and a reminder this is based on a true story. Of note here is the clear callout beneath the title that the movie comes “From producer Jordan Peele” to capitalize on his popularity.


One more had Washington standing within an American flag whose red and white stripes had been converted to black and white, those stripes going both behind and in front of him to illustrate how woven he and others are into the American experience. This one promises the movie is “Based on a crazy, outrageous, incredibly true story.”

The Trailers

I’m just not sure how to adequately explain how the first trailer opens with Stallworth, recently added to the police force, adopting a very white-sounding voice to call and get in the good graces of David Duke. Stallworth is out to infiltrate the KKK and can handle part of that, but needs “the right white man” to actually play the part in person, which means recruiting Zimmerman, who’s a bit skeptical. The execution of the plan coincides with the civil rights movement and other societal upheavals, with the reluctant partners out to take down those looking to keep any non-white people in their place.

It’s…it’s really funny. What’s shown here, with the music and everything, plays fast and loose and breezy, showing how the two partners make their plan come to fruition, albeit for different reasons. This is the kind of filmmaking we haven’t seen from Lee in a number of years and both Washington and Driver look pitch perfect.

Online and Social

Focus Features’ website for the movie isn’t exactly chock-full of information, but the basics are all covered. The site uses the studio’s standard layout, with the trailer playing as the site opens and other content available further down the page. So as you scroll down you can see an “About” section and then, available by clicking on the various pictures on the page, read bios and other facts about the cast and crew. Over on the right there are also links to the movie’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

I’ve seen a few online ads that have used the film’s key art and some social posts using the trailer, but that’s it. There no TV spots I’ve been able to find.

Media and Publicity

Aside from the…unconventional and eyebrow-raising title, the first real bit of news about the movie came when it was announced as one of those screening at the Cannes Film Festival. Footage was shown off by Lee at CinemaCon, with the tone of what was seen taking a good amount of the press and other attendees by surprise. The first still was released shortly after that. The movie was also part of the later CineEurope presentation from the studio.

A feature profile of Lee appeared just before the Cannes debut that allowed him to talk about making the movie, what he wants to convey through it, his thoughts on the current president and lots more that show he hasn’t missed a step over the years. He talked again to Vanity Fair after that screening, which was very well-received and generated a ton of great word-of-mouth. It also included comments from Lee, unsurprisingly, about the current U.S. political climate and administration. He reiterated those views in subsequent interviews like this before the movie was ultimately given the festival’s Grand Prix award, significant for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it was one of the few entries in the actual competition this year from a U.S. filmmaker.

The movie was one of two at Cannes featuring Topher Grace, resulting in a narrative emerging about how this was a kind of comeback for the actor and how this was part of a mission to reinvent his career. He talked more about why he opted to take on such a controversial role while Washington was also profiled in a feature where he talked about carving out a career independent of his father’s and more.

At some point it was noticed the movie was one of several either primed for release or in production that focused on the KKK being the adversary in some manner.

In late July a major press push happened that included Lee talking about the tone of the movie and how he sees himself in the scope of film history, how he became involved with the project and how his family influenced his filmmaking, why he included recent news footage as well as more on the Trump presidency and the current state of racism in America. That Rolling Stone story also revealed Lee had secured an unreleased Prince song to use during the end credits, something he explained more in-depth here. Co-writer Kevin Willmott also talked about many of the same themes mentioned above.

That coincided with the release of two clips, one showing Grace as Duke thanking his supporters for putting “America first” and one showing Stallworth getting more familiar with black culture.

While there wasn’t much on the paid front, there was a significant press push in the final week before release. Washington appeared on “Access Hollywood,” while Grace appeared on “The Today Show,” as did both Lee and Washington. Meanwhile, Lee showed up on “NBC Nightly News” and elsewhere. All those and others created an exclusive featurette for Regal Cinemas.

The real Stallworth was interviewed as well, mentioning how he’d spoken to Duke recently and how the Trump-supporting racist was “concerned” he may not come off well in the movie, something that defies parody.


Well…What to say about that. Spike Lee has made a movie that:

  1. Is about black law enforcement standing up for an underrepresented culture and taking on established powers that have ignored the plight of their community for too long.
  2. Is about how white supremacist neo-nazis are unquestionably the bad guy, someone to be targeted for investigation and taken down because of their hate speech.

And all of that and more is in a campaign that makes the story seem not only timely but funny. It’s hard to think of a story that’s more relevant, especially since its release is timed to the one year anniversary of the white supremacist marches at Charlottesville.


More from the real Ron Stallworth on how he helped John David Washington prepare to play him. There’s also this additional interview with screenwriter Kevin Willmott.

Spike Lee shared a music video for the previously-unreleased Prince song he managed to secure for the movie.

Great profiles here and here of Laura Harrier, who didn’t get much attention in advance of release. Costume designer Marci Rogers also was interviewed about her work on the movie.

John David Washington shared what his first experiences on the set of the film were and what inspired him about working with Spike Lee.

Washington and others from the cast spoke out about what has happened in the country in the year since the Charlottesville incidents and how the movie connects to that. They also explained how they got into character for the time period the story is set in.

There have been a number of stories like this that continue to explore the real events depicted in the story and the connection between the real Ron Stallworth and Washington, who plays him in the movie.

Topher Grace continues to be a central focus of the press as he appears on “Late Night” to talk about the film.

Lee finally got on TV, talking with Seth Meyers about the connections between this movie – and the events that inspired it – and the present day. He also appeared on “The Daily Show.”

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

The real-life Ron Stallworth is interviewed here about his actual experiences and how closely the movie adheres to that.

The technical aspects of shooting the film are discussed here by director of photography Chayse Irvin.

The movie’s producers spoke about how they were a bit more free to tell this story in the way they wanted following the success of Get Out.