How MGM has sold the latest from director Guy Ritchie.
Jason Statham reteams with director Guy Ritchie for this week’s new release Wrath of Man. In the movie Statham plays the mysteriously-named H, who as the story begins gets a new job at an armored truck security firm. When his truck is targeted by would-be thieves H out of nowhere displays highly-specialized skills to neutralize the attackers, much to the surprise of his coworkers. It turns out H has an agenda all his own as he seeks revenge for a personal tragedy.
Like many of Ritchie’s movies (not counting his…umm…side quest directing Aladdin), this one comes preceded by a marketing push that’s been slick and violent, both hallmarks of his work for decades now. Mostly positive reviews have earned the movie a solid 75% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, so let’s take a look at how it’s been sold.
On what seems to be the movie’s only poster (by marketing agency AV Print), released in late March, H is seen looking dapper but serious, his finely-tailored suit contrasting with the bloody, bruised knuckles of his hands and the wounds on his face. There’s no copy, but that visual does a decent job of communicating the basic ideas of the movie to the audience. Helping that is how Ritchie’s name is the same size as Statham’s, showing just how much of a brand the director is himself and how important a role that name recognition plays in capturing an audience.
The first trailer (18.5 million views on YouTube) came out in late March, opening with H being introduced as the newest member of the team and being instructed on how dangerous the job of guarding cash trucks is. A hold-up shows the rest of the team how precise and deadly H really is, and it turns out he has a personal grudge he brings to the job. But which side of the law he’s working on is up in the air, as he seems to be using everyone to exact his long-festering revenge.
Online and Social
It’s not a bad website MGM/United Artists Releasing put up for the movie. There you’ll find a pretty good synopsis as well as a photo gallery and some of the videos, including the trailer, along with information on where you can buy tickets for theatrical showings where they’re available.
There were also social profiles on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that have helped promote the movie online. Short clips shared on social channels offered additional looks at the movie, many of which featured footage not previously seen in the trailers or presenting expanded looks at some of those scenes.
Advertising, Press and Promotions
News and rumors about the film began circulating in 2019, noting that this would reteam Ritchie and Statham for the first time in about 20 years.
We get a little bit more of H’s backstory and motivations in a TV spot released a little after the first trailer came out in March.
A featurette released in April has Ritchie and others talking about the story, including how it might be more violent and bloody and any of the director’s previous films.
Two clips from later in April show H enjoying a night out with the rest of his new team, who are perplexed by his standoffish solitude and talking amongst themselves about their concerns over H’s behavior during the first confrontation with the thieves.
Both AMC and IMAX shared short featurettes that included the cast and crew discussing the story and making the case for seeing the movie on the big screen where they could.
Last week the movie was promoted to gamers when MGM sponsored the Twitch stream of a Call of Duty: Warzone tournament, with actual athletes representing the movie’s branded team.
One final clip features a cameo from musical artist Post Malone, with the footage once more taken from H’s first encounter with the thieves robbing his truck.
From the majority of the campaign it’s almost impossible to make out what the story is actually about or determine what H’s motives might be. That’s alright, though, since selling a story of any kind isn’t what the marketing is about.
Instead the goal is to position it as a violent escapist revenge fantasy from a director and star known for such things. Ritchie’s name being prominent on all the material – including the stills and other images shared on social media – indicates how much of a draw he’s perceived to be.
But other than his unique visual flair, the campaign offers no indication of whether there’s anything original in what generally seems like the 12,000th variation on Death Wish, not to mention that “deal with your feelings by grabbing a gun” seems like a message out of sync with literally everything right now.