Supernova – Marketing Recap

How Bleecker Street has sold a romance of celebrating a life together.

In the new movie Supernova, written and directed by Harry Macqueen, Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth play Tusker and Sam, respectively, a married couple dealing with an unfortunate reality. Namely, Tusker has been diagnosed with dementia and is losing his memory of their life together. So the couple has decided to take an extended RV road trip before his condition gets worse, checking in with friends and family and revisiting some of their favorite places from their relationship.

Bleecker Street has sold the movie, which has an 88% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a sweet, gentle campaign based around the relationship at the heart of the story.

The Posters

Sam and Tusker are shown in a close embrace on the single poster (by marketing agency The Posterhuse) that came out in mid-September of last year. There’s no tagline or other copy, but the scenic photo in the background of what I’m guessing is the English countryside certainly helps establish the story’s setting. And the star chart superimposed over all that is a nice touch considering what else we’ll see in the campaign.

The Trailers

The first trailer (784k views on YouTube) was released in early January, starting out by showing how Sam and Tusker are taking a road trip together, something they’ve done frequently in the past. They’re out visiting family and friends and revisiting some of their old haunts in part because Tusker is losing his memory and they want to have one last outing together before it gets worse. It’s funny and emotional and sweet, all focused on the performances of Tucci and Firth.

Online and Social

Not much on the studio’s official website for the film. In addition to just a small amount of marketing material the site is focused primarily on helping people buy tickets to the movie’s limited theatrical showings or via various VOD platforms.

Advertising and Promotions

The movie screened at the San Sebastián International Film Festival in September and the screened at BFI Film Festival in October. That same month Bleecker Street acquired the film.

A clip came out after the trailer showing Tusker embarrassing Sam – in a nice way – at a roadside diner. Another shows the couple in a tender moment first glimpsed in the trailer.

Media and Press

The two leads spoke about how they worked on the details of their characters’ relationship, how they each got involved with the film and more. Similar ground was covered in another interview where they and Macqueen revealed the parts were initially meant for the other actor before they proposed switching.

Both Firth and Tucci appeared on “The Late Show” while Tucci showed up by himself on “Late Night.”

Overall

If you remember a movie called The Leisure Seeker from a few years ago, you’ll know this is just one of a few recent movies that have dealt with couples navigating the difficult terrain of one member no longer being fully present mentally. The difference here is not only in the sexuality of the couple in question but in how Tusker and Sam are still relatively young. While the overall trend of dementia-related movies may be in part a reaction to the aging of the Baby Boom generation, this one dials the character ages back several years to show a couple that should still be in its prime.

The marketing itself is very nice, but I do have to note that the campaign seems to downplay the relationship between the leads to some extent. That’s not to say that it’s completely ignored or overlooked, but it also doesn’t seem to emphasize that the two are more than just close friends, despite the fact that the personal friendship between Tucci and Firth is a cornerstone of the campaign.