SuperIntelligence – Marketing Recap

How HBO Max has sold a high-concept comedy not too far removed from reality.

Melissa McCarthy stars in this week’s new HBO Max release Superintelligence, directed once again by her husband Ben Falcone. In the film McCarthy plays Carol Peters, an all-around unremarkable woman who one day finds herself targeted by a powerful artificial intelligence (voiced by James Corden) that is deciding if it should enslave, destroy or leave humanity alone. It plans to study Carol for a few days before making its ultimate decision.

Along the way, the AI gifts her with a fortune to see what she does when freed from other concerns. The situation also prompts Carol to attempt to reconnect with her ex, George (Bobby Cannavale), wanting to spend what might be her last few days with no regrets about the past. Meanwhile, the FBI wants to know why Carol got the AI’s attention and what can be done about it.

As with many others, the movie was originally scheduled for theatrical late last year before being pulled by Warner Bros. and ultimately replatformed for streaming.

The Posters

Carol and George are having a nice romantic moment on the poster (by marketing agency Works Adv), released in November. The two look like they’re enjoying each other’s company along with some champagne and it all seems pleasant until you realize the heart shape in the wall behind them seems to hint at some sort of violence or devastation that has created such an opening. That juxtaposition, intended to create some intrigue or interest, comes off as a bit odd, hinting at a movie that may not know which tone to take.

The Trailers

As the trailer (6.7 million views on YouTube), released in early November, opens, we see that an ultra-sophisticated computer system has set its eyes on Carol for…reasons. It knows everything about her and has led her to believe the world is going to end in three days, something it’s threatening to do if it can’t understand humanity more fully through her. With the FBI wondering why it’s targeted Carol, she takes the idea of there not being many more tomorrows to reconnect with an ex-boyfriend.

Online and Social

No stand-alone site for the movie, but HBO Max did give it regular support on its brand social channels.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

A brief controversy emerged in mid-November when it was noticed that one of the groups taking part in the “20 Days of Kindness” campaign was staunchly anti-abortion, which seemed to be off-brand for McCarthy and others. She and the studio issued a statement days later saying that group had been removed from the effort.

After the trailer came out a number of featurettes were released that covered the love story of the movie, the makeover Carol gives herself to win George back and how much of an average, non-exceptional human being Carol is.

Other promos like this really leaned into McCarthy’s popularity.

Media and Publicity

McCarthy and Forte appeared on stage to do a bit during WB’s CinemaCon 2019 presentation, an effort to get exhibitors and others excited about the upcoming film. In October of last year it was announced the movie would forego a theatrical release and instead be saved for the debut of HBO Max.

The cast participated in a group interview about technology and related issues here.

Both Falcone and McCarthy appeared on late night and other talk shows to talk about the movie and once more working together.

Overall

The message of the campaign is simple, and largely the same one as most other comedies starring McCarthy. Namely, if you enjoy her antics and persona, you’ll likely enjoy this movie. If not, you may want to find something else because it’s probably going to be relatively similar to what you’ve seen before.

That’s not a bad thing, as McCarthy is a comedic powerhouse, one with a relatively solid and box-office record. Such a record makes her streaming feature debut more of a statement about the health of comedies at the box-office than it probably should be, even when adjusting for this being a pandemic year. She is who she is, especially when being directed by Falcone, and this campaign makes that abundantly clear.

Charm City Kings – Marketing Recap

[Editorial Note: I’ll be honest, I must have gotten my dates mixed up. In early September HBO announced an October release date for the movie, putting out a new trailer that took a more dramatic take on Mouse’s story. It hit a lot of the same notes but upped the angst he seems to be balancing as well as making the dreams he’s chasing a bit more clear. Below is the original marketing recap published in August. –CT]

How HBO Max is selling a story of following a dream to make your mark.

Just what someone will do to make the intolerable tolerable seems to form the core of the story in this week’s new release Charm City Kings. The movie stars Jahi Di’Allo Winston as Mouse, a young kid growing up in Baltimore whose options for the rest of his life are limited. Because they’re the coolest people in the neighborhood, Mouse idolizes those in The Midnight Clique, one of the dirt bike gangs who come out every summer. That he’s too young and doesn’t have the money to get his own bike to join them are small matters to Mouse, who refuses to be deterred, even if it means he has to do things that are dangerous.

The movie then is about Mouse’s conflict in choosing whether to do whatever is necessary to achieve his dream or be the law-abiding young man his family and friends want him to be.

The campaign for the film has been a disjointed affair, thanks in large part to a recent shift in release plans, to the extent that it’s lost a lot of momentum and could completely pass audiences by.

The Posters

Just one poster, released in February, so it still sports Sony’s branding at the bottom. The overall design features Blax (Meek Mill) looking out over the dirt bike racing action that’s happening below him. Copy reads “3 kings. 2 choices. 1 summer.” in order to establish the overall dynamic between the characters and the situations they will face over the course of the story.

The Trailers

In mid-January the teaser trailer (now unavailable) was released, introducing us to Mouse as it opens. He has aspirations of joining a team of dirt bike riders who race along the city streets, but not only is it dangerous but his mother forbids him from doing so because that’s how his older brother died. The spot shows the rough world Mouse lives in and the things he does because of that environment.

The second trailer, released in early March, offers much more explanation of the story. It starts with Mouse sharing his aspirations to join the biggest biking group in the area, something he feels he’s old enough and good enough to do. When his attempts to get a bike of his own through legitimate methods don’t work out he takes up other, illegal tactics. That gets him in a fair amount of trouble but he’s focused on his goals and so does what he feels he has to.

Online and Social

Nothing here, including what seems to be a complete lack of support for the movie on HBO Max’s brand social accounts. Even the URL featured on the first poster has been taken down completely, redirecting to a DNS server.

Advertising and Promotions

With the debut screening scheduled for the Sundance Film Festival, Sony Pictures Classics acquired distribution rights for the movie. It won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast at Sundance. As that festival was winding down the news came it would later screen at the Miami Film Festival. A planned appearance at SXSW was cancelled when that festival was scrapped.

In early May news broke that the movie had been sold by Sony to HBO Max, becoming one of the new streaming platform’s handful of original features at launch. Sony’s original release plans had been shut down when the Covid-19 outbreak shuttered most theaters, with the studio pulling it from the schedule at that time.

Media and Press

The cast and crew spoke about the movie and its story while at Sundance, including how they hoped the story would be seen as universal to kids everywhere.

Cinematographer Katelin Arizmendi was interviewed about her attempts to bring a starkly realistic look to the film and its environment.

Since then there’s been almost nothing.

Overall

It’s striking how in some very real ways the campaign simply doesn’t exist. Both of the trailers were taken off of Sony’s YouTube channel and HBO Max never reuploaded them after it acquired the film. So the only apparent “official” versions of the trailer are those shared by co-star Meek Mill and producer Will Smith. Add that to the fact that there’s no website and no apparent social support and it’s almost like the movie is intentionally being given as little attention as possible.

That’s a shame because it came out of Sundance like a rocket, with a fair amount of positive buzz that made it out to be a movie people shouldn’t miss, which is part of the reason Sony scooped it up. That Covid-19 pandemic, though, seems to have thrown a wrench in those gears and it’s now coming out with nary a whimper and with much of its past marketing efforts erased.

Unpregnant – Marketing Recap

How HBO Max is selling a story of two girls trying to help each other out.

The new film Unpregnant, hitting HBO Max this week, is the second film of 2020 to focus on a character who’s required to go to extreme measures in order to obtain an abortion. Where Never Rarely Sometimes Always took a dramatic and serious approach to the topic, this one is more of a teen road trip comedy.

High school student Veronica (Haley Lu Richardson) finds out she’s pregnant and decides she can’t go through with it. Because she lives in Missouri there are no legal abortion providers around her and so realizes she needs to cross state lines. Lacking her own transportation, she reaches out to Bailey (Barbie Ferreira) an estranged friend and convinces her to help, specifically by driving the two of them to the nearest clinic they can find.

Written by Ted Caplan and Jenni Hendriks, who also wrote the book the movie is based on, and directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg, HBO Max’s campaign hasn’t shied away from the sensitive nature of the story while also selling it as a comedy that’s less imposing than the earlier film.

The Posters

Veronica and Bailey sit on the hood of the latter’s car on the poster (by BLT Communications), released in mid-August. That photo sells it as a teen comedy in the vein of something like Booksmart. The story itself is communicated, albeit in a subtle kind of way, through the copy “She’s a Type A without a Plan B.” With that copy, the audience gets that one of the characters – presumably the less goth-looking one – is a high achiever who needs to deal with an unplanned pregnancy.

The Trailers

The first trailer (128,000 views on YouTube) came out in mid-August, starting off with Veronica finding out she’s pregnant and then discovering the nearest abortion provider is a couple states away. Without a way to get there, she turns to Bailey and the two embark on an epic road trip involving chases, unexpected help, a minor run in with the police and an unsuccessful attempt to jump on a moving train. It looks funny and kind of sweet in its own way, taking a serious subject and making it about friendship and being true to who you are and the choices you make.

Online and Social

No website for the film, but there were social media accounts on Twitter and elsewhere that were less focused on the story than they were on positioning Veronica and Bailey as #friendshipgoals and their fashion.

Advertising and Promotions

Not much on this front, though it’s likely there were at least some online ads run along with other promotions.

Media and Press

Some first look stills along with comments from those involved were released in early August.

The cast and filmmakers all spoke about how they connected to the material and more.

Overall

There’s some good stuff in this campaign, particularly in how it presents the characters as largely independent and able to make their own choices. And it does a good job of keeping the central theme of the story – Veronica’s desire for an abortion and the lengths she has to go to in order to get one – front and center, even as it has some fun with the friendship between the characters.

That tone has come under some criticism by those who don’t feel abortion should be treated so lightly. But there’s nothing in the marketing, at least, that plays down the serious nature of the topic or treats it with any disrespect. Instead it just offers a more comedic take that shows there’s room enough for different takes on a theme when one movie doesn’t have to represent everything because it’s the only one that’s been made.

Picking Up The Spare

A couple new interviews with director Rachel Lee Goldberg where she talks about wanting to remove the stigma from abortion and why she choose to tell the story in a comedic manner. That last point was also covered by Richardson in this interview

The movie’s drive-thru premiere event was covered here

Sony sponsored a Spotify playlist of driving tunes to promote the film. 

Substantial profile of Ferreira here, including how she feels about body-shaming and other issues in the industry and culture as a whole. There was also a new interview with Richardson where she talked about some of the influences she pulled from for her performance. Producer Erik Feig was also profiled.

An American Pickle – Marketing Recap

How HBO is selling a comedy starring dual Seth Rogens.

In the last few year, multiple projects have featured a single actor playing two roles, usually twins. Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo and others have all turned in split-screen performances, playing off themselves in addition to anyone else who happens to be on screen. One could make the case, like digital de-aging usage, that this is a questionable tactic to employ that deprives other actors of a role and plays down to the audience in a way.

Seth Rogen becomes the latest to take on not one but two characters, this time in the HBO Max original film An American Pickle. Rogen plays Herschel Greenbaum, an Eastern European immigrant who comes to America in the early decades 20th century with his wife Sarah (Sarah Snook). Herschel gets a job in a pickle factory and one day falls in a vat of brine, where he’s left when the factory closes. The brine preserves him and he wakes up a century later, finding himself in a world he doesn’t recognize. His great-great-grandson Ben (also Rogen) is his only relative, introducing Herschel to the 21st century and telling him what became of his family after his disappearance.

The movie, like many others this year, had a very different fate planned originally. But HBO Max’s campaign has used Rogen’s unique sense of humor and an offbeat story to hook audiences who are already streaming subscribers or who might become subscribers.

The Posters

Rogen as Herschel is the sole figure on the one poster (by marketing agency BLT Communications), released in late July. The photo is made to look like an old-fashioned photograph that would be appropriate to the ear he lived in and so helps to establish the premise and setting of at least some of the story. Both The Disaster Artist and 50/50, both movies produced by Rogen and his partner Evan Goldberg, are mentioned at the top while at the bottom the premiere date is shared.

The Trailers

We meet Herschel and Sarah Greenbaum as the first trailer (9.9 million views on YouTube), released in early July, begins. They’re living and working in a small “old world” country and are more or less happy, until the day Herschel dies after falling in a vat of pickles. Cut to a century later and he reemerges, with his great-grandson Ben his only surviving descendent. The two have a hard time getting to know each other, of course, leading to what seems to be much of the movie’s humor.

Online and Social

It doesn’t seem that HBO Max has created a stand-alone website for the movie, nor did they give it much promotion on the brand’s social profiles.

Advertising and Promotions

The movie had originally been setup at Sony for several years. In April of this year, though, with the theatrical release schedule thrown into disarray because of Covid-19, it was sold to Warner Bros., which announced it would go straight to streaming on HBO Max.

No paid promotions were apparent to me, but there were surely at least a few promoted social posts or online ads that drove traffic to the HBO Max sign-up site.

Media and Press

Rogen, of course, was the public face of the movie. He gave interviews where he talked about how this project is the latest in a string of successful productions for Goldberg and himself, how this film was conceived and created and what he made of Sony selling the movie to Warner Bros. earlier this year.

He also appeared on “The Tonight Show” and elsewhere to engage in challenges and talk about the movie.

Overall

You have to at least be partially won over just by the absurd premise that’s laid out in the campaign. It’s so over-the-top and ridiculous that it’s immediately plausible as the basis for a goofy comed that doesn’t care about common sense or believability, as long as it offers a foundation for the humor to come.

In that way it’s pretty solidly on-brand for Rogen and Goldberg, who have made a career of such notions. Therein lies the appeal for anyone who’s already a fan of their previous work.

What seems evident, though, is that this isn’t a massive draw for new subscribers like some other high-profile streaming releases over the last several months. Seth Rogen movies are the kind of thing you watch because you already can, not sign up for a whole new subscription for. That’s not a knock on their work, it’s just that this likely isn’t going to be a game-changer like Hamilton on Disney+. Instead it looks like just a pretty good movie that should be highly enjoyable, which is all it needs to be.

Picking Up The Spare

Highlights from the film’s virtual premiere can be found here

More interviews with Rogen on playing dual roles in the film and learning to speak Yiddish for the film. 

A Promoted Trend was purchased by HBO Max to drive awareness and attention. There were also standard online ads that drove people to subscribe to the service, using this movie as an incentive to do so. 

Rogen appeared on “Late Night” to talk about the difficulty of playing two roles against each other. 

HBO released a featurette that showed off some of the filmmaking techniques employed for the film. It also put out a cast Q&A and a look at how the filmmakers created the vintage photographs in the film. 

HBO Max’s Gotham Show Needs to Avoid the SHIELD Potholes

Wait, is this one actually about Batman or nah?

When news broke last week that HBO Max would be producing a new series focused on the Gotham City Police Department and set in the same universe as Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman, it immediately set off a few skepticism triggers.

Most notably, it seemed very similar in concept to “Agents of SHIELD,” which debuted in 2013 and is in the midst of its final season. Like the proposed Gotham PD show, the pitch sets up a show that exists alongside the movie, exploring more of what life is like for the police officers and detectives who operate in the same city as a bat-themed vigilante. Similarly, “SHIELD” offered audiences the chance to follow along with the missions of the spy agency that occasionally assisted the super heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

When “SHIELD” was being promoted and through its first couple seasons, the connective material between the series and the movies was plain to see. Not only did it feature the return of MCU’s favorite supporting character Phil Coulson but several stories followed plot elements initially set up on The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark WorldI and others. As the series went on, though, it seemed to take fewer cues from the MCU, in part because it seemed to get hard to plan a TV show around the big events depicted on the big screen. Some connections remained, but the final separation seems to have occurred when the show had to largely ignore the events of Avengers: Infinity War and the Thanos snap that wiped out half of life in the universe.

The Bomb Marvel GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

“SHIELD,” as an ongoing TV series, was telling a serialized story. The problem emerged from the fact that the MCU films were *also* telling a serialized story. And it’s hard to keep two simultaneous ongoing narratives going when they are intended to be complementary. Just ask anyone in the comics industry, where creators have to make sure they’re not using a character in Book A that is in the middle of a totally different thing in Book B, or that crossovers feature accurate versions of the characters as they exist at the moment. They can feed into each other every now and again, but more often than not it can be jarring for the reader when the Iron Man who shows up in an Avengers book is drastically different than the one seen in his solo title because two different writers are telling two different stories.

It’s hard to imagine the Gotham PD show won’t run into the same problems. It may start out with the best of intentions and some solid plans to keep the story flowing in both directions, with the promise of appearances by Jeffrey Wright as Jim Gordon and the like, but it’s going to be hard to maintain. Actors will come and go, producers will realize that the story arc for a character doesn’t get her where she needs to be for the next film’s planned events. Or the monumental events of a movie will be nie impossible for the smaller scale show to accurately deal with.

Again, “SHIELD” provides an instructive lesson here. Almost as soon as the show left the gate, the very premise was blown up because of what happened in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While it successfully kept going, that development cut out an important piece of the series’ foundation, and a lot of time was spent explaining those ripple effects and establishing a new footing for the characters.

There’s a lot of great potential in a Gotham PD show. That was clear in “Gotham,” which started off a bit unsure of itself but found its groove when the creators leaned into the insanity of the rogue’s gallery of villains populating the city. They told some big stories very well, but they also didn’t have the burden of trying to tie into anything else. Heck they didn’t even have to worry about Batman himself, who didn’t appear until the last moments of the show. A more straightforward police procedural could be just as interesting, but like “SHIELD” it will have to come up with one reason after another why the police are dealing with the problems they have and aren’t calling in the help of their local vigilante.

Season 5 Fox GIF by Gotham - Find & Share on GIPHY

In a best case scenario, the show becomes a hit on its own and a powerful part of the brand identity and marketing machine of the films. Consider me interested enough to see how this turns out

Streaming Originals Could Change How Movie Marketing Campaigns Are Run

Original content may decide who wins the streaming wars

Where were you when you found out Netflix would lose “Friends” next year? How many sad face emojis did you use when you Retweeted the news “The Office” would be leaving?

Much of the news surrounding the launch of streaming services from all the big media companies has focused on the fate of what we’ll call “legacy IP,” shows and movies that are at least a few years – if not decades – old. HBO Max will soon host “Friends” while “The Office” will go to NBCUniversal’s still-unlaunched service. Disney+ will be the exclusive home of Star Wars, Marvel and other franchises.

That these older properties still hold so much allure and potential for the companies that own them is telling in and of itself. Their continued popularity makes them pure revenue generators, their production costs long since recouped and little additional expenditure required. Better to keep selling audiences what’s old and familiar because it’s cheap to do so.

The future of media is, it seems, largely dependent on the availability of 20+ year old sitcoms. Some surveys have shown that licensed content is what people want from a streaming service. It’s likely safe to include legacy IP in that since it makes up a good chunk of that licensed content.

Despite this, each company also realizes the need for original material. Apple has a reported $6 billion budgeted for original shows and movies. Quibi has raised $2 billion for the new shows it seems to announce every other day. The $15 billion earmarked by Netflix includes acquisition as well as production. By these measures, the $1 billion Disney is said to be spending on production for Disney+ is miniscule, but given the strength of the catalog titles it has at its disposal it’s understandable it would start smaller.

So much money being devoted to producing original series and movies shows there’s an appetite for that material among the audience. That would also explain why the announcement of each has come with a list of what new content will be available. HBO Max was touted as featuring two movies produced by Reese Witherspoon and four by Greg Berlanti and just made a new Steven Soderbergh film its first major acquisition. Disney+ will offer a handful of remakes of classic films along with new movies starring Anna Kendrick, directed by Tom McCarthey and so on.

We already know that advertising for the services themselves – which usually includes snippets of highly sought-after content serving as the core proposition – has dropped recently.

While a handful of teasers and promotions for some of the series and shows coming to these services have already been released – Apple dropped the full trailer for its much-anticipated “The Morning Show” just a couple days ago – we’ve yet to see any marketing for the films and movies scheduled.

Still, a number of assumptions can be made based on the campaigns run for original films on Netflix, Amazon, DC Universe and other streaming platforms.

Trailers will likely be released on YouTube and social networks. This despite the fact that all these platforms are in many ways competitors, featuring their own original content productions and/or deals. Shows exclusive to YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook and others compete with those currently found on Netflix or coming from Disney etc for the time, money and attention of the audience. Still, the critical mass built up by those platforms as distribution hubs seems to trump any concerns about using a competitor’s infrastructure.

One has to wonder how much longer this will be worth it, though. It’s already clear that Facebook in particular actively prioritizes its own material in the content it shows users, illustrating how these platforms act in their own self-interest. For the time being, though, use of third-party video hosting remains the default and I don’t know if we’re actually headed toward a return of the days when trailers were available only as uploaded media on an official website.

Putting distribution to the side, the format of trailers may also be up for a bit of reinvention. The standard 2:30 running time is one dictated by the MPAA as the maximum allowable. While objectively a short amount of time, it’s eons in terms of online video. User preferences on social platforms are much shorter. It’s possible instead of one primary trailer and subsequent shorter shorts studios begin to create collections of :45 second promos. Each could offer a specific value proposition instead of trying to cram as much as possible into a single, longer video.

Whatever the case, studios need to stop simply cropping 16×9 videos for formats preferred by social networks. That’s terrible.

Websites themselves are even more questionable. The attention paid to them by studios of all kinds has waned in recent years to the point where the content shared is limited to a single trailer, a brief story synopsis and links to buy tickets. Some movies get more attention online than others, but the default now seems to be minimum viable effort, just enough to justify securing the URL.

That shift reflects changes in the overall media landscape in the last half-dozen or more years. Many media companies no longer see “drive traffic to website” as a primary goal of their online marketing, choosing to produce content that lives solely on one or another social media profile. Asking people to click from Twitter to a website in order to buy tickets isn’t as efficient as simply putting the ticket-buying link in a social update where it can be immediately acted upon.

It’s likely at least some of the streaming services will follow Netflix’s lead and simply abandon the standalone website altogether. That company, with a couple high-profile exceptions, hasn’t even bothered to create sites for its movies, a tactic that makes sense given the call to action for them is “watch now” or “subscribe now.”

Social media, for that reason, is more likely to continue being a tactic consistently implemented. This is how studios are going to increasingly reach modern audiences who live on their mobile devices and use those networks for news, personal connections and work.

Hints as to how those networks could be activated are likely found by looking to not only Netflix but smaller studios like IFC Films. Both rarely create standalone profiles for their films, preferring to support them on the brand channels. The level of that support varies from film to film, though. IFC recently paid little attention to Vita & Virginia since it was busy promoting The Nightingale. And Netflix props up its original shows much more frequently than it does the movies it debuts.

You can see that brand-centric approach already being taken by Disney+, which recently made headlines after debuting its Twitter account and engaging in conversation with all the IP it manages.

The reality is that creating Facebook and other profiles for every individual movie has never made a whole lot of sense. Movies are products whose expiration date is clearly displayed on the label, so devoting significant resources to building up an audience for each one – and audience that is then abandoned within months of acquisition – seems wrong-headed.

Posters are also a format that may not be long for this world. While Netflix and other streamers have continued producing them over the years, in a world where theatrical distribution is reserved for only the biggest of the big releases there wouldn’t seem to be much rationale for creating the 24×36 one sheets designed to fit in backlit cases in theater hallways.

Studios are already producing promotional graphics formatted to work well on social platforms, so why not drop the facade of needing to create a “theatrical poster?” As with trailers, focus instead on a series of images that, when released in sequence, tell some sort of story.

That’s what Netflix did on the Instagram profile for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, posting several collections of images that on their own weren’t much. When viewed in “grid” mode, each collection showed a full picture of one of the movie’s stories, offering a better look at what audiences could expect in a way formatted to take advantage of how that platform was used.

buster scruggs instagram.png

Advertising campaigns could also be due for a shakeup. Studios usually begin paid campaigns around the time the first trailer debuts, using Promoted Posts on social networks, putting pre-roll ads on YouTube and placing banner and other ads elsewhere on the web. TV commercials are often reserved for the last month before release.

Some of that could be retained in a streaming-centric world, but general online ads are likely to be changed significantly. For theatrical movies those ads point to websites where people can buy advance tickets, but Netflix usually reserves online ad buys for *after* a movie is available to watch, not before. That’s a big shift in tactics and could have serious implications for the kinds of sites that depend on movie ad revenue.

Again, we’ve yet to see marketing campaigns for the original films from Disney+, HBO Max or any of the other to-be-launched streaming services. So it’s not clear what kind of marketing support they will receive or how tactics may change.

One factor that could play a big role in how these campaigns are rolled out is that, unlike Netflix, the companies behind these streaming services all have long histories of theatrical releases. While Netflix has battled on many occasions with theater chains, WarnerMedia, Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount and others all have comfortable relationships with the MPAA, NATO and others in the exhibition industry.

Those groups – and their members – have previously supported the big media companies as being continued supporters of theatrical movie-going, especially compared to upstarts like Netflix. Even Amazon has preserved those relationships by giving their original features theatrical distribution prior to streaming, though that window is shrinking from months to weeks with upcoming titles like The Report and The Aeronauts.

It’s possible, then, that the campaigns for streaming exclusive films could be decided based on which feathers are or aren’t being ruffled by companies that want to continue to live in both worlds.

More clear is that the current function of movie marketing campaigns have been dictated by the form of release patterns, specifically putting films in theaters. As that default setting is increasingly no longer applicable, the function will change in ways more relevant to today’s consumers, whose media habits change daily.