Infinite – Marketing Recap

How Paramount+ is selling a time-twisting action movie.

Infinite, starring Mark Wahlberg and directed by Antoine Fuqua, is the first non-Spongebob movie to make its debut on the Paramount+ streaming service, arriving there later this week. As such it represents something of a statement on the part of Paramount, indicating the platform is for more than kids programming, library content and a few prestige series.

Wahlberg stars as Evan McCauley, a man haunted by recurring visions and confused when he finds he has skills he’s never trained for or practiced. One day he’s tracked down by a mysterious group calling themselves Infinites, who tell him these are memories and skills he’s accumulated in past lives. The group needs his help to track down others like them who are determined to end life on Earth. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sophie Cookson and Jason Mantzoukas among others also star.

The Posters

Just one poster (by marketing agency Bond) for the film. Released in late May, it shows McCauley behind concentric circles that ultimately form an infinity symbol in order to reinforce the title’s branding. There’s no text or other copy to explain the story, so either the studio felt it was too hard to explain on the one-sheet or that Wahlberg’s presence was enough to generate audience interest.

The Trailers

Ted Murray (Ejiofor) is talking with McCauley about the voices McCauley hears and more as the first trailer (10.7 million views on YouTube), released at the end of May, begins. Murray taunts McCauley with a series of random objects until he finally triggers McCauley’s memories. Just as that happens a car bursts through the interrogation room wall and we’re off to the races. We hear about how McCauley is an Infinite and how unlocking his past will offer a guide for his future.

The second trailer (3.6 million views on YouTube) came out just a week later and begins with clips from the same interrogation scene mixed with shots of McCauley’s unremarkable but slightly confusing life. This time it’s Tammy McCauley (Cookson) who provides the backstory exposition before we get to lots more chases and fight sequences in exotic locales around the world. Oh, and we finally see the real draw of the movie, which is Mantzoukas’ unhinged tech guy performance.

Online and Social

Nothing here that was specific to the movie, but it was given some support — though not as much as recent high-profile series and other material — on Paramount+’s brand social profiles.

Advertising, Press and Publicity

In May Paramount announced the movie, originally scheduled for theatrical release August of last year but pushed because of the coronavirus pandemic, would instead bypass theaters and debut exclusively on Paramount Plus. An actual release date was finally revealed in May, just about two weeks before that date.

IGN debuted an exclusive first photo from the movie in late May in conjunction with the release of the first trailer.

A short promo was released at the end of May that presents many of the main characters and sets up the presence of a mystery that spans lifetimes and eons. It’s meant to be serious and important but it comes off a bit silly, like some kind of futuristic wrestling match

Taking a more traditional approach is another TV spot-like video that features an off-screen voice explaining to Evan how he’s lived countless lifetimes and is crucial to the future of the world.

Overall

I’m not sure how much of the marketing materials here were set and ready a while ago when the movie was originally scheduled for late 2020, but the tight timeframe mandated by how it’s been less than two months since a new release strategy was announced doesn’t help the campaign much. Everything feels rushed and breezed over, when a story like this typically benefits from taking a bit longer so some of the more ridiculous plot points can be ironed out and explained.

That extremely-condensed campaign is filled with sci-fi speak in what appears to be an attempt to position it as something similar to Inception, but there’s not enough of the story on display to create those stakes. Fuqua’s directing, then, might be the most engaging element of the marketing.

The Long Dumb Road – Marketing Recap

long dumb road poster.jpgThe Long Dumb Road, from writer/director Hannah Fidell, doesn’t have a wholly outrageous idea as its premise as it’s basically a road trip comedy. Tony Revolori stars as Nathan, who’s having a bad day already when car trouble brings him in contact with recently-fired mechanic Richard (Jason Mantzoukas).

What starts out as a simple ride turns into long and winding trip for the two as they seek to teach each other some lessons about how to cope with the ups and downs of life in ways both constructive and less so.

The Posters

Both leads are shown on the first poster, the pair sitting on a car hood while the copy tells us “S*&t got weird” on the trip covered by the story.

The Trailers

Richard is being fired as the trailer opens, but thankfully he immediately encounters Nathan, who’s having car troubles. In exchange for the repairs, Nathan agrees to give Richard a lift but it becomes clear the two are very different. Richard opens Nathan’s perspective up to all kinds of experiences, from meeting women to taking more chances with his life in general. The two get up to all sorts of hijinks on their impromptu road trip.

There are probably some lessons learned by Richard as well, but they’re not part of what’s being sold here. Instead it’s all about how outrageous Mantzoukas is and the kinds of situations his character can bluster himself out of while providing some guidance for the more sheltered Nathan.

Online and Social

It’s a surprisingly robust official website that’s been created by Universal and The Film Arcade. The trailer opens the site and when that’s done you have the option of finding a VOD platform on which to buy the film directly or get tickets to a nearby showing. Along with that there’s a “Synopsis,” “Cast & Crew” bios and a roundup of links to press interviews and reviews. There are also links to the movie’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I’ve seen, but I can imagine some local online advertising was done in areas hosting early release and screenings and I’m sure some ads have pointed to VOD links.

Media and Publicity

While the movie debuted at Sundance to relatively positive reviews and word of mouth it was a few months before it was acquired by Universal for a day-and-date release. The cast and crew were at Sundance to talk about the story and what they wanted to convey as well as what attracted each one to the project. It was later added to the lineup of the Austin Film Festival.

Closer to release the cast and crew talked about this movie’s place in the road trip genre and participated in local screenings and Q&As to get people interested. Fidell and Revolori were interviewed about the “buddy” genre as well.

Fidell also covered how this story started out as a short film she wrote and directed two years ago.

Overall

It’s not a big or hugely inventive campaign, but it doesn’t claim to be anything more than what it is, which is a charming road trip movie featuring two charming and often-underused actors. It would have been nice to have seen Fidell get a bit more attention from the bigger trade press, but that’s a small quibble.

Picking Up The Spare

Finally got some TV from Mantzoukas, who appeared on “The Late Show” a couple days before the movie’s release and “Late Night” a bit later. He was also interviewed about how this movie is his first real shot at leading a story.