The Mountain – Marketing Recap

the mountain posterFollowing the loss of his father, Andy (Tye Sheridan) is looking for some sort of purpose and connection in the new movie The Mountain, written and directed by Rick Alverson. One day he crosses paths with Dr. Wallace Fiennes (Jeff Goldblum), a lobotomist who once new Andy’s mother years ago.

Dr. Fiennes hires Andy as a photographer to document his practice as he travels around the country performing a procedure that is on its way out as a preferred treatment for mental and psychological problems in the 1950s. That involves documenting Fiennes’ patients and learning their stories, making this an even more emotional journey for Andy than he anticipated, especially when Andy becomes involved with Susan (Hannah Gross), a young woman they encounter along the way.

The Posters

On the poster the movie is described as “A psychsurgical” odyssey,” which is a new one for me. The washed out colors used to show photos of Andy and Dr. Fiennes combined with the way those photos are repeated into the background do add a sense of it being a trippy drama.

The Trailers

As the trailer begins Andy is interviewing for a position with Dr. Fiennes, hoping to take pictures of the doctor’s work and patients as he travels around performing his procedures. What exactly those procedures are is unclear, but it’s something that changes people in some way Andy still isn’t comfortable with. The two are shown as having some form of deeper connection, but that’s also an element of the story that remains vague in what’s shown here.

Online and Social

There isn’t a whole lot of information on Kino Lorber’s page for the movie, just the basic marketing materials along with a list of locations and dates it’s opening at and on in the coming weeks.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing on this front that I’ve seen.

Media and Publicity

The movie was among those slated to appear at the Venice International Film Festival, appearing on many critics’ “most anticipated” lists. A first look still from the movie was released at the same time it was announced it would be screening at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It was picked up at the festival by Kino Lorber.

Goldblum, Alverson and Sheridan did a few Q&A appearances in New York and L.A. accompanied by screenings, but that’s about it since then.

Overall

For all the anticipation and buzz the movie had going into the most recent festival season, things have been remarkably quiet in the weeks leading up to release. Those select Q&As with the cast and crew have been it and those don’t appear to have generated any substantial press push in the build up to this week.

That’s disappointing since not only do the performances look uniformly wonderful but the story looks like one of those original takes that has the potential to be dramatic and unsettling, a far cry from how many modern movies are thrilling but comfortable. This minimal campaign isn’t going to move the needle on awareness at all and the movie as a whole is likely to go by as barely a blip that registers.

Picking Up the Spare

Goldblum appeared on “The Late Show” to keep feeding our collective appreciation for this eccentric talent. How Goldblum’s character weaves in and out of the story was covered by Alverson in this interview. 

Another interview with Goldblum, one where he talk about the story of the movie and how he got involved.

Hotel Artemis – Marketing Recap

hotel artemis posterJodie Foster is here to tell us the rules in Hotel Artemis, written and directed by Drew Pearce. Foster plays Jean Thomas, the nurse at an establishment that acts as a safe spot and hospital for the criminal underworld. She’s assisted there by Everest (Dave Bautista) and operates successfully because everyone who comes there understands the rules, including that there’s no violence on the property.

That rule winds up being broken when a series of events brings a strange group of people together on a single night. Waikiki (Sterling K. Brown) is on the run and in need of help after pulling a job. But he’s attracted some unwanted attention from a crime lord named The Wolf King (Jeff Goldblum), who is out to recover what’s been taken from him. Also there that night are bad guys played by Sofia Boutella, Charlie Day and more, all with their own agendas and desire for survival.

The Posters

The teaser poster doesn’t include any mentions of the high-caliber cast or the story, just showing the hotel’s logo and name. Not much and not hugely effective unless you know what the movie is about already and have other information to support it and add context to it.

The second poster uses that same logo but shows all the shady characters that will pass through the hotel in the frame of the door. The orange, fire-like tone everything has hints that there will be more than a little chaos caused by all these folks and their actions.

The Trailers

The first half of the trailer is devoted to introducing us to the world the story takes place in. On a broad level that means the violent hellscape that is LA in 2028 (insert “so I see things haven’t changed” joke) and the hotel itself, which has specific rules to protect the staff and those who seek sanctuary there. The second half is about how, as we see early on, Waikiki has stolen something valuable from a very powerful man who wants his property back. That theft, while unintentional, has consequences for Waikiki and the hotel in general as everyone looks to make it through the night.

Well that looks like a lot of fun. It’s wacky and violent and over-the-top but also completely committed, at least based on what’s seen here, to the premise. With such a great cast that’s been brought together this has to be at least kind of good.

A red-band trailer later on hit the same basic chords but presented things a bit differently, mixing up some of the character introductions, overview of the rules of the hotel and more. Missing is much of the exposition about why all these criminals have converged in one place on one night and in its place is lot of cursing and glorified violence.

One last “Character” trailer took the approach of trying to look like a 70s grindhouse type flick, with grainy footage and voiceover that introduced all the various criminals and their associates that keep the story going. It’s alright, but not as clever as it thinks it is.

Online and Social

There were Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles for the movie but no official owned site.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

A TV spot focused mostly on setting up the hotel and its rules as well as its all-star cast, showing the movie as a grungy and violent story with a wicked sense of gallows humor. Another delved more into the story and the rules of the hotel as well as how those rules get broken. This one was just about presenting a kinetic and violent good time with a catchy rhythm. A special TV spot featuring Bautista ran during “Sports Center.” There were also online ads that used elements of the key art as well as video snippets, which also showed up in social ads.

Media and Publicity

Brown showed up on the late night TV circuit, engaging in hijinks and promoting this movie as well as talking about that show he’s on and some of his other recent movies. Foster did the same to talk about the movie’s story and lots more. Other members of the cast did other publicity stops on various media.

Overall

There’s quite a bit to like about the campaign. It sometimes goes a little far in trying to sell the style over the substance, but it’s hardly the first marketing push to do so. There’s certainly a consistency to the brand here as everything is bathed in that orange brown light, like street lights filtered through window that hasn’t been cleaned in far too long.

Foster is, of course, the central focus here even if she isn’t the central focus. What I mean by that is that the marketing spread the attention around to Brown, Bautista, Goldblum, Boutella and others, but it all revolves around Foster’s nurse, both because she’s a central figure and because Foster is just such a presence. The campaign presents a lot of reasons to see the movie – it’s violent and darkly funny among them, but Foster disappearing behind an accent and glasses might be chief among them.

PICKING UP THE SPARE

Brian Tyree Henry has done a bit more press now that the movie is in theaters, including “The Daily Show.”
Writer/director Drew Pearce also has talked with Vanity Fair, The Hollywood Reporter and more about what kind of movie he set out to make and how he created something fairly unique.