Cherry – Marketing Recap

How Apple is selling a story of trauma, addiction and how they intersect.

No matter what else you might say about Joe and Anthony Russo, they certainly seem to inspire loyalty among the actors the directing brothers work with. Nearly every post-Avengers project they’ve been involved with has included at least one of the actors from the MCU, and this week’s Cherry is no exception.

Based on the novel by Nico Walker, Tom Holland stars in the film as the title character, a young man who’s a romantic at heart in the early 2000s. He meets and immediately falls in love with Emily (Ciara Bravo), but when complications in the romance emerge he enlists in the military and is shipped to Afghanistan. When Cherry returns, the relationship with Emily restarts, but his trauma from his time overseas leads them both into dangerous drug addiction, which is financed by Cherry beginning to rob banks both for the money and the rush.

Early reviews were largely positive, praising Holland’s mature and charismatic performance, but the movie sports a less enthusiastic 43% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie received a limited theatrical release a few weeks ago but hits Apple TV+ this Friday.

The Posters

In December a teaser poster showing Cherry staring straight ahead at the camera, his haircut and look conveying a sense of someone who’s seen some stuff and has little left to lose was released. That poster was notably misprinted online when it debuted on Variety, with the title messed up to the extent lots of people had a laugh at its expense. It was republished quickly.

A short while later a series of posters that retained the dark red background but this time showed each character in profile with a noun that describes them came out.

The theatrical poster from January has the same aesthetic but while Cherry is the only one really seen, arms presumably belonging to Emily are shown reaching from off-camera to hold his face in her hands.

The Trailers

Cherry is robbing a bank as the first trailer (4m views on YouTube(, released in mid-January, starts. Via voiceover he’s wondering what the point of life is before we flashback to his earlier life, including meeting Emily and then, much to her dismay, joining the Army. When he returns he’s suffering from PTSD Emily can’t help with, so he turns to robbing banks to try and silence the voices in his head or at least do something that feels like anything. It’s a powerful trailer, made more so by the glimpses we get of Cherry narrating his actions and life to the camera.

Online and Social

Nothing special on the web page for the movie from Apple TV+, which didn’t set up individual social pages but did support the film on its brand profiles.

Advertising and Publicity

The Russos brought the still-in-production movie to Cannes 2019, hoping to lure buyers with the promise of the project’s potential. They discussed it further, including that Holland was starring in the film, during their panel at San Diego Comic-Con in July of that year.

With Covid-19 shutting down most all theaters for an indeterminate period of time in early 2020, the Russos admitted they weren’t sure what the distribution future for the film was going to be. That changed in September when Apple acquired the movie following a brief period of speculation Netflix might pick it up.

In early January the Russos offered the first real look at the movie via a clip showing Cherry enlisting in the military.

A featurette came out at the beginning of March that had Holland and Bravo talking about the story and their characters.

Shorter promos like this were shared online and may have been used as ads or commercials.

Media and Press

An interview with the Russos offered more details about the story and more as well as showing off some of the first official stills from the film. Another later interview with the brothers had them talking about Holland’s performance, the origins of the story and more.

Shortly before the movie came out there was a feature profile of not only Joe and Anthony Russo but also their sister Angela, who wrote the film.

An interview with Holland had the actor talking about taking on such a risky – both emotionally and physically – role. He later appeared on “The Tonight Show” to talk about the film.

There were additional interviews with the Russos about the personal nature of the story and how the production of the film was such a family endeavor. They also talked about what sort of generational elements inspired the story.

Henry Jackman was interviewed about creating the film’s score. The movie’s cinematographer talked about how the story is divided into a handful of distinct chapters.

An appearance by Holland on “The Tonight Show,” as many of his interviews did, talked briefly about this movie but also went heavily into talking about Spider-Man.


Having seen the movie (thanks to a Hollywood Reporter-hosted virtual screening) I can safely report the campaign as outlined above matches the finished product pretty well. There are a few story elements, especially the extent and cause of Cherry and Emily’s descent into addiction that aren’t fully communicated here, but the marketing’s focus on Holland’s performance is justified.

Having said that, it’s Bravo’s performance that really centers the story and shines through. So much of that performance involves her speaking directly to the camera, a surrogate for Holland’s Cherry, and her calm but emotional demeanor comes through strongly. It’s a shame she wasn’t more fully involved in the publicity and press components of the marketing.

Extraction – Marketing Recap

How Netflix is selling its new action drama.

extraction poster 2

Chris Hemsworth reunites with his Avengers directors Joe and Anthony Russo, here serving as writer and producer respectively, on the new movie Extraction, coming to Netflix this week. Hemsworth stars as Tyler Rake, a vicious and effective mercenary who is called in to rescue a young boy kidnapped as part of a conflict between warring drug lords. Rake’s ruthless and self-destructive behavior, though, threatens to make an already dangerous mission even more so.

The movie was directed by Sam Hargrave, who previously served as stunt coordinator on a number of Marvel films, including those directed by the Russos, and is based on the graphic novel “Cuidad” cocreated by the Russos along with Ande Parks and others.

Netflix’s campaign hasn’t been huge, but with zero theatrical competition at the moment the field is wide open, and so it has sold the film by using its most recognizable elements.

The Posters

extraction poster

The first poster (by marketing agency BOND) was released at the end of March. It shows Rake kneeling and looking intense, dressed for action while a gunfight goes on behind him.

The second poster, released two weeks ago, still has Rake in the middle of chaos but this time he’s joined by the boy he’s working to rescue and it’s evident the action has passed, though a car is still on fire in the background. Both posters make sure to note just above the title that the movie come “From the visionary directors of Avengers: Endgame” in an attempt to get the audience’s attention.

The Trailers

After an epic dive to show how tough he is, the first trailer (5 million views on YouTube) continues establishing Rake as a dark, single-minded badass. He’s called in when the son of one drug lord is kidnapped by a rival, but the rescue quickly goes sideways when the city is locked down and escape seems impossible. Rake is repeatedly told to leave the kid, that there’s no way both of them make it out, but he sees saving him as a way to earn some redemption for himself. It’s an effective trailer, selling a big, bloody, violent film.

Online and Social

Netflix gave the movie a bit of promotion on social media, but there weren’t any dedicated sites or profiles for it.

Advertising and Promotions

Netflix got the promotional ball rolling in mid-February when it released a handful of first-look stills from the movie.

A making of featurette came out last week focusing on how Hargrave and his team put together one of the film’s key action sequences. That makes a lot of sense given his background.

Media and Press

In February there were more stills released along with an interview with comments from Hemsworth, Hargrave and the Russos.

Further interviews had Hargrave talking about how perfect Hemsworth was for the role and why he was the only real candidate for it and how the two met on the earlier Avengers films, eventually deciding to keep working together on this project.


As stated earlier, this isn’t a big campaign mounted by Netflix, which is too bad considering they largely have the marketplace to themselves at the moment. There’s no other competition right now, so it could have made a much more substantial deal about a movie like this, especially given the filmmakers involved.

The movie’s nature, which would certainly earn it an R rating were it released theatrically, might be a big reason for it not being given more marketing muscle. That hasn’t stopped Netflix or other streamers before, though, so it’s still a bit perplexing. A more likely answer might simply be that, because so many people are home at the moment and looking for something new to watch, additional paid marketing would be redundant while in-app promotions will suffice to bring viewers.

Picking Up the Spare

Interesting tidbits from Hargrave and others  here  about how they adjusted to the new isolation-centric reality while still actively selling the movie. 

The work Hargrave put into his first directorial effort and how he managed the change have been  covered  in a few  interviews

New featurettes released by Netflix after the movie came out have focused on the  fight sequences , useful  objects to use as weapons  and  car chases  that make up most of the movie’s action. There was also an explainer as to where you might  recognize  costar Golshifteh Farahani. 

The movie has gone on to become one of Netflix’s self-described best debuts of all time, something Hemsworth took a moment to  thank audiences for

Hemsworth made a virtual  appearance  on “Kimmel” to promote the film.