The Tomorrow Man – Marketing Recap

tomorrow man posterThis week’s The Tomorrow Man is the latest in a string of movies about finding romance late in life. Blythe Danner plays Ronnie, a compulsive shopper who’s constantly buying things she feels she needs but will likely never use. She meets Ed (John Lithgow), a man who can’t stop planning for the worst case scenario, including terrible disasters.

When they meet they find the other may be someone they need in their lives, but they’re coming at life from very different points of view. As the two form a deeper connection those contrasts come out but so do the ways they may balance each other out, bringing out in the other the best tendencies.

The Posters

Ed and Ronnie are shown from the back on the poster, the pair standing in the back of a pickup and looking out over the sunset above a peaceful landscape. There’s no additional copy explaining the story but this does sell a peaceful story of two people who have found each other.

The Trailers

Ed meets Ronnie in the first trailer and the two start spending more time together just to not be alone. Things get deeper, though, as they expose more parts of their personality to each other, an uncomfortable experience for both of them. That includes how they are or aren’t preparing for the future. They meet each other’s families and while things get a bit weird the two come back to each other in the end.

Online and Social

The page on Bleecker Street’s website for the movie doesn’t have much, just the trailer and a synopsis. There’s also a link to an open letter writer/director Noble Jones wrote on the Landmark Theaters website detailing his inspiration for the story and the message he wanted to send.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

After the first trailer was released in late March it was used in promoted social media posts to increase reach and awareness.

Media and Publicity

Even before it premiered at Sundance the movie was picked up by Bleecker Street and given a May release date. Director Noble Jones was interviewed about the production of the movie and using a surprising number of special effects in the film while Lithgow admitted he had concerns about working with a first-time director, concerns that were allayed when he met with Jones.

The first clip showed Ronnie and Ed meeting up, the former unsure of what it is she wants to know about the latter as they just begin spending time together. A few more clips that continued showing the halting, sometimes awkward relationship between the characters came out over time.

Closer to release there was a joint interview with Jones and the two lead actors where they shared some of their history and talked about the story and working together. Lithgow appeared on “The Tonight Show” to share funny stories and promote the movie a bit.


As with most movies of this kind recently, it feels like there just could be so much more there. Danner and Lithgow are some big names, but the fact that this isn’t a franchise film but a smaller drama about two older people cautiously falling in love means it has limited box-office appeal and so isn’t getting a marketing push with much weight.

That dynamic between the two lead characters – something that seems like it should be a stage production – is the focus of the push with little attention given to whatever sort of societal commentary Jones might be wanting to make with two characters with such starkly opposing worldviews. Adding more of that might have done something to break the movie out from others of its ilk, but the very nature of the subject matter means this wasn’t likely to break through beyond a limited audience.

Pet Sematary – Marketing Recap

pet semetary poster 3If this seems like the 38th feature adaptation of a Stephen King story in the last five years, you’re probably not alone. The campaigns for some have put the author more in the spotlight than others, with this week’s Pet Semetary falling in the “more” category.

The movie, the second adaptation of King’s book of the same name. This time around Jason Clarke and Amy Seimetz play Louis and Rachel, a married couple that relocates their family to rural Maine. Not long after the move their daughter Ellie (Jeté Laurence) is killed in an accident. Having learned from their neighbor Jud (John Lithgow) of a mysterious graveyard in the woods that can bring the dead back to life – something they’ve already seen when their dead cat returns to the house after being buried there – Louis puts Ellie there. When she returns, though, the family finds something isn’t right and Louis may have unlocked something truly terrible.

The Posters

A lone figure walks toward the camera across a field of scattered bones and refuse on the first teaser poster, with large copy intoning “Sometimes dead is better,” which is ominous to say the least. It’s a good, monochromatic way to start off this aspect of the campaign, followed shortly by another teaser that shows a broken wooden cross with “Pet Semetary” scrawled on it.

The theatrical poster, released in February, offers a more complete look at the cast and story. A wider assortment of the characters are placed around the design, with a bedraggled looking cat looming over everyone in the background and kids wearing creepy animal face masks toward the bottom.

Regal Cinemas offered exclusive key art when users of their mobile app used that app to scan a poster in theaters. The Dolby-specific poster put the whole scene in red, with the recently-returned cat looming over everything. Human characters aren’t prominent here as it’s more about setting a spooky tone.

The Trailers

“Sometimes dead is better” the audience is told at the outset of the first trailer, which starts as the family is relocating to a new home right along the edge of the woods. They soon learn those woods have a spooky history among the locals, who tell them “the ground is bad.” It’s not long before we see lots of people crawling away from threats, going kind of crazy and more as we continue to hear about the strange nature of whatever power lurks out in the trees.

The second full trailer starts out all nice and innocent, but quickly gets to the scares as we hear about something unnatural being out there in the woods where people have been burying their pets for generations. When Louis’ daughter is killed he sees a chance to bring her back over Jud’s objections, a decision that brings back more than anyone bargained for.

Warner Bros. released a “fan reaction” video in late February showing YouTubers being shocked by what they see in that second trailer.

The final trailer, released just a week or so before the movie hit theaters, focuses on the price Jud pays to bring his daughter back to the living and just what lead him to make that choice.

Online and Social

The official website is less than exciting, just offering the ability to buy tickets alongside the trailer, synopsis and links to social profiles.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

A short promo titled “Dead is Better” offered a brief explanation of the premise while showing lots of creepy shots of creatures and people returned from the grave. A first TV spot was released around the time of SXSW showing all the creepy stuff that’s about to happen.

Online ads placed on used a link to the site’s “Scary Good” list of horror and thriller movies, with the promotion being “Brought to you by Pet Sematary.”

I haven’t been able to find details on it and it wasn’t promoted almost at all, but WB had a green screen photo booth at C2E2 a couple weeks ago that inserted people into the teaser poster above the “Sometimes dead is better” copy.

Media and Publicity

Entertainment Weekly offered the first look at the movie in advance of the trailer’s debut. Later on the movie’s directors explained some of the changes they had made when adapting King’s story.

In early February the movie was announced as the closing night feature of this year’s SXSW Film Festival, during which an exclusive clip was released to Twitter Movies. A short featurette had the directors and actors talking about how to get to the heart of what’s scary, you have to start with King and his stories. Paramount later published a video showing fans reacting to that SXSW screening along with the other promotional activities that were taking place in Austin.

A clip released about the time of SXSW showed the family’s daughter returning to them unexpectedly.

EW published a feature package on the film that, among other things, included King commenting on the changes that had occured from the pages of his book to this new film adaptation.

The directors of the new movie along with others from the crew and members of the cast appeared in a short promotional video for a high-quality home video release of the original film. The story of making that first movie was also covered in a couple interviews with its directory, Mary Lambert.

A Fandango-exclusive featurette focused on the supernatural burial ground that is central to the story.

Lithgow talked about the movie when he showed up on “The Late Show.”


It’s a fine campaign, but what’s missing here is any sense of what makes the movie essential or important for the audience. Being a remake of an adaptation you’d expect to find something here that spoke to something vital for people to latch on to, something that made the relatively well-known story relevant for this moment. Some of the interviews speak to that a bit, but never really digs into the “why,” just covering the “what” about this version that’s new or different from what’s come before.

That being said, the campaign is less than exciting on other fronts. The posters are all very spooky in their monochromatic nature and the trailers certainly provide a few jump scares. But it also seems completely disposable and forgettable, with nothing unique jumping out and making an impression.

Picking Up the Spare

Another interview with the directors about how they went about adapting the movie for a new audience.

Clarke appeared on “The Tonight Show” to promote the movie and tell funny stories.

Great profile here of Amy Seimetz and the unconventional choices she’s making in her career.  

Another interview with the co-directors about updating a classic on two fronts.