The Jesus Rolls – Marketing Recap

How Screen Media is selling the story of a character no one expected to see more of.

the jesus rolls posterThere are very few movies that demand sequels, no matter how hard some filmmakers and screenwriters work to set them up. One that certainly didn’t demand any sort of follow-up was the Coen Brothers classic The Big Lebowski.

Despite that, this week sees the release of The Jesus Rolls. Not a direct sequel to Lebowski but more of a spinoff, the focus of the story here shifts to Jesus Quintana, the bowling nemesis of The Dude and his compatriots, played by John Turturro.

In the movie, Quintana is just being released after spending years in prison. As he seeks to get his life back up and running he meets up with fellow sexual deviants – remember he’s a self-described pederast – Petey (Bobby Cannavale) and Marie (Audrey Tautou). The group finds comfort in each other as they engage in some light criminal activity along with romantic adventures.

The movie, written and directed by Turtorro and based on the 1974 French film Going Places, is getting only a limited release this weekend. That release has been preceded by a small-scale campaign that’s much smaller than what one might expect from a spinoff of a beloved classic.

The Posters

There’s not much to the one domestic poster, but it does nicely reinforce the message that the title character is returning to the spotlight. With bright neon lighting for the title treatment, a purple bowling ball sporting a hairnet sitting in the center. It’s simple but gets the point across.

The Trailers

The first teaser (168,000 views on YouTube) came out at the end of January, not showing much but promising that Jesus still has his signature bowling move while text promises a road adventure with an all-star cast.

 

The official trailer (102,000 views on YouTube) came out just a little while later at the beginning of February. It sells the movie as a carefree road trip story that starts with Quintana being let out of prison and immediately getting back into partnership with his friend Petey. They start stealing cars and committing other small scale crimes again because that’s what they do. There are others they meet along the way, but it’s clear everyone is having a lot of fun doing the things they do best.

 

Online and Social

Pretty simple page for the film on the Screen Media website. It’s primarily there to encourage people to find one of the venues it’s screening at in the coming weeks or how to buy it on digital.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Originally titled “Going Places” in reference to the original it’s remaking the current name was bestowed in mid-2019 at the same time it was announced it would finally be released in early 2020. In October of last year the announcement came that the movie would have its world premiere at the Rome Film Festival that month before it was released in international markets.

Rolling Stone was given an exclusive clip focusing on Jesus and Petey picking up Jack, another newly-released convict played by Pete Davidson.

Media and Publicity

There was of course lots of chatter and speculation about the movie as it was debated as a spinoff of The Big Lebowski or not. That was eventually confirmed and later on a first look still released showing Turturro in character in, appropriately, a bowling alley.

Later on Turturro addressed the question on everyone’s mind and confirmed that yes, the Coen Brothers were cool with the character branching out a bit. He also offered some thoughts on how the character has evolved since his first appearance. Later on he updated the situation with comments about how he reworked some parts of the story to remove some problems.

The path Turturro took in making the movie, including how it resulted from another project and the negotiations he had to engage in to get the rights, were covered in another interview with the actor.

Turturro made a stop at “The Late Show” and “Today” to promote the film.

Overall

There’s a lot to like in this campaign, regardless of how small the scale might be. It has a strong brand identity and a strong vibe that’s communicated through all of the assets.

Whether or not the movie is essential is somewhat beside the point. That Turturro felt there was something more to do with the character he was integral to creating is what’s important, and the marketing doesn’t work that hard to draw connections between this and the earlier film so as not to create any false expectations.

While such a significant follow-up might feel like it deserves a bigger launch, it’s also understandable that other studios who might have given it a more substantial push would shy away given the character’s background.

Picking Up The Spare

A new profile of Turturro that had him talking about returning to the character and making a new story. Another took the same approach.

Gloria Bell – Marketing Recap

gloria bell posterJulianne Moore plays the title character in this week’s Gloria Bell. Gloria is a woman who is out there living life, at least after she finishes her run-of-the-mill day job. At night she heads out to dance at one of L.A.’s many clubs. She’s comfortable in her life and, since she’s divorced, doesn’t have to worry about what anyone at home might think.

While out one evening she meets Arnold (John Turturro) and the two develop a romantic connection. After enjoying her freedom and lack of ties, though, dating is difficult for Gloria and various issues start to come between her and Arnold, issues the two will have to overcome to make it work.

The Posters

We get everything we need to know about Gloria on the poster, which shows her enjoying the breeze as she stands up in a moving car. She’s a carefree spirit, we’re told, and we’re going to follow her as she moves through her life. What’s most notable is that this is a woman who’s 30 years older than the typical character we see cutting loose like this, but there are no apologies offered. She is who she is and she’s going to enjoy every minute she can.

The Trailers

We meet Gloria in the first trailer and see she is a force of nature, optimistic and loving and patient with everyone around her. One night she meets Arnold and the two begin dating, which is going fine until he meets her ex-husband, which causes problems in the relationship.

The main takeaway from the trailer is the Julianne Moore is a gift from above and we don’t deserve her. We see the pull and push that’s common to most romantic comedies, but the fact that it’s too reliable pros like Moore and Turturro in the leads immediately kicks things up a notch and promises what might be a standard story will be something more.

Online and Social

A24 offers just the basic information on the page for the movie, including a trailer, synopsis, cast/crew list and the poster. There are also links to Facebook and Twitter profiles, but that’s it.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I’ve seen or heard about.

Media and Publicity

The title was picked up by A24 ahead of its previously-announced premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.

In the last few days before release Moore appeared on late-night and morning talk shows to discuss the movie and her character.

Overall

Moore is, of course, the main attraction here. The story is interesting and we could certainly use more movies like this that feature women over the age of 30 having the time of their lives free of entanglements. It’s not sad about her choices, but revels in them. With the focus on the actress and the unique story she’s part of, it’s a good – albeit small – campaign.

Picking Up the Spare

Moore talked about working with Turturro and the production as a whole at the movie’s premiere. She was also interviewed more about what made the role attractive.

Turturro finally appeared on late night to talk about the movie.

The fact that the story focused on the carefree life being lived by a woman over 50 was notable and noted.