The World To Come – Marketing Recap

How Bleecker Street is selling a 19th century love story.

Based on the book of the same name by Jim Shepard, The World To Come stars Katherine Waterston as Abigail, who’s married to Dyer (Casey Affleck), the two of them carving out a hard living on a 19th century east coast farm. They are not exactly happily married, but the distance between them grows greater with the arrival of Finney (Christopher Abbott) and his wife Tallie (Vanessa Kirby). Specifically, the supportive friendship between Abigail and Tallie soon turns passionately romantic as they seek solace from their respective loveless marriages.

Directed by Mona Fastvold from a screenplay by Ron Hansen, Jim Shepard, the movie has a decent 72% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and has gotten a campaign emphasizing the hopeful but doomed romance between the two women.

The Posters

Released in mid-January, the one poster (by marketing agency The Refinery) takes a common design – three vertical strips with a single photo in each one – and actually uses it to good effect. Dyer and Finney are at the top and bottom while Tallie and Abigail are placed in the middle, literally pushing their husbands away from them. The fire engulfing a house behind the two women hints at a tragic outcome to the story while the dark colors convey the relentless dreariness that makes up the lives of the characters.

The Trailers

Bleecker Street released the first trailer (1m views on YouTube) in mid-January. It starts out with a lot of sheep on Abigail and Dyer’s bleak farm. Abigail’s life is improved by the arrival of their new neighbor Tallie and her husband Finney, with the two women growing closer and closer over time, a romance born of the hardships each endures in their respective marriages. That change does not go unnoticed, and problems soon follow as the women seek to be happy with each other instead of miserable elsewhere.

Online and Social

The full-screen video on the movie’s official website uses bits from the trailer, but the content on the site is minimal. There are links to where the film will be available to download and rent along with the trailer, a synopsis and not much else.

Advertising and Promotions

The movie debuted at the 2020 Venice Film Festival, where it accumulated a number of positive reviews and good word of mouth. Bleecker Street acquired the film shortly after that premiere.

The movie was among those scheduled to screen at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

A clip came out during Sundance showing the moment when Abigail and Tallie first meet. Another shows a climactic moment between the two women as they discuss their relationship.

Media and Press

A profile of Kirby from early September included this as one of a couple highly-anticipated projects she was involved in. A few months later Waterston talked about crafting and filming an LGBTQ love story.

During the Sundance press cycle there were interviews with the film’s director of photography, director and editor.

Affleck appeared on “Late Night” to talk about filming the movie in Romania. There was also a joint video interview by GLAAD of both Waterston and Kirby.

Additional interviews with Waterston had her talking about working with Kirby and telling a story set so long ago and trying to make it relevant to the present.


The performances by Waterston and Kirby are the standout elements of the campaign here, with the chemistry between the two driving the drama that’s on display. It’s good that they provide such heat, too, because the rest of the marketing is very grey and cold, which could turn off some of the audience who might feel it’s a bit too drab for their liking.

Between this and the recent Ammonite, though, we have a small trend building of forbidden lesbian romance period pieces. I’m not sure what that means, especially if there’s something about setting the story a century or more in the past that makes the story more dramatic. Whatever the case, Bleecker Street’s campaign highlights the positive reviews the movie has received so far while selling a story filled with tension and romance.

State Like Sleep – Marketing Recap

state like sleep posterIn this week’s State Like Sleep, Katherine Waterston plays a woman who has had enough of not knowing the truth about how her husband died a year ago. She’s moved on but a mysterious phone call brings her back to Brussels, where he died under mysterious circumstances.

When she gets there she becomes involved in a shady underworld that may or may not have the answers she’s looking for, uncovering the secret double life her husband appears to have lead. Central to all this is Edward (Michael Shannon), who may be out to help her or hinder her investigation.

The Posters

The first and only poster featured a pretty standard design, with the head of Shannon looking in one direction and placed within the hair of Waterston, who’s looking in the other. It’s a basic way to present a story of two people at odds of some sort.

The Trailers

It’s a noir thriller being sold in the first trailer. Katherine is still reeling from the death of her husband a year ago and continues to be a person of interest to those investigating that death. She’s driven to once more look into what exactly happened since she herself isn’t sure. Her search for answers brings her into contact with Edward, who seems to have secrets of his own, but also means she has to confront some realities about her late husband she may not be ready to face.

Online and Social

No official social or online presence for the movie but it did receive some support from The Orchard on the company’s brand channels.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions


Media and Publicity

The movie had its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, where the cast and crew talked about the story, working together and more. The Orchard picked up distribution rights toward the end of the festival.

Just before release the studio put out a clip featuring Waterston and Shannon. The actor, along with writer/director Meredith Dunlack, did a joint interview about the characters and story.


It’s understandable that the movie didn’t receive a massive campaign, but this one barely scratches the surface. There’s some good stuff here, it’s just that there isn’t enough to really give the audience a lot to latch on to. The mystery of the story is the big draw along with Shannon, who’s always a significant on-screen presence.