Avengers: Endgame – Marketing Recap

You can read the rest of my recap of the marketing campaign for Avengers: Endgame at The Hollywood Reporter. My coverage of the PSA effort for Stand Up To Cancer also ran on Adweek.

Online and Social

For such a big movie, Marvel’s official website isn’t very informative, perhaps by design. You’ll find both trailers and some basic background on the film, including links to on-site blog posts offering readers a refresher on what’s come before, as well as a list of the promotional partners who helped draft off the movie’s buzz.

Media and Publicity

Of course the movie couldn’t help but come up as the cast was out promoting other projects, as Smulders, Jackson and others were all compelled to comment on it in some manner.

Ruffalo appeared on “The Tonight Show” to help debut the second trailer and answer (or not) questions about the movie. Duke also mentioned the movie while promoting Us last month.

A substantial profile on Evans had the actor talking about not only the future of Captain America and his part in the MCU but also the political stances he’s taken, with him saying staying silent wasn’t an option even if it meant alienating some portion of the audience and potentially costing him work.

The movie’s substantial length became the focus of many conversations in the last month prior to release following the revelation that it was clocking in around three hours, a full 30 minutes longer than Infinity War. The Russos rationalized the expanded time by pointing out the movie wrapped up the story that had been told over 20+ movies and featured dozens and dozens of characters.

A different subset of cast members appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” each night the week of April 8-12, bringing clips and more. That started with Downey, Johannson, Hemsworth and Rudd followed by Renner and Cheadle. Around the same time they showed up on “Good Morning America.”

In the final few weeks of the press cycle, two themes emerged in terms of what the cast and crew were telling interviewers and talk show hosts:

  1. “Let us explain…” That’s what the Russo brothers did to clarify why Captain Marvel is wearing more makeup in this movie than she did in her solo outing (a ridiculous topic).
  2. “We don’t know nothing…” That’s what Hemsworth, Cheadle and others did when asked what they knew about the movie’s story, which isn’t surprising given they’re all just small parts in a very big machine.
  3. “[X] has returned…” That’s what was behind interviews and profiles of Tessa Thompson, who confirmed that she couldn’t confirm anything, and Rudd/Renner, who spoke of how they are finally able to rejoin their comrades.

An EW cover story reunited the original team for a retrospective interview and offered up other photos and details, but not too much.

At the end of the campaign there were profiles of Feige as well as his two long-time aides. The screenwriters were interviewed on how they worked to bring together so many different storylines and characters into something coherent as well as how they reintroduced some of the previously missing heroes. Feige and Downey Jr. reminisced on the beginnings of the MCU, when the idea of a shared cinematic universe was still a “best case scenario” and the bets were much more unsure.

Rudd was announced as the host of an upcoming episode of “Saturday Night Live.”

One final TV spot released the day the movie hit theaters played up the overwhelmingly positive reviews it was getting. A video had a bunch of the stars reminding the audience not to spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it yet.

Adding to the movie’s profile was the news from Fandango it now held the record for the most advance tickets sold.

Larson came on “The Tonight Show” and revealed she shot her first appearance with the rest of the Avengers – which appears at the end of her own movie – on a green screen with no one else around and no idea what her one line meant. Rudd also appeared to have some fun with Fallon.

The media agency Kantar estimated that all in, Disney spent close to $14 million on the marketing and advertising campaign, with TV buys making up a little over half of that and a good chunk of the advertising coming the day tickets went on sale a couple weeks ago.

avengers-endgame-kantor-chart

Another profile of Winston Duke mentioned this movie as well as his appearance in Us.

More details revealed here on the partnership with Fortnite.

Overall

avengers endgame gif

Picking Up the Spare

Wayne Friedman at MediaPost points out how the majority of the movie’s campaign – and ad spending – came in the final month leading up to release. Jeff Beer at Fast Company also has his own recap of some of the movie’s cross-promotional campaign. There was also a look at how altered shots in the trailers kept some of the movie’s secrets hidden. 

Google added a fun little tool for those who searched for “Thanos.” 

Additional TV spots promised a “once in a generation event” and played up all the records the movie was breaking. 

Another short promotional video shows how every movie has lead to this one while also reminding audiences not to spoil the ending for anyone. Some of the cast reminisced about their favorite memories as part of the MCU. 

Brolin appeared on “Kimmel,” as did Sebastian Stan. 

IMAX continued promoting the filmmakers use of its large-format cameras with another video. 

Trolls continued to hound Larson, criticizing her junket appearances to the point where costar Don Cheadle felt the need to smack them down. 

The writers and directors of the movie kept talking about various aspects of the story and characters. 

Once the spoiler lid lifted more details about the story started to official come out, including a profile on the effects of Professor Hulk, who was also featured in a clip. 

Gillan was the subject of two profiles focusing on her role in the movie. 

Captain Marvel – Marketing Recap

You can read my full recap of the marketing campaign for Captain Marvel at The Hollywood Reporter.

Media and Publicity

Larson talked briefly while promoting another movie about the pressure she felt to get the character right. An interview with Gregg let him tease that we’re going to meet a younger, greener Coulson in the movie, someone who’s still pretty new to SHIELD.

In early September we were finally given our first good look at Larson in character and in costume thanks to an Entertainment Weekly cover story package. That included her talking about what drives and motivates Carol and what kind of tone the movie was taking, a first look at an actual Skrull on-screen, a first look at a digitally de-aged Jackson as Nick Fury and a photo of Law as Mar-Vell along with comments from him. Unexpectedly there was also a pic of Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau, mother to Monica, a name that has lots of future implications.

Additional stories explained the movie’s mid-90s setting, how Mendelsohn got involved and what he thinks about the Skrulls and some hints about what role Carol is going to have in future of the MCU. Feige also promised there were more female-led movies coming, though we’ve been hearing that for years.

Mendelssohn was interviewed about his role and how he got involved.

While Law’s role had been referred to in a cagey way throughout production, it was officially confirmed in late December of last year. How Larson trained and otherwise prepared for the role was the subject of an interview with the actress that also included comments from others about her dedication and work ethic. The filmmakers also spoke about what kinds of films they were pulling influences from in order to make this one.

As with a number of other big releases featuring diverse casts, a number of fundraisers were instituted to make sure girls who otherwise couldn’t afford to could see the movie.

Benning appeared on “Late Night” to talk about the movie and share a clip that revealed who exactly she was playing in the film. It was also nice to see Kelly Sue DeConnick, who revitalized the character and gave her the costume and look she sports in the movie, be profiled.

With some helpful promotion by celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and others a crowdfunding campaign to help underprivileged girls see the movie for free raised over $60,000 as of late February, well over its initial goal.

Nerdist took things a step further with a retro trailer that uses footage from a bunch of 90s movies – including Jackson’s own Die Hard With a Vengeance – and cuts with scenes from this film. EW also dug into the past with another cover story about the movie that reused the cover layout, fonts and logos. That package included a profile of Goose.

Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck were interviewed about bringing the first solo female hero to the MCU and all the topics and themes they wanted to explore. They, along with comics writer Kelly Thompson and others, also addressed how the film helps bring some much-needed female representation into the franchise.

Larson and the rest of the crew made appearances on various talk shows to hype the film just a little bit more. The directors and writer also commented on the trope that female characters like Captain Marvel need to “smile more” in order to be likable, particularly among men.

Overall

captain marvel gif

Picking Up the Spare

IMAX put out a new featurette with the cast of the movie talking about how great it looks in the large-screen format. Another had the crew talking about creating the world of the story while a third had Larson and Jackson making an overt appeal for the audience to see it in that large format.

Jackson made a couple more appearances on TV like this, as did Chan.

Costar Lashana Lynch got a profiles just before the and immediately after the movie’s release, which was cool to see. Similarly, Gemma Chan’s role in the film received more attention.

An official featurette had the stars trying to spill secrets about the movie while additional TV spots focused on the movie’s box-office win.

The U.S. Air Force’s involvement in the movie and its use of Carol Danvers as a recruitment tool for women has come under some scrutiny given the service’s problems protecting pilots from sexual assault and prosecuting offenders.

Goose continued to be a part of the campaign even after release, with a TV spot focusing on the positive reviews the cat received and a video asking if you can find the real Goose.

The women who brought the character and movie to life have no plans to slow down their quest for domination.

Marvel Studios put out a featurette about the firsts the movie represented for the cast and crew. 

Celebrate the Minifig’s 40th Anniversary With These LEGO Movie Posters

Given how pervasive LEGO construction sets based on movies have become, it might be hard to believe the first ones appeared less than 20 years, one of the tie-ins promoting Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Over the subsequent two decades there have been plenty of other partnerships for franchises including Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Jurassic World and more.

Since 2012 The LEGO Group has kicked up their film marketing activities significantly, producing officially-sanctioned posters for a handful of movies – usually the same ones they’ve created toy sets for – that have gotten lots of attention and helped both sides of the partnership.

In general, these alternate versions are recreations of a movie’s theatrical or teaser poster, taking the same layout and arrangement and simply replacing the human actors with minifigs and the ships or buildings with their LEGO equivalents. The results are often charming and playful where the originals may seem more serious and dour.

In the six-plus years LEGO has been producing these posters it’s focused primarily on a handful of key franchises with broad audience awareness and passionate fanbases that are likely to be interested in these kinds of variants, sometimes available exclusively as promotional swag at San Diego Comic-Con or other events.

To celebrate last week’s 40th anniversary of the LEGO minifig, let’s look at the times when minifig versions of movie characters have graced posters for some of Hollywood’s highest-profile releases.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Beginning with 2012’s The Avengers, LEGO has produced poster variants for many Marvel Studios releases. Those include Iron Man 3, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Black Panther and Ant-Man.

Star Wars

force awakens lego posterNo movie series is perhaps more closely associated with LEGO than Star Wars. It was, as mentioned above, the first licensed franchise the company got involved with and kicked off a 20 year relationship.

It wasn’t until 2015, though, that LEGO Group started producing themed posters for the franchise. That started with bricked versions of the one-sheets for the Original and Prequel Trilogy films. Specifically, the theatrical posters for the Prequels were recreated while it was the Special Edition versions of the OT movies that were updated. Of course that was all part of the build up for The Force Awakens, which got its own LEGO poster later in the year.

Since then each new Star Wars movie has received LEGO promotional posters. That includes Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: The Last Jedi – for which there both theatrical and character posters – and Solo: A Star Wars Story.

DC Comics

Putting aside the fact that much of the marketing for 2014’s The LEGO Movie and 2017’s The LEGO Batman Movie was focused around selling LEGO-ized versions of the Dark Knight, the toy company has provided support for the more…serious…cinematic takes on DC’s stable of heroes.

There were LEGO versions of the character posters for 2015’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice came out as well as for 2017’s Justice League and that same year’s Wonder Woman.

batman v superman lego

Apple even got in on the fun, putting out LEGO recreations of the posters for the first four Batman movies – the ones released between 1989 and 1997 – to help promote the home video debut of The LEGO Batman Movie.

LEGO’s promotional activities for these and other movies doesn’t end at the occasional poster, of course. This year saw a life-size LEGO recreation of the Millennium Falcon cockpit from Solo at San Diego Comic-Con. The annual convention also frequently features full-size sculptures of heroes and villains from that year’s big super hero movie, including Thanos, Wonder Woman, Captain America and others. SDCC attendees can also usually buy exclusive movie-tie in sets at the company’s booth.

There was also an official LEGO version of the Solo trailer released earlier this year as part of the hype cycle for that movie and a minifig recreation of the first promotional photo for Rogue One. On social media LEGO also has some fun with its preferred franchise partners, sharing a GIF from Spider-Man: Homecoming, reacting to the trailer for the new Fantastic Beasts movie and more.

So here’s to 40 years of the ubiquitous minifig. You’ve been stepped on in the middle of the night by many a barefooted parent, but you’ve also provided some fun movie marketing moments.

The Best Marvel Cinematic Universe Plane Jump Scenes

A couple weeks ago Paramount launched a massive campaign for Mission: Impossible – Fallout centered around Tom Cruise’s willingness and ability to do his own stunt work. One of the key sequences featured in the campaign was his HALO jump, something that was used on the IMAX poster, was the subject of a number of featurettes and more.

Watching Cruise and the rest of the cast and crew endlessly talk about how he engaged in several jumps to get all the shots necessary for the film – efforts he was joined in by the requisite technical crew – got me thinking about other notable “jumping out of a perfectly good airplane” moments on film. Specifically, I started thinking about how that device has been one used a number of times in various entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

That’s a niche subset, of course, as plenty of other action/adventure movies have similar scenes. But Marvel Studios loves having its characters engage in a little skydiving, so here are four such moments from the first 10 years of the MCU.

Iron Man 2

Tony Stark doesn’t do subtle and that includes making an entrance at the revived Stark Expo. So when he wants to get everyone’s attention he jumps out the back of a cargo plane and flies down, dodging (mostly) the fireworks being set off below until he finally makes the super hero landing on stage amid a line of dancing girls in Iron Man outfits.

The scene is notable for a couple reasons. First, it shows how brash Stark has become in the years since outing himself as the hero. Second, the trailer shows Pepper Potts dramatically kissing the Iron Man helmet before throwing it out the back, sending Tony out to retrieve it. That’s not how it plays out in the film, though, as he just jumps with helmet on after a bit of flirtation with Pepper.

Captain America: Winter Soldier

By the time of The Winter Soldier, Cap has already established himself as a hero in the modern age and found a purpose through working with SHIELD. Joining a strike team that includes Black Widow to rescue a ship that’s been taken hostage by terrorists at sea, Cap of course leads from the front, diving – sans parachute – into the ocean to stealthily board the ship and prepare the way for the rest of the team.

There is, of course, the dialogue between two other team members about whether or not he was wearing a parachute when he jumped that establishes how tough Cap is. But it’s his exchange with Widow before jumping that really stands out for me as it helps establish *who* the character is. Talking about his love life, or lack thereof, is everyday workplace banter and it shows that Natasha is what might be called his “work wife.” The exchange displays how even extraordinary people sometimes have ordinary conversations and lives that have to be fit in and round their adventures.

The Incredible Hulk

With Abomination rampaging through Harlem, Bruce Banner has finally convinced the military that’s long been hunting and trying to control him that he can be useful. So they fly him toward the chaos. Still in human form, he intentionally falls out of the craft, assuming the adrenaline spike from doing so will trigger the transformation into the Hulk, something that doesn’t go quite as planned, but it all turns out alright in the end.

One of the main themes with the Hulk is that the change into the creature is often outside of Banner’s control. In the movie he’s spent years trying to keep it from happening and regretting when it does. Now he *wants* to change and can’t, something that will come up in later movies. It also sets the stage for Banner’s line in The Avengers about having tried to kill himself, only to have “the other guy” emerge and survive.

Black Panther

Over the course of the movie we see time and again what kind of man, king and hero T’Challa is. Right at the outset it’s established he’s not only conquered his fear but he’s done so in part thanks to his belief in the technology and skills of those around him. That’s why when he’s about to raid a convey of human traffickers he doesn’t hesitate to be spit out the bottom of the plane he’s in, falling (again without parachute) toward the ground still able to disperse other weapons and ultimately land where he needed to be.

What’s great about this is that, as I said, he’s completely confident in the way he’s leaving the aircraft, showing no fear and no concern about his fate. That winds up being in stark contrast to how he freezes when he comes face to face with his ex-girlfriend, who’s been undercover as a victim of the traffickers and who isn’t as grateful as he expected for the rescue.

What did I miss? Which one is your favorite?

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Marvel Studios Has a Key Challenge in Selling Avengers 4

To say I’m super-curious about how Marvel Studios is going to sell the still-untitled Avengers 4 would be a dramatic understatement.

Throughout the campaign for Avengers: Infinity War, one theme was repeated over and over again: This is the end. Without spoiling too much of the story itself, the entire marketing campaign – especially elements like earned media and promotional videos – were focused around the idea that the movie was the culmination of the story begun in 2008 with Iron Man, specifically the end-credits tag where Samuel L. Jackson appeared as Nick Fury to introduce Tony Stark to the idea of The Avengers Initiative. Everything since then, we were told by producer Kevin Feige and others, had lead to this point, where it all comes together.

Except that was never really the case. We always knew a fourth movie was coming a year later that would *actually* be the endpoint, the finale of a two-parter. The audience, though, was asked to swallow the narrative in order to build Infinity War up as an event that could not be missed, even if you had decided to skip Doctor Strange or Ant-Man.

Rumors has begun to emerge about what the subtitle for the fourth movie may be, joining guesses about how the 1990s setting of next year’s Captain Marvel film starring Brie Larson might hint at what’s in store. So, based on what we both do and don’t know about the fourth entry in the Avengers series, let’s engage in a little rampant speculation about what sorts of angles Marvel might take to convince audiences to come out again for [checks notes] a second final installment.

Avengers: One Last Time

It’s possible Marvel Studios just leans into how it kinda sorta pulled a fast one on the audience and says “No, really, *this* is the summation of everything we started but without the nice symmetry of it happening exactly a decade after Iron Man.” It could sell it as a straight-up continuation of the story in the first movie, addressing the developments of Infinity War and promising the audience some sort of resolution to the emotional ending of that movie that doesn’t cheapen what transpired.

Avengers: Hawkeye and The Defenders

Picking up on one of the key conversations among fans, Marvel might decide to address head-on Clint Barton’s notable absence as well as bring heroes like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage over from Netflix to the big screen. Imagine a campaign explaining how Hawkeye and the others have rallied in Daredevil’s studio apartment and are coming into take down Thanos through the power of trick arrows and borderline alcoholism. I’d watch that.

Avengers: The Dream of the 90s Is Alive

With Captain Marvel taking us back 20-odd years before Tony Stark announced himself as being Iron Man, it’s possible that the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes place fully in the time of the Clinton presidency. There’s actually a ton of story potential here, with other characters who haven’t made their MCU debut yet available to build out a whole lineup of heroes operating in the 1990s. It could even include a younger version of both Hank Pym and Bill Foster, played by Michael Douglas and Laurence Fishburne respectively in the recent Ant-Man and The Wasp, and allow Brie Larson to fill the same central role Robert Downey Jr. has for the last decade.

Avengers: Captain America Wakes Up Next to Suzanne Pleshette

This is perhaps the least likely scenario, but I like to imagine that at some point in the development process someone pitched “…but it was all a dream” and wrote a whole treatment where the MCU starts over from scratch with all new actors taking on the roles of Thor, Iron Man, Hulk and others.

Avengers: Fox and Friends

It’s what everyone wants, right? For the end of the current MCU to herald the beginning of a fresh one that, thanks to Disney’s absorption of Fox, features the Avengers joining forces with the mutants of the X-Men or scientifically-minded Fantastic Four? Marvel execs have played down the notion of this happening, saying that any potential team-ups could be years away at best, but it’s still out there as a possibility and a line of thinking that won’t end until the movie is released.

What approach is chosen should begin to come into focus when we start seeing some early marketing and publicity for the film, which might start in November based on the beginning of the Infinity War campaign. The studio won’t, though, be able to tap into the same kind of event hype that was used for that movie as it’s a bullet that can’t be fired twice, at least not without experiencing significant drop-offs in effectiveness.

Also presenting a challenge for Marvel Studios is that any use of any character will represent some form of spoiler for the movie’s story. With so many heroes being literally wiped away at the end of Infinity War, any reference at all to anyone will generate moans and complaints from the audience that they now know too much about what happens.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Who’s Not at SDCC

Some Big Upcoming Movies Aren’t At San Diego Comic-Con This Year

Those attending San Diego Comic-Con this year will not lack for promotional and publicity stunts for some major movies hitting theaters in the near future. Bumblebee, Fantastic Beasts 2, Glass and plenty of others will have some combination of Hall H panels, events outside the convention center and other activities to try and make an impression on the hundreds of thousands of people in attendance, all of whom try to cross the light rail tracks at the same time throughout the day.

While the lineup will still be substantial there are going to be some heavy-hitters notable for their absence. There’s always the possibility a studio or two will pull a surprise appearance out of their bag of tricks, but at this point a last-minute announcement might raise more questions than it answers. Here are some of the big-name franchises and movies that aren’t going to be braving what’s expected to be blazing hot temperatures in San Diego this year.

No More Mutants

Fox has a few promotions planned to promote the home video release of Deadpool 2, including a star-studded panel and later screening of the “Super Duper $@%!#& Cut” that’s hitting DVD and Blu-ray in the near future.

deadpool 2 pic 2

Missing, though, are the next two movies in the studio’s X-Men franchise, New Mutants and X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The former was originally scheduled for release this past April before it was moved to February 2019 and then all the way to August of next year. That shift has reportedly been to allow for reshoots to play up the horror elements of the story, which is the tone struck in the first trailer released back in October 2017.

Dark Phoenix was also pushed back, though not as significantly, from November of this year to February of 2019 to accommodate reshoots. Still, the bump means the movie is seven months out from Comic-Con and not four, so a formal launch of the marketing might be a bit premature. There’s a slight chance director Simon Kinberg could show off a sizzle reel or something else, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Mr. Marvel, I Don’t Feel So Well

Marvel Studios not having a big presence at SDCC is…well…big. They’ve used Comic-Con to create hype for almost all its previous movies at some level or another over the last 10+ years, including debuting the full cast of the first Avengers movie to the Hall H crowd in 2010 and more. There’s sure to be some representation – props and such – at the Marvel Comics booth on the show floor, but that will likely be it.

Infinity War Trailer 2 Header

That’s in large part because Marvel isn’t ready to unveil more details around what happens to the MCU post-Infinity War just yet. They’re sure to face a group of fans who want answers about what happens to their favorite characters after Thanos snapped his fingers and know how next year’s Captain Marvel will play into things. Plus, they haven’t announced the title for Avengers 4 yet, so they don’t really have all the much to show. This is a case where more damage can be done by someone’s offhand remark than by maintaining silence so better to skip the event completely.

It’s Not Wise to Upset A Wookie

Along those same lines – and also related to corporate owner Disney – the Star Wars franchise is largely taking a break from San Diego this year, at least in terms of promoting new material.

solo pic 6

Solo: A Star Wars Story sat out SDCC 2017 because the publicity and marketing cycle for that movie hadn’t started yet. Lucasfilm was still in the midst of promotion The Last Jedi, and the Solo campaign wouldn’t start until February of this year, just three months before it hit theaters so it wouldn’t interfere or overlap with that of TLJ.

This year the studio 1) Doesn’t want to hear it from disgruntled fans who were upset either by Solo or The Last Jedi and 2) Isn’t quite ready to start the promotions for Episode IX, which doesn’t come out until December 2019.

It’s not sitting out the convention completely, though. It’s bringing a life-size replica of the Millennium Falcon cockpit from Solo to its booth on the show floor and hosting panel celebrating the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the TV series that quickly went on to become a fan-favorite.

Again, there are sure to be at least a few surprises that happen. That’s always the case with San Diego Comic-Con. But at the moment it looks like some of the entertainment world’s biggest names and franchises will be following along on Twitter just like the rest of us.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Ant-Man and the Wasp – Marketing Recap

ant man and the wasp posteI don’t hit this point very hard in my Hollywood Reporter recap of the marketing campaign for Ant-Man and The Wasp, but it’s important to remember that the first Ant-Man in 2015 shouldn’t have been, and wasn’t expected to be, a box-office hit.

While the character has a long and rich history over 50+ years of comics stories, the name is kind of silly, a product of the 1960s when push-button technology was just starting to break out of the realm of science fiction. So trying to make a big-screen action adventure starring him was a gamble, not to mention how the casting of Paul Rudd in the title role very clearly identified the movie as a comedy, something that was still unproven despite the success of Guardians of the Galaxy the year before.

Also working against that first movie was the behind-the-scenes drama, namely the last-minute exit of writer/director Edgar Wright, who’d been involved in developing the movie for years only to leave just before production started citing disagreement with the studio on the tone and vision. That’s the kind of thing that has scuttled other movies, putting a persistent cloud over the release that shades all further coverage and even impacts reviews.

It was successful, though, even if it didn’t hit the heights of other Marvel Studios releases. Rudd reprised his role in Captain America: Civil War and now has costar Evangeline Lilly finally suiting up as his partner in crime-fighting, Michael Douglas returning as Hank Pym and Michelle Pfeiffer joining as his lost wife Janet Van Dyne.

Online and Social

There isn’t much happening on Marvel’s official website for the movie, which just has the usual collection of trailers, posters, stills and links to both promotional partners and the social profiles established for the film. It’s alright, it’s just not going to blow anyone’s doors off.

Media and Publicity

A series of stills, including a photo showing Lilly in full hero costume was released by Disney during D23 last year. Rudd spoke briefly about the film on other occasions while promoting other projects, including while at Sundance for the premiere of The Catcher Was a Spy.

During the Avengers: Infinity War press cycle Lilly also talked about this film, explaining that the story revolved around the search for Janet Van Dyne. After that movie was released Disney/Marvel started shifting the focus and began explaining, to clear up audience confusion, that this one takes place during the events of Infinity War and that’s why neither Scott nor Hope are over there fighting Thanos.

The press tour started a couple weeks prior to release as Lilly showed up on “Kimmel” and then went on to call out male actors for being too used to comfortable fashion. Rudd has shown up on TV several times to talk about the movie specifically as well as his career in general.

The movie’s premiere allowed Reed to talk about the story and what approach he took with gender-swapping Ghost, a topic explored more in-depth in a feature story with comments by everyone from John-Kamen to the movie’s writers to the creators of the character’s comic incarnation. Reed also mentioned how much stronger Lilly’s work ethic was than Rudd’s. A later interview allowed the director to share how he was able to convince Pfieffer to return to comic book movies.

IMAX offered a few more exclusive videos, including a TV spot, a goofy video featuring a tiny Paul Rudd and an interview with Reed in addition to what they’d already released. Marvel also promoted the animated shorts featuring Ant-Man that were produced for Disney XD.

Overall

What struck me from the outset of the campaign is how much the studio has worked hard to position this as a movie starring The Wasp just as much as Ant-Man. She played a big role in the very first trailer and has been a big presence throughout the push, especially on the publicity circuit and in the TV ads. Marvel Studios obviously wants to play up her role, presumably as another example of how it really does want to bring more female heroes to the forefront.

Taken in whole, the movie is being sold more or less in the same way the first one was, which is a good thing since that worked. If there’s anything about it that makes me scratch my head it’s that the attitude taken toward how closely to tie this release to Infinity War seems inconsistent and a bit confusing, moving from “Nope, it’s totally its own thing” to “Oh yeah, there’s lots of connective material.” That likely won’t impact its success to any great extent, but it is a bit questionable.

I also question why there wasn’t more of a focus on the search for Janet in the Quantum Realm. That seems like it would give the story a more personal appeal, making the stakes for everyone more real and concrete than whatever vaguely-defined scheme The Ghost has. Mostly I just wish there were more Michelle Pfeiffer, or that there were more of an effort to tie this into her recent wave of high-profile releases that signal a return to prominence in the movie world.

PICKING UP THE SPARE

There have been a number of additional TV commercials like this one released in the last few days, all of which hope to sell the audience on a funny, light-hearted summer action movie. There are also spots like this that hit just today and which play up the shocking ending of the movie.

Marvel Studios also released a fun “Tiny BBQ” video to mark the Fourth of July.

One narrative that has been picked up in the last few days is that this is the first MCU movie where a female character shares top-billing with the male hero, something addressed here as Evangeline Lilly talks more about crafting a character little girls could relate to and connect with.

Another profile of Hannah John-Kamen, who plays the villain Ghost, where she talks about how a recommendation from Steven Spielberg helped her land this role and Peyton Reed helped her create the new version of the character.

There was a special poster created for Real 3D screenings of the first movie and this new one as a double feature. The poster shows both Ant-Man and Wasp seeking cover behind a coin that has “Opening night fan event on it.”

Peyton Reed covers a whole range of issues here, including his reaction to how offended some idiots were by Wasp receiving equal billing in the movie’s title. And the NYT covers how the filmmakers consulted with scientists to bring at least a bit of believability to the goings-on at the same time it offered a quick interview with Rudd.

The movie’s successful opening weekend let it run a “#1 movie in the world” TV spot to tout how well it was received.

The search for Janet Van Dyne was almost completely missing from the campaign but now that the movie is out, Marvel released this short video emphasizing it and focusing the Quantum Realm where she disappeared years ago.

Marvel released a new video promoting the movie-themed sponsorship of Girls Who Code, the popular tech-based educational program. It shows director Peyton Reed and others speaking to groups about the science of the story and how important a STEM-based education is.

There was also a new interview with Hannah John-Kamen where she talks in particular about working with Michelle Pfeiffer.

Avengers: Infinity War – Marketing Recap

avengers infinity war poster 2And now, the end is near

And so I face the final curtain

My friend, I’ll say it clear

I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

If you’re looking for my usual marketing recap on Avengers: Infinity War, this week’s biggest release, you’ll find it spread across two outlets.

For The Hollywood Reporter I covered the primary marketing elements such as posters, trailers and TV spots. Meanwhile over at Adweek I went a bit more in-depth than usual on the movie’s promotional partnerships and the efforts supporting those partnerships.

Even with all that there were some elements I usually include that didn’t make into either of those two pieces. So, using those as starting points, here’s the rest of what the marketing campaign looked like.

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The Best GIFs from Each Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Trailer

Whatever comes from this week’s Avengers: Infinity War, whoever lives or dies or is molded into the Soul Stone or anything else, the marketing campaign has already been a massive one. With so many characters to show off, so much story to tell, so many expectations to set, that’s not at all surprising.

While two hours and 24 minutes of the movie’s two hour and 29 minute runtime have yet to be seen, the campaign – specifically the two trailers – have already provided us with two of my favorite moments from the 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

#1: Black Panther – “…and get this man a shield.” I still get chills, though I know this scene will play out differently than what’s shown here.

get this man a shield

#2: Captain America holding back Thanos, which I wrote about previously.

infinitywargif9 So, because a good list never went wrong on the internet, here are my favorite scenes in GIF form from the trailers for all 18 MCU movies to date.

Continue reading “The Best GIFs from Each Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Trailer”