the school for good and evil – marketing recap

How Netflix has sold a magical YA story of friendship and destiny

The School For Good and Evil movie poster from Netflix
The School For Good and Evil movie poster from Netflix

The School for Good and Evil comes out this week on Netflix. Based on the 2013 novel of the same name, the movie is directed by Paul Feig, who cowrote the screenplay with David Magee.

Sofia Wylie and Anne Caruso play, respectively, Agatha and Sophie, two friends who one day are suddenly whisked away to The School for Good and Evil, a mysterious place where one half teaches students how to be heroic and good while the other half teaches its students to be villainous and evil. While there, Sophie and Agatha find their friendship tested as they are thrust into a world of fairy tales and powers prompting them to question who they were meant to be.

An impressive roster of actors has been assembled to play the instructors and others at the school, including Michelle Yeoh, Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Laurence Fishburne, Rob Delaney and others.

announcements and casting

The movie was announced with Feig attached as director in late May 2020. Several months later Feig revealed much of the main cast, with Washington and Theron joining in February of the next year.

Chiani met some of the cast for the first time and interviewed them about their impressions of the book and story in a first look featurette released in early June as part of Netflix’s “Geeked Week” campaign.

A brief video was shared at the end of July to announce the end of production.

Bloom, Kingsley and a host of others were added to the cast in November, 2021.

Footage from the film was included in Netflix’s 2022 feature film preview.

Fieg then revealed Blanchett had been cast as the story’s narrator in June.

the marketing campaign

“There are two sides to every story” the first poster, released in June, declares. Two figures are seen in the distance on the bridge connecting the two schools, showing that the conflict between those schools will be embodied by a couple specific characters.

The first teaser (1.9m YouTube views) came out at that time as well. It’s a very good teaser, primarily focusing on vague imagery of the school as Theron’s Lady Lesso introduces the concept of the school to students as well as the audience. Toward the end we see Sophie and Agatha as they’re plucked from the woods by a giant bird and transported toward their destiny.

Those both appeared during Netflix’s “Geeked Week” campaign, which included a featurette interview with Wylie and Caruso as well as Soman Chainani, the author of the original book. Those two stars also appeared in a trailer reaction video.

July brought a second poster. This time the schools are used as background to the four main characters, now front and center.

The first trailer (3.1m views on YouTube) came out in mid-September. As it begins Agatha and Sophie have been selected to join the school and learn it plays a role in teaching those who go on to live the lives others only read about. The two friends have very different experiences at the school, though, as Sophie sees it as a path to power and respect while Agatha isn’t convinced this is what she wants. So a confrontation is set between them.

A clip showing new students being tested for their magic potential before Sophie interrupts and begins to embrace her new status and powers was released later in September as part of Netflix’s Tudum promotional event. A couple character posters came out at about the same time.

The original song “Who Do You Think You Are” from Kiana Lede came out earlier this month.

The dynamics of the school and how Agatha and Sophie adjust to being on opposite sides of the spectrum are on display in an extended spot/trailer released a week before the movie came out. Sophie is convinced she was sent to the wrong school before embracing the darkness despite Agatha’s attempts to “save” her, making it clear what conflict will be driving the story.


It doesn’t break any new ground or give the impression of being wholly unique, but there’s a fun vibe to the campaign that makes it seem like it will be a fun time to watch. And we certainly need a new “kids learning to harness their powers at a mysterious magical school” franchise these days.

What stands out to me as the biggest question here is whether the campaign has been strong enough or achieved a wide enough reach to challenge the two big releases hitting theaters this week: Black Adam and Ticket to Paradise.

everything everywhere all at once – marketing recap

How A24 has sold a well-regarded science fiction action comedy

Everything Everywhere All At Once movie poster
Everything Everywhere All At Once movie poster

Written and directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All At Once has the kind of premise that simultaneously is completely insane and makes total sense. Here’s the plot description courtesy of IMDb:

An aging Chinese immigrant is swept up in an insane adventure, where she alone can save the world by exploring other universes connecting with the lives she could have led.

Michelle Yeoh stars as Evelyn Wang, the immigrant mentioned above, with Stephanie Hsu playing Evelyn’s daughter Joy and Ke Huy Quan playing Evelyn’s husband Waymond. Jamie Lee Curtis and Jenny Slate also star.

So with such a high profile cast and a logline that intrigues as much as it confuses, let’s take a look at how it’s been sold by A24.

announcement and casting

Yeoh was attached to the movie when it was announced all the way back in 2018 as the next directing project for Daniels (the moniker for the team of Kwan and Scheinert) after 2016’s Swiss Army Man.

Hsu joined the cast in January 2020, replacing Awkwafina, who had to drop out of the role of Evelyn’s daughter due to scheduling conflicts. Curtis and others were also added to the cast at that time, which coincided with A24 acquiring the project.

the marketing campaign

Things started off with a bang in mid-December 2021 when the movie was revealed as the opening feature for that year’s SXSW Film Festival.

Just a short while later the first trailer (6m YouTube views) was released. As it starts, Evelyn and her family are in the middle of what seems to be an IRS audit, in the middle of which she is snatched into an alternate universe where her help is needed. Turns out there are Evelyns scattered across the multiverse and she can access the memories and abilities of all of them. Each of the universes is a little different, of course, meaning we get to see Evelyn in a variety of settings and with a variety of challenges.

A poster came out at the same time that places the movie’s title amidst a sea of art store googly-eyes, an item that plays a role in the story based on its appearances in the trailer.

In February of this year IGN announced this would be among the movies screening at their Fan Fest in the middle of that month.

Quan was interviewed about this being his return to the screen after stepping away for 30 years following iconic roles in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies, a hiatus resulting from constantly being offered offensively stereotypical roles. This script, he said, convinced him it was time to come back.

He joined the rest of the cast to talk about the story and what attracted them all to the project in a panel during IGN’s Fan Fest.

There was a fair amount of coverage of the movie’s massive 48-song soundtrack containing music from Randy Newman, David Byrne and others, including an original score by the band Son Lux.

Yeoh and Curtis shared what it was like to film the movie, especially the fight sequences, in an EW cover story from late February. That story and others from that issue covered Yeoh’s career to date and how she’s stuck to her guns in picking roles that matter to her while also showing off a few new stills from the film and another feature on Quan.

The next poster that came out at the end of February leans into the multiverse concept, with multiple versions of Evelyn and her world arrayed around the center. It’s very trippy and certainly communicates the slightly mind-bending nature of the story. Artist James Jean later revealed the process designs for the poster, showing his outlines and early versions as the final design came into focus.

An interview with Curtis had her talking about collaborating with Daniels and others to create the unusual looks for her character.

The cast and crew returned to SXSW this year for the movie’s red carpet premiere event followed by a Q&A. While there the directors talked about casting Yeoh while everyone expressed their admiration for the story.

That festival screening was accompanied by another extensive THR profile of Yeoh that focused on her status as a screen icon in so many ways, one that has deserved to be a bigger star than she already is given her talents as both an actor and a martial artist. The rest of the cast is quoted extensively singing her praises on all fronts. An NYT profile covered similar ground.

We get a little more background into just how Evelyn can span so many universes in a promo video released just last week. Another video takes a slightly different approach to offering the same kind of information while also highlighting some of the soundtrack.

Curtis showed up on “Kimmel” to promote the movie.


Look, we could discuss how the slightly psychedelic nature of the poster and other materials continues the offbeat branding Daniels established after their first movie.

We could discuss how the audience has been primed recently for a multiverse-centered movie by a bunch of super hero movies that have explored the concept in their own way.

We could discuss how the movie’s 97% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes gives it good word-of-mouth headwinds as it opens in limited release before going wide next week.

But honestly all you need to know and all we need to discuss is that the campaign became a celebration of Yeoh and her awesomeness (as well as a triumphant return for Quan), which is reason enough to call the marketing push a success.

Kung Fu Wtf GIF by A24 - Find & Share on GIPHY

gunpowder milkshake – marketing recap

How Netflix has sold a female-led action thriller.

Karen Gillan plays Sam in Gunpowder Milkshake, this week’s new release from Netflix. Sam is an assassin who finds herself on the run following a job gone wrong. That winds up bringing her back in contact with Scarlet (Lena Headey), Sam’s mother who also happens to be an assassin. Scarlet herself had to disappear years ago, leaving a young Sam alone, and so the two have some issues to work through. Helping them both are former associates of Scarlet’s; Madeline, Florence and Anna May (Carla Gugino, Michelle Yeoh and Angela Bassett, respectively).

The movie, which has a middling 69% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, has been sold by Netflix as a bright, female-driven take on the action/revenge genre, with Gillan at the forefront, though the rest of the cast isn’t far behind. Let’s take a look.

The Posters

The first poster (by marketing agency BOND), released in May, offers a very literal visual interpretation of the movie’s title, with a bullet taking off the top of a diner milkshake. It’s the title treatment at the top that stands out, though, immediately establishing an identity for the movie with its bright neon lights.

Another poster released at the same time has a similar approach, but this time the bullet is breaking the glass, smeared red lipstick visible at the point of entry.

The main poster came out in mid-June, showing most all of the lead cast as they stand in front of a diner with the title as its brightly-lit sign. All five characters are armed in some manner, the variety of their weapons hinting at how many ways they collectively know to kill someone.

Sam got a poster of her own a bit later.

The Trailers

The trailer (317,000 views on YouTube) came out in mid-June and opens with Sam seeking out the help of the librarians who are actually assassins. She needs that help because an assignment has gone sideways and she’s now responsible for protecting eight-year old Emily (Chloe Coleman). That’s just the setup, as the rest of the trailer is solely concerned with selling the over-the-top action of the movie, showing just the kind of butt-kicking audiences can expect.

Online and Social

No website, as is standard for Netflix releases, but StudioCanal, which produced the film, did run some social media accounts like this Twitter profile that helped with promotion, including sharing some promo spots. Netflix did give it some support on its own brand channels, but the focus there has been on its recent Fear Street anthology.

Advertising and Promotions

Distribution rights were picked up by STXFilms in February, 2020, about two years after it was announced during the American Film Market in 2018. A batch of first-look stills came out in mid-November.

Things were quiet until April 2021 when STX sold the movie to Netflix, one of many such sales as studios cleared out some titles as the coronavirus pandemic wound down.

The cast and director assembled via video chat to talk about how they got involved in the project and what the story entails. That video, released as part of Netflix’s “Geeked Week” campaign, also included the first publicly-released footage from the film.

Gillan and writer/director Navot Papushado attended a screening/Q&A at the New Beverly Cinema earlier this week.

A video with Bassett sharing some of her favorite lines from throughout her career, up to and including this movie, was released just the other day.

Another video has Papushado sharing some of the influences he pulled from when making the movie.

Gillan, who had shared a handful of videos from the set, put out what she called the first episode of her new talk show with Headey – kind of – as her guest.

Papushado talked about how and why he cast Gillan, who herself commented on what attracted her to the movie (including the title itself) and more.


Unlike some other recent releases this campaign has done a solid job of establishing a visual identity for itself, thanks in large part to not only the bright title treatment but also the enthusiasm of Gillan and the rest of the cast.

That’s not to say the movie looks great in and of itself, but it sure is sold to the public as being a lot of fun, and that’s really just fine. The same can be said of many similar movies like John Wick or Nobody, so clearing that bar is really all the campaign needs to do.