How Searchlight Pictures has sold the latest comedy from the Super Troopers gang
The Broken Lizard troupe is back with this week’s Quasi, now available on Hulu. This time around the target of the troupe’s comedy isn’t local law enforcement or quirky seafood restaurant workers but Victor Hugo’s classic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Steve Lemme plays Quasi Modo, a hunchback who tortures prisoners of the King of France (Jay Chandrasekhar) along with his friend Duchamp (Kevin Heffernan). Quasi becomes embroiled in the machinations of both King Guy and the visiting Pope Cornelius (Paul Soter) while also getting the attention of Queen Catherine (Adrianne Palicki), all of which leads to misunderstandings, murderous plots and other hijinks.
All the Broken Lizard members, including Erik Stolhanske, play multiple roles in the film and Heffernan, as he’s done before, directs from a screenplay written by the entire gang. It also costars many of the actors Heffernan and Lemme have worked with on the show “Tacoma FD.” So with all that setup let’s take a look at how it was sold prior to its appropriately-timed release on 4/20.
announcement and casting
The movie was announced by Broken Lizard in November, 2021 with Searchlight Pictures signing on to produce and distribute through Hulu. Production was already complete at that point, so the announcement included assurance that all the troupe members were appearing and that Palicki had joined as well.
the marketing campaign
“Every day is hump day” we’re told on the poster released in mid-March. The design of the one-sheet isn’t meant to communicate much of anything about the movie’s story. Instead it’s basically just a group shot of the Broken Lizard team, including Palicki, in costume to let the audience know they have a new comedy coming out soon.
The trailer (300,000 YouTube plays) came out at the same time. It starts out by showing how petty King Guy is before introducing us to Quasi and Duchamp, who are getting psyched for Pope Week, the upcoming visit from His Holiness. When Quasi wins a private audience with the Pope, which sets everything off and leads to murder, romance, more murder and maybe redemption for Quasi in the eyes of everyone who despises him.
Various members of the cast made appearances at sporting events to try and raise awareness and interest among general audiences. That included an Anaheim Ducks game, a NASCAR race, a Cubs game and more.
Fan screenings in a handful of cities were scheduled for the weeks leading up to release, with the cast showing up for in-person Q&As. Those frequently coincided with talk show or local news appearances by one or more of the cast as well.
A TV commercial released just days before the movie came out more clearly explains the plot by showing how Quasi is approached by both The Pope and King Guy to kill the other one. That’s very different from the trailer, which spends most of its time going for single laughs as opposed to sharing anything about the story itself.
The tension between The Pope and King Guy is on display in a brief clip showing them taking verbal potshots at each other over dinner.
Another clip shows Quasi and Duchamp walking through the village, the latter trying to cheer up the former.
Chandrasekhar was interviewed about the group’s comedy and how the movies they produce are “stoner comedies” not in the sense there’s a lot of pot smoking in the films themselves but they were all certainly written at least partially under the influence.
Everyone involved turned out for the Los Angeles premiere of the film on 4/20.
The Broken Lizard style of comedy is certainly not for everyone but I’m all like
So if you ask me if the marketing here works for me personally I will admit
Which means it’s all good here.
picking up the spare
Searchlight released a featurette on the making of the movie that had the cast making it seem a lot more important and artistic than it actually is.