Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard – Marketing Recap

How Lionsgate has sold a throwback buddy action comedy sequel.

Reviews haven’t been great for The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, calling it excessive and unnecessary but at least shorter than the first one. The resulting 26% Rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes reflects that, but projections still have the film hitting around $15 million this long weekend, already bringing in $3.9 million on Wednesday.

The movie reunites Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek from 2017’s first film. As the story opens Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is getting out of the bodyguard business, in part because of the traumatic events of the earlier movie. But he’s sucked back into even more extreme violence when Sonia Kincaid (Hayek) recruits him against his wishes to help find and free her husband Darius (Jackson) after he’s kidnapped by mobsters. That gets all three of them involved in an Interpol mission to stop the terrorist Aristotle Papadopoulos (Antonio Banderas) from doing whatever it is he’s planning to do.

Nothing about the first movie could be mistaken for high art, but it was a fun Midnight Run/Running Scared-esque action comedy with two characters who loathed each other, highlighted mainly by the banter between Jackson and Reynolds. As we’ll see, the marketing of the sequel has tried to sell that same value proposition.

The Posters

All five of the leads — including Morgan Freeman, who plays Reynolds’ step-father — are arrayed on the first poster (by marketing agency Leroy and Rose), released in mid-May. From the gritty orange as well as the guns in everyone’s hands, it’s clear this is an action comedy. In fact it looks just like one-sheets for a number of other similar movies.

The same background design is used on character motion posters released at the end of May.

There’s even more action as Bryce and the Kincaids ride a motorcycle away from explosions and armed pursuers on the IMAX poster.

The Trailers

The first trailer (9.8 million views on YouTube), released in early April, opens with Michael reliving a terrible dream involving Kincaid and deciding to take a sabbatical to recharge and get over his issues. Of course trouble follows him to paradise as he gets mixed up, thanks to Sonia, with Kincaid one more time. Michael’s problems with this are amplified by the fact he’s trying to take a break from killing or protecting people, but circumstances just won’t let him sit on the sidelines.

A red-band version (400,000 views on YouTube) with lots of cursing came out about a week later.

The second trailer (15.2 million views on YouTube) came out a little over a month later. It still focuses on the dynamic between Michael and Kincaid – as well as Kincaid’s wife – but also puts it in the context of a bit more of the story and why they find themselves teaming up again.

Online and Social

Not much beyond the basic marketing assets on the movie’s official website, but the Twitter and other social media profiles were a lot more fun, trying to convey Reynolds’ trademark humor whole offering clips and other assets in the hopes people would share them.

Advertising, Press & Publicity

In early May there were a couple social promos like this timed for Mother’s Day that focused on Sonia’s declarations of what a great mother she’d be.

A Variety cover story on Hayek had her talking about how Hughes reached out to her about a role in the movie and how his wanting to involve her in developing the character helped her sign up enthusiastically.

The first TV spot came out in late May, an extended spot that continues showing the mix of action and humor in the movie, especially courtesy of Hayek.

Snap and Atom Tickets partnered to give Snapchat users access to early screenings to help get them excited for — and talking about — the movie.

The first clip shows Kincaid’s reaction to finding out his wife has brought in Michael despite his explicit instructions. Additional clips show Michael being pulled from sabbatical by Sonia, the three on an awkward drive through the Italian countryside and Michael trying to convince Sonia to take a less violent approach to a situation.

iHeartRadio ran a sweepstakes sending the winner on their own sabbatical earlier this month.

Jackson talked about the movie when he appeared on “Late Night” last week. Hayek and Reynolds appeared together on “Good Morning America” and she appeared on her own on “The Tonight Show.”

Regal had a promotional video of interviews with the stars.

Key art was repurposed as outdoor and online ads.


This whole campaign is like

The Banker – Marketing Recap

How Apple is selling its first original feature film release.

the banker poster 2Like most other media (and some technology) companies in the last year or so, Apple is finally branching into distributing original feature films, specifically using its Apple TV+ streaming service. It has already released a handful of series and a couple documentaries, but narrative features are new with this week’s The Banker.

The movie stars Samuel L. Jackson as Joe Morris and Anthony Mackie as Bernard Garrett. Morris and Garrett are two bankers who want to help others like them own their own homes and move toward the American Dream. The racist policies of the 1960s, though, keep them from owning their own bank. So they enlist Matt Steiner (Nicholas Hoult), a white man, to act as the public face of their venture while they pretend to be his hired help. Eventually the Feds get wise to their scheme, threatening to bring the entire operation to a halt.

Unfortunately early reviews haven’t been great, with critics citing a corny story and uneven plotting. Even more troublesome is controversy surrounding the people depicted in the story that has caused Apple to change its release plans, dampening what should be a big coming out for the company’s media ambitions.

The Posters

the banker posterThe photo of a white hand and black hand coming together in a shake is the central focus of the first poster from November. Copy explains “They built an empire like nobody’s business,” a nice bit of double entendre writing that conveys the unusual nature of what the characters accomplished. Notably, this is the first movie whose poster bills it as “An Apple original.”

February’s second poster uses the same kind of stark black and white photography, but this time features Morris and Garrett, both looking dapper in their suits and hats. It reminds people the movie is “Based on true events” but features slightly different copy that reads “Don’t pay the man. Be the man.”

The Trailers

It wasn’t until early November that the first trailer (956,000 views on YouTube) finally came out. The spot introduces us to Garrett as an ambitious businessman who wants to keep growing, expanding into more banking and other services. Limited because of restrictions – both formal and informal – on black-owned businesses at the time, he first enlists Morris’ help with the financing and then that of Steiner to act as the white face of the operation. We see clearly the movie will deal with redlining and other discriminatory practices, all of which are deserving of more general attention.

Online and Social

The website Apple is using to promote the film is pretty bare bones, but the addition of a Common Sense Media rating is a nice touch.

Advertising and Promotions

Apple acquired distribution rights to the film in mid-July of last year, making the film part of the lineup for the company’s upcoming (at the time) streaming service. News that the movie would be the closing feature at AFI Fest in November came shortly after Apple gave it a theatrical release date.

Just a day before that AFI Fest screening, Apple abruptly pulled it from the event amidst concerns over sexual abuse allegations involving the son of the real life subject of the story. The movie’s release date was soon delayed as well. Shortly thereafter the cast and crew released a statement clarifying that while they respect the grave nature of the accusations made, they don’t feel the film disrespects that at all and doesn’t touch on that subject matter.

In mid-January Apple finally rescheduled the movie for early March, with a theatrical run followed just two weeks later by its debut on Apple TV+. Almost immediately, though, Garrett’s former wives issued a statement saying the film should be permanently shelved because of what they felt were inaccuracies and elements that are disrespectful to the family.

After those issues were more or less in the past (but still lingering out there), Apple started running paid ads. Online units used elements of the key art, specifically the image of the two leads standing next to each other, while pre-roll ads used a cut down version of the trailer to highlight the stars while lightening up the focus on the story.

the banker online ad.png

Media and Press

Mackie was profiled in a piece that talked about this and other recent roles that allow him to revisit his dramatic chops instead of flying around as a super hero, which is where many people would recognize him. He later stopped by “The Late Show” to talk about the movie as well as his continued Marvel role and upcoming series.

An interview with costar Nia Long to talk about how important it is for stories like this that have slipped through the cracks of the history books to be told.

The cast and crew turned out for a premiere screening at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.


The movie and its campaign seem to have been caught between two lightning rods. On one side is the point raised by Long that stories like this that expose the systemic racism dominating centuries of this country’s history need to be told with more regularity, so it’s an important method to fill in the gaps of what’s covered, especially in popular culture. On the other, because it’s the story of a problematic individual, simply the act of telling that story is going to be fraught.

With that in mind, the campaign has worked more often than it hasn’t, but the controversy obviously caused Apple to pull back some of the effort it has been putting in to recent series releases. Hitting AFI and other events would have allowed the company to make a much bigger splash for its first foray into original movies and raise the profile of the Apple TV+ service that keeps struggling to gain traction.

What remains is a movie that looks like a solid drama featuring a handful of great actors, which is hard to pass up.

Shaft (2019) – Marketing Recap

shaft posterYou’d be in good company if the release of Shaft this week was leaving you a bit confused. After all, it’s a sequel to Shaft (2000) and the fifth film in the series that started in 1971 with Shaft.

This time around Samuel L. Jackson returns from the 2000 entry as John Shaft, nephew of the first John Shaft, played throughout the series by Richard Roundtree and the source of even more confusion. Added to the mix is Jessie T. Usher as JJ Shaft, the son of Jackson’s character and an FBI cybersecurity expert who gets mixed up in a mystery when his best friend dies unexpectedly. To figure out what happened he enlists the help of his father as well as his great uncle while also crossing paths with his mother Maya (Regina Hall).

The Posters

For all the talk about how Jackson was de-aged for Captain Marvel, the first poster seems just as dramatic in how much younger it makes the 71-year old actor appear. He’s in the lead of a group that includes all three generations of Shaft men as well as Hall’s Maya. The “More Shaft than you can handle” tagline is an exercise in running away from subtlety.

The Trailers

Early February saw the release of the first trailer, which debuted when Roundtree, Jackson and Usher interrupted Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue one night, offers a general overview of the story without going into too much detail. It’s clear Jr. is in need of the kind of help only his father can provide, but the younger Shaft isn’t quite as hardass as his old man. Just what the problem is isn’t quite clear, but the investigation winds up bringing them into contact with Jr.’s mother as well as his grandfather, who can still hold his own in a tight situation.

Just a week or so ago a new restricted trailer was released that starts out with the mid-elder Shaft acting a bit surprised and incredulous that his son has sought out his help. There’s plenty of foul language here to set the tone and we get the “black James Bond” joke again here. We see more of Maya, who’s conflicted about seeing her ex again, which is a funny bit that makes it clear we need more Hall in every movie. From there on out we get lots of violence and language and it ends with a joke about how the older Shaft looks like Morpheus from The Matrix, another comparison he takes issue with.

Online and Social

Warner Bros. didn’t put much effort at all into the single page about the movie, a page that includes the trailer, a synopsis, a small gallery of stills and not much else. There aren’t even links on the page to the Twitter or other social media profiles.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

The first TV commercial from mid-May emphasized the same sort of intergenerational and inter-family dynamics on display in the trailer, ignoring most everything about the actual story.

Sponsored movie-themed stickers were created that could be added to Instagram Stories.

Media and Publicity

News about the movie had been floating around for a while but late December brought the first official look at three generations of the Shaft family.

In early February it was announced that the movie would open this year’s American Black Film Festival. Jackson talked a bit about the film and how the script evolved while promoting Captain Marvel a few months ago.

Some of the cast appeared along with footage from the film when WB presented it to CinemaCon attendees in April.

The whole cast was the subject of a cover story in Ebony that had all of them talking about the new movie as well as what’s come before and how they want to continue the traditions established while also offering audiences something new.

Hall spoke briefly about her role in the buildup to her gig as the host of this year’s “BET Awards.”

AMC Theaters featured an exclusive video with Jackson encouraging people to come see the movie. Another video was offered by The Shadow League.

All that happened about the same time a featurette was released that focused on the legacy of the Shaft character in all its incarnations over the years.

Isaac Hayes III, the son of the late composer and funk legend, penned an op-ed for Billboard that recounted how he’d been approached by WB to participate in creating the soundtrack for this movie but was eventually left out of the process. While he praises the movie itself he makes the (valid) point that for a movie so focused on legacy to discount a presence that’s been part of the franchise since the beginning is a disservice and oversight.

Jackson made one more appearance on “The Late Show” to talk about the movie and returning to the character after almost 20 years.


The marketing team has obviously decided giving anything more than the slightest level of attention to the movie’s story is a waste of time, that what will hook the audience more is the promise of lots of bluster and banter between the three generations of Shaft men. That’s the focus of the trailers, while the press and publicity has been more about the legacy of the character and how that’s being translated into 2019.

In some ways it’s a campaign that’s very self aware of its own ridiculous nature and the areas that will have audiences scratching their heads. The jokes about Shaft being the black James Bond or looking like Morpheus nod nicely to it existing in a world with its own pop culture while also being an important element of our own. And Roundtree’s line about Jackson, who plays his character’s nephew, looking older than he does is funny in that the former is only six years older than the latter.

With almost 20 years since the last movie the fact both use the same title probably doesn’t mean much at all. With a new generation on board it’s as much a reboot of the 2000 sequel as that movie was of the original series. The branding is what’s important and the gap means they don’t really need to worry about subtitles.

Picking Up the Spare

All three actors playing the different generations of Shaft got together for a joint interview about translating the character and themes for a time almost 50 years after the first one debuted. 

A solo interview with Roundtree had him discussing the impact the first movie had on his career, including how it didn’t shield him from casual racism, and what it’s been like coming back to the role every now and again. 

A series of five character posters, each with a single letter of the movie’s title, came out shortly after it hit theaters. 

Unicorn Store – Marketing Recap

unicorn store posterUnicorn Store is one of those movies that’s been hanging around in limbo for a couple years but is now being released by Netflix. Brie Larson – who makes her directorial debut with the film – stars as Kit, a young woman who has always had trouble fitting in, driven more by her unique perspective on the world than those around her and unable to let go of the dreams that inspired her as a small child.

Struggling as an artist, Kit is one day presented with an invitation to the vaguely-named The Store, where she meets The Salesman (Samuel L. Jackson). He offers her the chance to finally achieve to achieve the fame she’s longed for, but only if she proves she’s capable of taking care of an actual unicorn, the dream she’s had since childhood.

The Posters

Kit is shown in full childlike artist mode on the one sheet, her face and clothes covered in colorful paint as she leans back on a grassy lawn. “Everyone needs a little magic. Even if they’re a grown up” is the copy at the top. All the elements combine to send a strong whimsical message, presenting Kit as someone who refuses to fully adult because she sees the world a bit differently and is driven by her own muse, not anyone else’s expectations.

The Trailers

The kind of conformist environment Kit is operating in is presented in the first seconds of the trailer, showing her competing in an artistic competition where everyone else has produced serious, stark works while she has painted a whole rainbow of abstract colors. That unconventional approach is marked poorly, showing us how no one else understands her vision. Kicked out of art school, she moves back with her parents and takes a bland office job until she receives an invitation to visit The Store. That leads her down a path that promises to make all her dreams come true, getting her parents off her back and finally letting her be what she wants in her heart to be.

Online and Social

Nothing official here.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

No ads have crossed my radar, but it’s likely there will be some in the weeks following release.

Media and Publicity

One of the first bits of press for the movie was a huge profile of Larson where she talked about the responsibility of taking on her first directing gig, the evolution her career and much more. Notably, the movie was taken on as the first project from a new production company founded with the goal of increasing inclusion in films.

At the same time it was announced the movie would debut at the Toronto International Film Festival Larson talked about just how nerve-wracking that was, how she got involved in the story and more. She was also interviewed about how she used short films to fill in the gaps and take control over her career, how she cast the various parts and the creativity she hoped it would inspire in others.

Things went quiet for a long time – nearly two years – until just this past February when it was announced Netflix had picked up this movie as well as a future project for Larson to star in and likely direct. It was quickly given an April release date.

The movie was mentioned briefly in a profile of Larson that was part of the press push for Captain Marvel.

That was about it, though, as the actor/director just recently came off the tour for that much bigger movie and there wasn’t a whole lot of room for another major publicity effort.


It’s a bit surprising there wasn’t more of an effort made in the publicity department, despite it being just weeks since Larson was everyone promoting Captain Marvel. This is her directorial debut, after all. Perhaps it’s the trade off necessary for striking while the iron is hot, accepting the limited press coverage in exchange for being able to tout the actress having a new film available on Netflix within weeks of that bigger movie hitting theaters.

Whatever the reason, Netflix’s limited campaign is filled with colorful whimsy, selling the film as a story of wish fulfillment and the rewards of being true to yourself, not fitting in the box society would like you to. That’s not a bad message to send, it just remains to be seen if it’s the kind of thing that can be sustained through an entire movie. Larson, who has charm to spare, though, may just be the one to pull it off.

Picking Up the Spare

Larson shared her magical thinking in a video from Netflix.

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.


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. 

Glass – Marketing Recap

My full recap of the marketing campaign for Glass is up at The Hollywood Reporter, but you can read below for the elements not included in that column.

Online and Social

The official website from Universal does a decent job of offering most of the basic content and information about the movie but never really takes visitors any deeper into the story.

Media and Publicity

A feature profile of Shyamalan covered lots of territory, focusing on how he fell from favor after the initial wave of popularity and buzz but has emerged even stronger than before. Similar topics were covered in another interview and another after that. The connection between this and the earlier movies was reinforced when the director revealed it would feature unused footage from Unbreakable, though he also put the kibosh on further sequels set in the shared world.

Everyone started showing up on late night TV and elsewhere in the last couple weeks, including Jackson and McAvoy. The latter was also announced as the host of an episode of “Saturday Night Live” a couple weeks after the film hit theaters.


glass gif

Picking Up The Spare

Star Anya Taylor-Joy had a few late-breaking profiles like this where she talked about her experiences on-set with the cast and crew.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard – Marketing Recap

In the new movie The Hitman’s Bodyguard Ryan Reynolds plays Michael Bryce, a high-end bodyguard who’s available for hire by well-off clients seeking protection. One day he’s contracted Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), a notorious assassin who’s scheduled to testify against one of his former bosses.

That should be a simple enough assignment but for one thing: Bryce and Kincaid have history that’s included the latter trying to kill the former on multiple occasions. Still, Bryce has a job to do and so the two have to not only get along but work together as the forces of those Kincaid is meant to testify against try to kill both of them.

The Posters

The first poster tells us exactly what we can expect from the tone of the movie. The image of Reynolds carrying Jackson, as well as the color palate of the image, the style used for the title treatment and cast name as well as the copy on the left are all pulled directly from the poster for the 1992 Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston vehicle The Bodyguard. That’s pretty funny and a nice little wink, even if it does come a bit too close to selling this movie as a parody instead of its own thing.

Two character posters followed, one showing The Hitman (Jackson) and one showing The Bodyguard (Reynolds) in a monochromatic design, each with guns drawn and each featuring the “Get triggered” copy that seems a tad insensitive. Those two were brought together into what seems to be a theatrical poster.

Another series of posters took a more old-school approach, with visual styles that harkened back to the era of movies like The French Connection and others. One is a black-and-white image of the two leads, both with guns drawn, seemingly entering a scene, a target taking aim at the pair. Another has the two of them taking aim themselves at something off-screen. A third is similar but has them standing more still in the frame and asks “Who’s protecting who?”

The Trailers

The first trailer, a red-band version, starts off by introducing us to Reynolds’ high-end bodyguard. He’s been hired to protect a hitman (Jackson) but things get violent quickly. Much of the action, of which there is plenty, is presented while Reynolds vents to a newspaper kiosk salesman about what a bad time he’s having on this particular assignment. It’s full of foul-language and ridiculous action.

The trailer is so unconcerned with selling the story it’s crazy. Instead it’s just about seeing the MFs that are dropped by Jackson and the sly subversion of action movie tropes like jumping into the garbage bin from a rooftop. Like the poster the studio is having fun with the title association, playing Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” over much of the footage.

An all-ages, non-restricted trailer was released about a month later that hits many of the same beats, just with half the running time and no curse words. This one’s more about selling the outrageous situations the unlikely pair find themselves in and the strange bond that forms between them.

The official trailer opens with Bryce taking one of his other clients out of a potentially dangerous situation. We see that a dictator is on trial and that his friends are trying to kill a key witness in those proceedings. So Bryce is assigned to protect Kincaid, but we see they have a history that’s not super-pleasant. Still, it’s his job and so despite his reticence he does what he needs to do to keep his charge from being blown up or otherwise killed.

It’s a much better trailer in that it actually lays out the story, not just relying on the charm and chemistry of Reynolds and Jackson. That comedy may still be the biggest selling point, but at least this one explains why they’re stuck with each other and why Reynolds’ character isn’t thrilled with the assignment, something that was lacking from the teaser.

Another short trailer came out that wasn’t new in most regards, just serving to reinforce the interplay between the two leads. One more trailer, just as lighthearted and focused on curse words and over-the-top as the others, was created to mark Romance Awareness Month.

Online and Social

The theatrical key art is displayed on the landing page of the movie’s official website as the content of the site loads. After that you can choose between sides, one for Bryce, one for Kincaid. Doing so just takes you to a short video clip featuring that character that you’re encouraged to share on social networks. There’s a prompt to “Get Tickets” in the upper right and links to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles in the lower right.

There’s also a quiz you’re encouraged to take to see if you have what it takes to join AAA Executive Protection Agency, the group Bryce apparently belongs to. And if you click the icon in the center of the top of the page you get a gallery of GIFs and images that have copy and a silly little animated character, apparently an effort to keep things light.

Moving on to the site’s actual content, the first option in the drop-down menu at the top of the page is “About,” which is where you’ll find a pretty good synopsis of the shenanigans the two characters get into. After that is “Videos” which houses the trailers, a featurette and a clip of the two meeting for the first time under new circumstances. The “Gallery” has a handful of stills and “Posters” has all the one-sheets.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

TV spots like this one started running a few weeks out from release that gave the barest outline of the story in favor of lots of action and a continued emphasis on the bickering relationship between the two violent professionals.

Online and outdoor ads used the various key art and social ads used the trailers as they were released.

Media and Publicity

The two leads were interviewed together, continuing the emphasis the campaign has placed on the dynamic between Jackson and Reynolds. In that interview they talked about bonding during filming, how they got involved in the project and lots more.

Other solo interviews had the pair, as well as costar Salma Hayek, talking about the story and all the usual anecdotes about filming and how much fun it was to be involved in something so silly. They also did the talk show rounds on TV to engage in hijinks with late night hosts and talk about the film.


As should be overwhelmingly evident from what I’ve laid out above, the main appeal the studio is conveying is the charm of and chemistry between the two leads. That’s why the story is often either missing or pushed way into the background of the trailers and other marketing elements in favor of Reynolds and Jackson getting on each other’s nerves, quipping and otherwise making it clear they’re not getting along as characters but certainly having a great time as actors.

The question then becomes whether that’s enough. The movie certainly looks like fun. Everything about it is the kind of big, silly action comedy that used to be pervasive in the late 80s and early 90s, but it’s unclear if that formula holds the same appeal these days. This looks more and more like a movie that will have an amusing campaign that leans on the likability of the two leads but which fades into obscurity quickly. A year from now someone will post on Twitter saying “Remember when a movie called The Hitman’s Bodyguard actually happened?”j