Picking Up the Spare – Christopher Robin, The Darkest Minds and More

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Chloe Grace-Moretz goes all [fire emoji] on the idea of gay conversion therapy and talks about the recent moments that have dramatically changed her thinking on the idea. She also unloads on the studio mentality that marginalizes female actors and characters as well as her belief stories should be told by the kind of people portrayed in the story, highlighting the difference in reaction to this movie by a queer woman and the upcoming Boy Erased, which tells a similar story but is directed by a straight man.

The Spy Who Dumped Me

Lots of new interviews from late last week with director Susanna Fogel, who talked about casting the film and telling a story about a strong female friendship, the (slightly) increased willingness by the studios to tell heretofore underrepresented stories, the sometimes choppy waters of her career to date, how filming action sequences helped her embrace her “inner badass” and more.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

The popular Battlegrounds Mobile video game is getting a movie-themed level.

Christopher Robin

I did not realize the movie was written by Alex Ross Perry, who’s been primarily known to date for his smaller character dramas, but he talks about just that topic here.

Lots of the movie’s positive reviews are included in this “Now Playing” TV spot.

The Darkest Minds

Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson says she doesn’t mind at all if the movie and its story invite comparisons to current real world political resistance movements.

The cast also talks more in a joint interview about how the story mirrors the recent youth-driven drives for societal change on various topics.

Fox has released a series of “Meet…” character introduction videos like this one, apparently hoping that such explainers will help audiences get interested in characters they may not otherwise be familiar with.

Puzzle

There’s a new TV spot, the first for the movie I believe, that outlines the story and relationships while highlighting some of the positive reviews it’s received.

Eighth Grade

Regal Cinemas has been running this update as a promoted post on Twitter highlighting the movie and its emotional story.

This past Wednesday A24 hosted a series of free screenings around the country that, importantly, were voluntarily free of MPAA ratings enforcement. That’s been a subject of conversation around the movie as the R rating the movie was given for a a few bad words and some age-relevant discussions of sexual matters have put it out of reach of many actual eighth graders.

Sorry To Bother You

Writer/director Boots Riley ignited a thousand hot takes when he spoke up about the lack of international distribution for his well-received movie, citing a belief by the studio and others that “black” movies still don’t work overseas.

There isn’t usually a lot of attention paid to producers, but Nina Yang Bongiovi got a nice profile covering how she has become a force in the indie movie world and helped bring this movie to fruition.

Pineapple Express

Among the interesting tidbits shared by writer/star Seth Rogen marking the movie’s 10th anniversary was one saying a smoking billboard was shut down by the LA fire department for obvious reasons.

Deadpool 2

Another fun teaser for the movie’s home video release.

BlacKkKlansman

John David Washington appeared on “Kimmel” to talk about the movie, working with Spike Lee and more.

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

Picking Up the Spare – Sorry To Bother You, Skyscraper and More

Sorry to Bother You

The movie has generated a metric ton of stories such as this about code-switching and “white voice.” Annapurna Pictures leaned into that by releasing a featurette with Patton Oswalt and David Cross, who provide some of the white voices used by black characters in the film.

Star Lakeith Stanfield has engaged in a bit more media, including appearing on “Kimmel” to promote the movie.

Skyscraper

It was apparent in the film’s campaign, but the distinct lack of sense of humor was one (at least potential) reason the movie didn’t perform up to expectations at the box-office. While I haven’t seen it, the problem likely stems from how it adds the element of putting the hero’s wife and children in the middle of the action. That increases the stakes, but it also makes a wise-cracking protagonist odd and out of place. You’ll note that Die Hard, which the movie clearly was aspiring to be, avoided that.

Dwayne Johnson and director Rawson Marshall talk here about Neve Campbell’s character, who was all but missing completely from the campaign.

This is an interesting profile of Johnson and the clout he wields, including his formidable social media presence.

Also, the movie has come under some scrutiny as another example of Hollywood casting an able-bodied actor to play a disabled character, which is part of a bigger conversation around representation.

Avengers: Infinity War

While Marvel Studios isn’t at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, LEGO is bringing a life-size version of Thanos to the convention.

Ready Player One

The theatrical run is over for the movie but it’s freshly out on home video platforms and media, so Warner Bros. has brought costumes, props and a VR experience to San Diego Comic-Con.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

It’s not a big push, but Disney/Lucasfilm are including a life-size replica of the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit as seen in the movie to the Star Wars booth at San Diego Comic-Con.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot

Amazon released a bunch of new posters on Twitter that are much better than the low-effort theatrical one-sheet.

Jonah Hill showed up on “Kimmel” to talk about the movie and working with Phoenix.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

Cher announced she has recorded and will release a whole album of ABBA covers to capitalize on her involvement with the movie and her time once more in the spotlight.

Christine Baranski, Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper both hit late-night talk shows to talk about working with Cher and even kind of the rest of the movie.

The producer of the original stage show had a chance to weigh in on the musical’s legacy, and the movie’s director talked about the cameos by two of ABBA’s original members.

Universal worked with an influencer marketing agency to coordinate a shot-for-shot remake of the original video for “Mamma Mia!” the song featuring a bunch of YouTube personalities.

Black Panther

Shuri, T’Challa’s sister and the breakout favorite character from the movie, is reportedly getting her own comic series.

Eighth Grade

Writer/director Bo Burnham continues to make the media rounds to talk up his movie, which is gearing up to be a word-of-mouth success. Also many people have pointed out this disconnect, which is that a few words and scenes that are going to be familiar to anyone in junior high have given the movie a rating designed to keep out anyone who’s actually in junior high.

The Equalizer 2

Denzel Washington addressed directly how this is his first sequel and why he’s long avoided doing them and how he tried to bring the feeling and emotion back to the character. Also, he and costar Ashton Sanders talk here about their on-screen dynamic.

Deadpool 2

Yeah, the Comic-Con stunts promoting the movie’s home video release are just about what you’d expect.

Picking Up the Spare: Woman Walks Ahead, The Greatest Showman and More

Woman Walks Ahead

Another feature with star Michael Greyeyes where he once again talks about the kinds of Native American character roles he’s offered and how he sees this movie as being a great example of specific representation of a Native culture, not just something vague.

The Greatest Showman

Not only does the movie’s soundtrack continue to go gangbusters on the chart but there’s apparently another album coming later this year featuring pop artists covering some of the songs from the film.

Uncle Drew

Good background story here on how the movie got made, acknowledging that films and TV shows based on commercial campaigns aren’t always the most universally successful.

Ant-Man and The Wasp

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.

Sorry to Bother You

Lakeith Stanfield received a substantial profile in The New York Times covering how he’s made a decent career to date by playing off-kilter characters.

There’s also been lots more coverage of writer/director Boots Riley, including this feature where he talks tech and this one where he weighs in on the role activism should play in the life of the artist.

I, Tonya

While it’s not directly tied to this movie, the interest and attention it received presumably lead NEON to acquire the old documentary “Sharp Edges” about Tonya Harding prior to her gaining national notoriety. Still, it’s somewhat surprising given the backlash to the movie centered around the questionable decision to make the villain in the story sympathetic while almost completely ignoring the victim.

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

Sorry To Bother You – Marketing Recap

sorry to bother you poster 10Rap/hip-hop star Boots Riley makes his feature film writing and directing debut with this week’s new release Sorry To Bother You. Based in part on Riley’s own experience, the movie stars Lakeith Stanfield as Cassius, a young man living in a magical alternate version of Oakland with his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson). Riley is kind of aimless and has trouble holding down a job, but is a nice guy who works hard.

One day he gets a job at a telemarketing firm and finds the key to success is simply hiding his blackness and pretending to be someone else. Suddenly he’s raking in the cash both from his real job and taking other opportunities that are a little more questionable, all while living a life that is ever-so-slightly exaggerated from reality.

The Posters

A series of brightly-colored posters, one for each character, came out right around the time of SXSW. Each one gave us a look at the character, with the name of the actor above the title, but written like it’s going to offer their character name. So it’s “Tessa Thompson is Sorry to Bother You.” That’s kind of fun and shows the movie’s irreverent and unusual attitude.

 

 

Two more posters came out later, one of which showed Cassius on the phone despite his head being bandaged while the copy emphasized “Destiny is calling.” The other was more of a theatrical one-sheet, showing Cassius from a distance as he leans against a wall while looking at something on his phone. There’s no tagline here, just a couple of positive blurbs from early reviews of the film.

The Trailers

I honestly don’t know what’s going on in the first trailer and I don’t really care. We have Cassius working menial jobs and living with Detroit before finding the keys to success in making himself sound more white on the phone and getting involved with the shady Steve. It’s a trip and a half and looks incredible. This is going to appeal to a lot of people for its whacked out attitude and clear message about what it takes to make it in the world and how much you have to sell out to celebrate.

The second trailer is similarly inscrutable, showing more or less the same level of “wow…what?” as the first, only slightly more outrageous thanks to its red-band designation. There’s so much good stuff here but if you’re looking for realism, this isn’t the place.

Online and Social

For a movie that’s so obviously presenting a heightened version of reality, the official website is pretty ordinary. There’s all the usual material like the trailers and information on the cast and crew, along with some quotes from early reviews of the movie. Up in the corner are links to the film’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook profiles. One interesting addition is a link to a merchandise store where you can buy some of the fashion and other items featured in the movie.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

I haven’t seen or been able to find any TV spots, which is surprising given the studio is generally giving this a sizable push. There has been some online advertising done using elements pulled from the key art.

Media and Publicity

Almost universally – unsurprising given the creative talent on both sides of the camera – the movie made critics’ “films we need to see” lists in advance of its Sundance Film Festival debut. While the subsequent buzz wasn’t universally positive, it was still well-received and was called out as one of a handful of films at the festival taking a fresh look at masculinity. Hammer spoke while there about the unusual nature of the story and the character he plays. Annapurna Pictures acquired distribution before the festival was over. Riley also was interviewed a bit, talking about how he’s always harbored aspirations of being a filmmaker, what it was like to attend Sundance and more. After that it was also screened at the SXSW Film Festival.

Riley was later announced as the recipient of the Sundance Institute’s Vanguard Award. A feature profile of the freshman filmmaker went through his whole career, the somewhat difficult process of getting the movie made, how he’s had to hustle and scrap to maintain his creative edge and lots more. He, along with members of the cast, spoke more when the movie was screened at BAMcinemafest.

A video profile introduced Riley to those unfamiliar with him and allowed the filmmaker to explain what the movie was about. He and the rest of the cast talked about the experience of filming in Oakland and more in a series of interviews like thisThere were also a few joint interviews with Stanfield and Thompson where they talked about how unusual and interesting the movie was and what attracted them to it.

Overall

If Riley was looking to come out of the gate with a strong first impression, he appears to have succeeded spectacularly. Not only has he made what looks to be a spectacularly original movie, but Annapurna has given it a campaign that is one of the most colorful and eye-catching of the year. Its vibrant personality and skewed sense of humor is front and center, making sure anyone who catches any part of the marketing is going to know exactly what kind of movie it is they can expect should they choose to visit the theater.

PICKING UP THE SPARE

Writer/director Boots Riley ignited a thousand hot takes when he spoke up about the lack of international distribution for his well-received movie, citing a belief by the studio and others that “black” movies still don’t work overseas.

 

There isn’t usually a lot of attention paid to producers, but Nina Yang Bongiovi got a nice profile covering how she has become a force in the indie movie world and helped bring this movie to fruition.

 

The movie has generated a metric ton of stories such as this about code-switching and “white voice.” Annapurna Pictures leaned into that by releasing a featurette with Patton Oswalt and David Cross, who provide some of the white voices used by black characters in the film.

 

Star Lakeith Stanfield has engaged in a bit more media, including appearing on “Kimmel” to promote the movie.

 

Lakeith Stanfield received a substantial profile in The New York Times covering how he’s made a decent career to date by playing off-kilter characters.

 

There’s also been lots more coverage of writer/director Boots Riley, including this feature where he talks tech and this one where he weighs in on the role activism should play in the life of the artist.