the mother – marketing recap

How Netflix has sold a family-based action drama

The Mother poster with Jennifer Lopez from Netflix
The Mother poster from Netflix

Niki Caro directs this week’s new Netflix release The Mother, written by Misha Green, Peter Craig and Andrea Berloff. The movie stars Jennifer Lopez as a character known simply as The Mother, an assassin who has been hiding out but who is forced to reemerge when the daughter she gave up years ago (played by Lucy Paez) is threatened.

Joseph Fiennes, Gael García Bernal, Omari Hardwick and others also appear in the film, which is part of the post-Wick slate of cinematic stories with big stars playing very dangerous people, usually loners, in action movies.

So with all that in mind let’s look at how Netflix has sold it to the general audience.

announcement and casting

The movie was announced in early 2021 with Lopez attached to star, Caro to direct and Netflix already agreeing to distribute. Most of the rest of the cast was added toward the end of that year as production was getting underway.

Netflix released a behind-the-scenes still of Lopez filming in October 20021.

A small bit of footage was included in Netflix’s 2022 preview of its upcoming feature films.

the marketing campaign

In September 2022 a teaser trailer (2.3m YouTube plays) came out that begins by showing The Mother surviving on her own in a remote wilderness cabin by using the skills she has. It then cuts to her talking with her daughter, who is being hunted by equally dangerous people.

That teaser includes the May 2023 release date in the description but also ends with a more vague “Coming soon” title card.

Fast forward to January 2023 when the movie was once more included in the streamer’s sizzle reel of upcoming original movies.

For as early as that teaser trailer was, the official trailer (8m YouTube plays) wasn’t released until just this past April, only a month before the scheduled release date. This time we start in the past and see how The Mother’s baby was taken from her at birth, told the best way to protect it was to stay away. Years later the girl is targeted by the same bad people The Mother honked off long ago and she has to jump back into action to save the daughter who doesn’t know her at all and teach her to survive.

A poster was released at the same time that shares the title and release date with a photo of The Mother in a hooded parka, a rifle draped on her back and ready for action.

In a short post on Netflix’s Tudum site, Caro shared how Lopez’s dance training helped her dive right into the stunt work needed for the film. That coincided with a behind-the-scenes featurette on the story and how Lopez worked hard to embody the character she plays.

Lopez appeared in a silly video filled with messages from fans via social media about how they want her to be their mom. She also did one of those challenges to see if she could identify which of her earlier movies a quote came from.

She and Paez appeared on “Today” to talk about the movie and the bond they formed while filming and by herself on “The View” to talk about the stunt training and action sequences as well as the story of the film.

While everyone involved turned out for the L.A. red carpet premiere earlier this week the focus of course was on Lopez and husband Ben Affleck.


The campaign is fine, with the scale similar to other marketing pushes from Netflix for their feature films. And the story is communicated effectively if not in an overly-compelling manner. But it also relies *heavily* on simply selling Lopez as the main attraction, sometimes at the expense of that story or other elements more specific to the movie.