Bumblebee – Marketing Recap

You can read my full recap of the marketing of Bumblebee at The Hollywood Reporter.

To sell the movie Paramount has focused not only on the story of the bond between Charlie and Bumblebee but also on how, unlike the previous movies, this one features the classic 80s looks of the Robots in Disguise. Here’s how the campaign was rolled out.

Online and Social

Aside from the usual collection of trailers, synopses and other information, the movie’s official website sports details on the promotional partner companies that signed up with Paramount. There’s also a section for “AR Coloring,” offering pages that are offered with the Quiver app, allowing people to virtually color some pictures featuring movie characters as well as a side-scrolling game to play. In the upper right there are links to the movie’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter profiles.

Media and Publicity

EW offered the first still from the film, which provided both a look at Steinfeld and the titular Transformer in a vehicle form that will seem much more familiar to those of us of a certain age.

The release of the first trailer, which offered more insights into how the movie would take us back to the 80s, prompted speculation that the jump backward could signal Paramount’s attempt to use this as a way to reboot this franchise and launch their Hasbro-based shared universe that would bring in other toy brands from the Reagan Era. Despite what it looked like in the trailer, the Decepticon jet shown briefly is *not* Starscream but Blitzwing, according to comments by the director at San Diego Comic-Con. I am disappoint.

Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura was interviewed about this movie and the future of the franchise in general, addressing how the last Transformers film necessitated shaking things up a bit, how the return to the 80s could offer a wealth of new creative potential to tap into and more.

Ahead of its SDCC appearance, a first look at two new Decepticons – Shatter and Dropkick – was offered in Entertainment Weekly’s convention-centric issue.

Screenwriter Christina Hodson was interviewed about why he wanted to tell this story and in this way, focusing on how a woman writing a major studio tentpole release like this is fairly unusual.

Cena appeared on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” to talk up the movie and then later on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and then “Late Night.” Steinfeld performed her new song for the movie on “The Tonight Show.”

Knight was interviewed about how he didn’t believe the call he received to direct the movie was serious but how he took on the job with gusto once it was his.

Overall

I will simply state that this sequence from the second trailer alone is reason enough to see the movie.

bumblebee soundwave

Picking Up the Spare

Seinfeld got a nice profile about her moving out of other genres and into action films. Screenwriter Christina Hodson was also interviewed about her role in taking on the story.

Bond, Transformers and More Movie News From Last Week

Paramount made some scheduling updates and changes, including removing the…whatever number Transformers movie it would be from the calendar. That’s lead to some speculation the studio could be getting ready to reboot the franchise with a new approach, presumably one that’s less Michael Bay-ish. Might also have something to do with whatever it has planned for its Hasbro-based series of films, which includes properties like G.I. Joe, MASK and others. F Gary Gary recently signed on to direct the latter.

Warner Bros. also did some shuffling, including pushing a Six Billion Dollar Man adaptation out a year and moving a Godzilla sequel up by a couple months. Also in there is a sequel to The Shining that I can’t believe anyone thinks is a good idea.

James Mangold, who has successfully helmed the last couple emotionally-resonant Wolverine movies, is reportedly on-board to direct a Boba Fett movie as part of the Star Wars “story” series as well as to be the next person fired because his creative vision doesn’t mesh with the franchise.

Netflix apparently loved the buzz that came from working with director Dee Rees on Mudbound and has signed on to finance and distribute her next movie, which is good news.

While it’s great that the next Bond movie has been dated and assigned a director – Danny Boyle – it’s a bit surprising that it will be coming from MGM and Annapurna, which are working together on distribution. I thought for sure the rights, which Sony held recently but which were up for grabs following Spectre, would be snapped up by Apple in an attempt to add original movies to its television programming.

Deal memos are flying around Hollywood as movie studios seek partnerships and other arrangements that will save them the headache and expense of competing against TV studios for talent, more attracted now by the creativity and originality happening on the small screen.

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