There’s finally a feature profile of Michelle Pfieffer that includes this movie as one of a few recent or upcoming projects marking a return to regular work for one of the great actors of her generation.
The Florida Project
Now that it’s in theaters I’m seeing a lot more online advertising for the movie that uses the key art to drive ticket sales.
War For The Planet Of The Apes
TV spots like this one have highlighted the drama and tension in the story as the movie comes to home video.
Kevin Spacey’s inspirational speech about being brazen and bold with a bank robbery scheme is used in a TV spot promoting the digital home video release of the movie, which is nice because it basically describes the movie as well.
The Emoji Movie
A commercial promoting the movie’s home video release has a Halloween theme, framing it as a “spook-tacular” good time. A bit of a stretch, but what are you going to do?
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Disney World and Disneyland were both announced as the home for Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, a “hyper-reality” experience set during the time of the early Rebellion, allowing park visitors to strap on gear and work with K-2SO to complete a mission. You can view the trailer here.
Sofia Coppola has found it necessary to once more respond at length to critics who have taken issue with her decision to excise black characters from the story. You can take issue with it, but she made a conscious decision based on her experience and ability to tell a story, so this wasn’t done thoughtlessly or ignorantly.
War For The Planet Of The Apes
Steve Zahn didn’t get a ton of focus in the pre-release press but this interview goes deeper with him about his first motion capture experience, how he tried to get to the essence of Bad Ape and more.
First, an admission: When I wrote my marketing recap for War For The Planet Of The Apes I had not only not seen that movie (obviously since it wasn’t out yet) but Rise and Dawn, the previous two entries in this series, as well. I’ve since corrected that omission and was able to see War in the context of the entire story.
The story, as Nolan alluded to in his review, has the apes reluctantly facing the final confrontation with the soldiers representing the dwindling human population. The ALZ-113 virus inadvertently unleaded in Rise has wiped out 90% of humanity and the army lead by The Colonel (Woody Harrelson) is mad as hell about that. Caesar (Andy Serkis) sets out to confront him and end the battle once and for all and save the super-intelligent apes who just want to live peacefully. Things aren’t so simple, of course, and the finale isn’t what anyone involved expects.
When I recapped the marketing for the movie last week I felt the primary message was the all-out war that erupts between the two parties. I, to quote Obi-Wan, was wrong.
Nolan already talked about how emotionally heavy the story was, but I need to reiterate that point since it largely took me by surprise. Having just watched Rise and Dawn nearly back-to-back and within days of eventually watching War, I thought I was ready for how things would be brought to their conclusion. I could see the character arcs that had been established and was braced for them to reach their endpoint.
While I can’t say I was surprised by how things ended up and where the characters, particularly Caesar since we’d been following him since Rise, I was no less moved. All of the characters tugged on my heartstrings more than a little. I was emotionally invested in the fate of Caesar’s trusted advisors Maurice and Rocket. I was moved by the plight of Nova, the young mute girl the apes discover on their travels and begin to protect. Most of all, I felt the weight of Caesar’s burden of leadership, with the entire ape community counting on his judgement to guide them toward the future.
That last point is 100% because of the performance of Serkis. While the actor’s true face is never seen, it’s his performance that conveys all of Caesar’s worries and cares. We see what the ape leader is thinking and what factors he’s weighing because they come through in the performance, making their way from Serkis’ face through the camera, digital animators and others. It’s actually astounding what’s accomplished here and it will be a shame when Serkis is once again overlooked when it comes time for awards season.
Director Matt Reeves also deserves a fair amount of the credit. While the marketing may have focused on the explosions and gun battles that ensue between the human and ape armies, it’s the smaller moments that carry the bulk of the storytelling forward. Reeves handles both deftly, bringing an approach that’s both solidly workmanlike and unexpectedly artistic to a franchise finale. That’s even more so than he already did in Dawn, which carried the burden of being the middle of the story but which was no less satisfying in and of itself.
Much like Patty Jenkins did with Wonder Woman, Reeves has found a way to bring emotional artistry to what could have easily been yet another bloated blockbuster just there to keep the money rolling in. Between his directorial skills and Serkis’ incredible performance as the core of the story, War For The Planet Of The Apes is more well-crafted than a summer popcorn flick has any right to be. While the marketing that sold it may have been a little action heavy, don’t let that dissuade you from a movie that satisfies on many levels.
War for the Planet of the Apes (directed by Matt Reeves) is the third installment in the current Planet of the Apes series, and is without a doubt the one of the best Planet of the Apes movies to date.
What War for the Planet of the Apes does very well is propelling the story forward while using very minimal dialogue. With a few minor exceptions, the only main characters that actually speak are Caesar (played by the amazing Andy Serkis), the Colonel (played by Woody Harrelson), and Bad Ape (played by Steve Zahn). The movie feels interesting to watch because the viewer doesn’t spend so much time focusing on dialogue, they are mostly watching the action and excitement on screen. That said, what sets this Apes movie apart from all the other films in the series is not the action; it’s the heart.
While other Apes movies mostly rely on the action happening on screen, what War does is examine the emotions behind the actions on screen. When the actual war begins in the third act of the film, you feel the strong emotions behind Caesar’s actions and his motives. You feel almost empathy for the Colonel, and despite him being the “big bad” of the movie, you strongly feel the emotional reasoning behind his actions. There are many emotional scenes involving Nova, the little girl the Apes find early in the story, and Reeves does a fantastic job of using the camera to enhance the emotions captured on screen. Reeves obviously knows how to work the camera to produce interesting, beautiful looking shots that capture what’s happening in a way that is superior to other filmmakers.
What War for the Planet of the Apes truly excels at is playing high on the audience’s emotions, and using those emotions coupled with minimal dialogue to propel the story forward.
War for the Planet of the Apes is in theaters now and is rated PG-13.
The conflict that’s been building over the course of two previous movies comes to a head in this week’s War For The Planet Of The Apes. Up to now the story has followed the rise of the apes thanks to a virus that made them more intelligent but which killed vast swaths of the human population. Humans have fought for their survival before but now the final battle for possession of the planet is coming.
Caesar (motion-captured by Andy Serkis) is still leading the ape population, wanting peace with the human survivors but also ready for the war many, both ape and human, seem to want. The humans for their part have rallied an army around the charismatic Colonel (Woody Harrelson), a ruthless leader who will accept nothing less than the complete elimination of the apes. Will peace prevail or will it all end in bloodshed? That’s the core question that drives the story.
The first poster shows just how far the series and its characters have come over the years. It shows Caesar, a deadly serious expression on his face and a rifle slung across his back, riding a horse through the snow. “WAR” is the only copy on the one-sheet outside of the release date.
A second poster shows Caesar staring at the camera in a pose we know from a recent trailer is him riding horseback. Just behind him, looking out over his shoulder, is the young girl we saw in that trailer. The copy tells us this is “For freedom. For family. For the planet.” which tells us exactly what the stakes are in this final chapter of the trilogy. Another just shows Nova, the girl, in a colorful field, an ape’s hand putting a small flower in her hair. That’s designed to show that humans and apes can live together, a contrast to the attitude shown through much of the rest of the campaign.
The next poster is solely about the conflict between the two armies. We see the backs of the heads of the human soldiers, many of whom are touting their ape killing attitude or experience on the helmets that are visible here, a few ape collaborators mixed in as well. The ape army is approaching them on foot and climbing over the ramparts, a few emissaries out in front to, it’s assumed, try to broker peace.
A final poster used the same image of Caesar on horseback from the first “WAR” poster, but adds Nova peeking out from in back of him. The copy on this one makes it clear the story is wrapping up in dramatic fashion by prompting the audience to “Witness the end.”
The first trailer starts off with two apes riding along the beach, a human girl on one of their backs. Caesar narrates that he didn’t want, nor did he start, the war with the humans. Various scenes of fighting are followed by a shot of The Colonel overusing his troops and it’s clear he’s the primary adversary for the apes in this story. The two armies go up against each other in a number of ways as he takes over the narration, intoning that if the humans don’t win this fight, it will be a planet of apes.
Not bad. The stakes of the story are laid out pretty clearly here, primarily the conflict between the apes and the last of humanity, now heavily militarized. There’s surely lots more story in the movie itself but this gets the general premise – that it’s time for the final showdown – pretty clear.
A second trailer starts with new footage but narration from the first movies to show how far things have come. Caesar confronts a group of captured soldier before we see some of the other gorillas and then the human army that’s going to make one last attack to save their world. It’s clear a confrontation for survival is in the offing and the action ramps up from there that has both broad and personal stakes.
The final trailer starts with apes breaking into a human home, guns drawn. They take a child they find there, more out of mercy than to take a hostage. We quickly see that the conflict between men and apes is reaching its conclusion, with collaborators and sympathizers for the enemy on both sides. Apes don’t want to fight but the men do and won’t stop until everyone else is dead.
While there are some elements of a philosophical story here about the right and wrong use of violence it’s very clearly being sold as a straightforward action movie in this trailer. It’s all about the explosions and the gunplay and the big, macho speeches being given.
One more trailer acts as a “Previously on…” recap of the previous two movies and the events that have lead to all-out war.
Online and Social
The official website gets the standard Fox template, with a banner at the top that uses a cropped version of the key art of Caesar and Nova. There are prompts just below that banner to watch the trailer, connect with the movie on Facebook or Twitter and to get tickets.
Scroll down and you’re greeted with “Videos” which is where you can watch all the trailers, some featurettes and other clips. The “About” section has a synopsis that sets up the mounting conflict and lists the cast and primary crew.
The “Featured Content” section has a few interesting links. First, there’s a prompt to buy tickets to a special triple feature select theaters hosted this past Wednesday that included all three of the current Apes movies. Next is a link to buy the new Funko POP! figures based on characters from this movie. Finally, there’s a link to the Planet of the Apes hub that will tell you everything you need to know about the franchise, be it on film, in comics or elsewhere.
There are a half-dozen stills in the “Gallery” you can download. “Partners” lists the few companies that have signed on as promotional partners.
The site finishes up with a call to action to sign up for email updates about Fox movies and a gallery of embedded updates from the movie’s social media accounts, including Instagram.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
TV spots like this took on the same tone as the final trailer, with a little bit of hot take-esque philosophy and ethics wrapped up in an action movie that pits apes against humans. More commercials would follow that took varying approaches, selling it as a very small-scale story of compassion or a very large-scale story of all-out warfare.
Promotional partner companies for the movie included:
The Jane Goodall Institute, with which Fox partnered to help in that organization’s chimpanzee rescue and refuge programs. A TV spot accompanied that effort.
Chase Pay, which offered a buy-one-get-one deal when you purchased tickets through Atom Tickets, the service that encourages group movie outings.
T-Mobile, which also worked with Atom Tickets to give its customers $4 tickets for opening weekend.
Red Robin, which offered a free movie ticket when you purchased a $25 movie-branded gift card.
FYE, though details aren’t readily available. Presumably, the retailer had movie merchandise it was promoting.
Online ads, as well as outdoor billboards and other signage, used the key art of Caesar’s face in close-up while social advertising helped promote the trailers as they were released.
Media and Publicity
One of the first bits of publicity came when the studio launched a contest to give a lucky winner a walk-on role, with the caveat being that they would become an ape and therefore not have their face seen on-screen. Quite a while later the first story details came out at the same time the studio announced the movie would have a significant presence at the upcoming New York Comic-Con, with a “digital billboard” appearing just before that to set the stage for further announcements. That presence also included a panel where the cast and crew talked about the movie, what they have in mind for the future and more.
Further stills and other information trickled out over time, including the fact that the young girl seen in the trailer shares a name with a character from the classic series. Later on, Reeves would talk about what films and styles he was trying to ape (sorry) to create the look, feel and tone of this entry.
As with many recent major releases from this and other studios, Fox announced a virtual reality experience tied to the movie.
Once more Serkis’ motion-capture work for Caesar spurred conversation about what exactly constitutes an awards-worthy performance, and rightfully so. That feature also talked about his career as a whole and the work he does for the motion-capture field as a whole, which is substantive.
Members of the cast also made the talk show rounds in the weeks leading up to release. Harrelson did his share of that, though too often the conversation wound up being less about this movie than his role in the upcoming Han Solo movie that’s had some notable upset recently.
The primary message of the campaign here is that all-out war has finally come to the conflict between man and ape. The disease has taken its toll, the vaccine has made apes incredibly intelligent and the two alpha races are going to play one final game for control of the world. That’s hammered home time and again in the trailers and TV spots as well as through much of the poster component.
There’s also a strong element of compassion, though. Much of that revolves around the girl Nova and the way she’s found and eventually protected by some of the apes. While it’s a small part of the campaign it seems like the kind of thing that could play an outsized role in the movie itself.
Mostly, though, Fox wants audiences to turn out to see the final chapter, and that’s very much how it’s being sold. It all ends here, we’re told in various ways and in various components of the campaign, so if you’ve enjoyed the lead up to this you won’t want to miss the conclusion. Let’s see if that’s enough to catapult it over Spider-Man: Homecoming’s second week.
There’s a new trailer for Terminator 2: Judgement Day to promote the movie’s upcoming 3D rerelease in theaters.
A new 60-second trailer for Dunkirk amps up the tension through a cool use of sound and cuts in the film. The movie is also getting its own VR experience, which is unusual for a non-superhero/sci-fi flick, and that has a trailer.
One more trailer for War For The Planet of the Apes acts as a “previously on…” recap of the previous two movies and the events that have lead to all-out war.
The details on which studios are bringing which movies to San Diego Comic-Con to reach that audience have emerged. Some interesting choices here.
The first trailer for Icarus, Netflix’s new documentary about Russian Olympic doping, is really powerful. Can you imagine if a system this devoted to cheating set their mind toward, I don’t know, American politics? Yikes.
Belle de Jour is turning 50 and getting a big 4K theatrical release, with a new trailer promoting that event that’s amazing. (via IndieWire)
I don’t get to watch too many of them but I love documentaries about niche subcultures, so I dug the trailer for California Typewriter about enthusiasts of the technology.
Fox Searchlight put out a fun “lyric video” to promote its rap culture movie Patti Cake$.