You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Marketing summit: Rules of ‘engagement’

Relationships with auds a powerful, if poorly understood, tool

Theatrical marketing is at a time of unprecedented one-on-one access to moviegoers — but exactly how to take advantage of that feedback is not entirely certain from one film to the next, Hollywood’s top marketing minds agreed Wednesday at Variety’s Film Marketing Summit.

And while plenty has been said about the importance of marketing on multiple platforms, simply ticking off all the boxes is not enough.

“Online is important, social media is important — it’s all important,” said Josh Greenstein, chief marketing officer at Paramount. “But it’s more important how it all works together, what the message is, what the timing is.”

The purpose of that message, of course, is to get the public into theaters — bizzers agreed that opening box-office weekend is still what keeps them up at night.

“If you’re not successful on the opening weekend and in that initial campaign, you don’t usually have the opportunity for that bigger revenue success,” said Anne Globe, worldwide head of marketing at consumer products at DreamWorks Animation.

Strategies for initial marketing campaigns often can rely on the type of filmmaker a marketing team works with. Tony Sella, chief creative officer and prexy of domestic theatrical marketing at Fox,remarked that it’s a “one in a million” chance to find a helmer like Ridley Scott, who can point out promotional opportunities and understands marketing because of an extensive background shooting ads. Relativity Media marketing prexy Terry Curtin concurred, adding that “it’s great to find people who are willing to shoot additional content” for infotainment on multimedia platforms.

But while recognizing the benefits of such strategies, Greenstein advised that keeping marketing separate from the filmmaking process might be a wiser choice for some productions, especially those featuring filmmakers of the caliber of Martin Scorsese or Robert Zemeckis.

Marketing can become even trickier with a movie that lacks an easily packaged, high-concept angle. In this case, Stephen Bruno, prexy of marketing at the Weinstein Company, pointed to his experience in describing the challenge of marketing such nuanced pics, noting that marketers have to inject the pic into the zeitgeist so people have a fear of missing it.

Sella suggested more extreme tactic as a last option: Tweaking the angle of the marketing to sell the pic, even if it ends up distorting the representation of the film itself.

“My take with filmmakers is that we’ve gotta try to fill that theater up so that people experience this film you’ve made,” Sella said. “We’ll do it however we need to do it.”

Confab, held in association with Stradella Road, took place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Los Angeles.

More Film

  • Murder Mystery

    Netflix Reveals Record-Breaking Stats for Sandler-Aniston 'Murder Mystery' Flick

    “Murder Mystery,” the latest Adam Sandler film to debut on Netflix, broke viewing records on the streaming service, the company revealed Tuesday. The film, which is co-headlined by Jennifer Aniston, was seen by close to 30.9 million households in its first 3 days, according to a tweet sent out Tuesday afternoon. 🚨ADAM SANDLER AND JENNIFER [...]

  • Agents Accuse Writers Guild of Refusing

    Writers Guild 'Plans to Respond' to Agents' Proposal as Frustration Mounts

    In a sign of increasing frustration, Hollywood agents have accused the Writers Guild of America of foot-dragging in the bitter two-month dispute. “It has become clear as more days pass that the Guild is not interested in making a deal,” said the negotiating committee for the agents in statement issued Tuesday. “Over the past year, [...]

  • Jermaine Fowler arrives at the 69th

    Jermaine Fowler to Co-Star With Eddie Murphy in 'Coming 2 America' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jermaine Fowler is set to play one of the leads opposite Eddie Murphy in Paramount’s sequel “Coming 2 America,” sources tell Variety. “Hustle & Flow” helmer Craig Brewer is on board to direct the pic with the studio planning an August 7, 2020 release. Plot details of “Coming 2 America” are unknown, as are the [...]

  • Henry Golding attends the Fragrance Foundation

    Henry Golding Starts Long House Shingle With 'Inheritance,' 'Harrington's Greatest Hits'

    “Crazy Rich Asians” star Henry Golding has started Long House Productions in partnership with China’s Starlight Cultural Entertainment Group with two features in the works. Golding’s first feature under the Long House banner is action adventure “The Inheritance,” based on an original story idea by Alistair Hudson and Golding. Hudson is writing the script for [...]

  • Max Landis Entertainment Weekly party, Comic-Con

    Max Landis Accused of Rape, Assault and Psychological Abuse

    Screenwriter Max Landis is facing allegations of sexual abuse and psychological manipulation from eight women who told their stories to the Daily Beast. Two of the women spoke on the record, and another five were identified by pseudonyms. An eighth women confirmed that she filed a police complaint against Landis in 2008, in which she [...]

  • Michael Fassbender'X-Men: Dark Phoenix' film premiere,

    Michael Fassbender to Produce, Star in Lionsgate Spy Thriller 'Malko'

    Michael Fassbender will produce and star in the Lionsgate spy thriller “Malko,” based on Gerard de Villiers’ S.A.S. series, with the studio planning to launch a franchise with the project. Eric Warren Singer, who was nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay for “American Hustle,” will write the screenplay. Joe Drake, chairman of [...]

  • American Film Institute Hires Susan Ruskin

    Susan Ruskin Appointed AFI Conservatory Dean

    The American Film Institute has named producer and educator Susan Ruskin as dean of the AFI Conservatory, where she will lead AFI’s graduate film-training program. Ruskin, who will also carry the title of executive VP, will report directly to Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO, the organization announced Tuesday. She replaces producer Richard Gladstein, who left [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content