×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Wes Anderson’s ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’: 5 Ways Marketing Was Key

Sometimes it pays not to follow the recipe. Marketing brainstorms have helped Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” grow impressive box office, with different strategies building on each other like the layers of a Dobos torte. Fox Searchlight co-toppers Steve Gilula and Nancy Utley credit the filmmaker’s unique visual style and meticulous attention to detail. “ ‘Budapest’ allows you to immerse yourself in a completely different world,” Utley tells Variety, noting five elements that have made the film a hit.

1) Anderson’s World
The director’s eye for detail is a merchandiser’s dream. “Budapest” features a collection on eBay, a partnership initiated by actor and frequent Anderson collaborator Waris Ahluwalia (whose own fashion label is House of Waris). The film’s production designer Adam Stockhausen also curated an art collection inspired by the film. Auction items range from bow ties and moustache wax to promotional materials from the pic. Some are selling out, including copies of “The Society of the Crossed Keys,” Anderson’s book of selections from the writings of Stefan Zweig, which inspired the film.

2) Unique Promotions
Fox Searchlight is touring a large-scale model of the hotel in theaters from Hollywood to Berlin. And U.K.-based Secret Cinema, a monthly gathering that combines live performances involving audience participation, recently screened “Budapest” instead of its usual classic fare. The film already has grossed nearly $15 million in Blighty.

3) Viral Chow
Fox Searchlight created instructional featurettes detailing how to create baked goods inspired by the film’s colorful Mendl’s pastries. The videos went viral as fans sent back footage of their creations, which Searchlight used in TV spots on cooking networks. The distrib shot eight marketing shorts, including a profile of the film’s central character, M. Gustave, played by Ralph Fiennes.

4)Young Moonrisers
Thanks to the success of 2012’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” Gilula says Anderson’s fans have gotten significantly younger. “He’s attracted a whole new generation, some of whom weren’t even born when ‘Royal Tenenbaums’ (2001) and ‘Bottle Rocket’ (1996) were released,” the exec notes.

5) Universal Access
Cool marketing would mean little if the film itself were poorly received. However, “Budapest” has generated a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes — behind only Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Critics have called “Budapest” his most accessible film. “We don’t see the ceiling yet,” Gilula says.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Jimmy Stewart Lisa Lu

    New Book ‘Hollywood Chinese’ Dives Into Forgotten History

    Growing up in San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood during the 1960s, Chinese American filmmaker and author Arthur Dong saw plenty of people who looked like him in his community. But on-screen at the movies was a different story: Portrayals of Asian people leaned heavily into stereotypes or, worse, were outright offensive and with many roles played [...]

  • Waltz For Monica

    Swedish Publishing Icon Inspires Project by 'Waltz for Monica' Screenwriter

    Peter Birro, the successful Swedish screenwriter of “438 Days” and “Waltz for Monica,” has partnered with prominent journalist and producer Christina Birro to develop the screenplay for “Elda & Amelia,” a story inspired by the life and career of publishing executive and businesswoman Amelia Adamo and her mother. Naima Abed and Emilie Georges, whose production [...]

  • CBS HEADQUARTERS

    CBS-Viacom Merger Details Revealed, Shares to Trade on Nasdaq

    Negotiations between CBS and Viacom went down to the wire on the day the long-gestating transaction was finally sealed on Aug. 13. CBS Corp. and Viacom revealed the timeline of the merger talks in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Thursday that runs more than 650 pages. Also Thursday, CBS and Viacom said the shares [...]

  • The Jesus Rolls

    Rome Film Review: 'The Jesus Rolls'

    The Jesus lives! The oddball bowling obsessive immortalized by John Turturro in “The Big Lebowski” resurfaces two decades later in “The Jesus Rolls,” a road movie every bit as eccentric as the character he played in the 1998 cult favorite. In a way, the “Lebowski” connection does a disservice to Turturro’s film — an in-spirit [...]

  • Abominable

    Malaysia Orders Cuts to 'Abominable' Over Controversial Map Scene

    Malaysia has ordered cuts to the U.S.-Chinese animated feature “Abominable,” which includes a scene involving a map that portrays China’s contested territorial claims in the South China Sea. The map scene has already caused the film to be banned in Vietnam. The Philippines’ foreign minister, Teodoro Locsin, called this week for “Abominable” to be boycotted, [...]

  • Kung Fu Panda 3

    Universal's Beijing Resort to Partner With Alibaba on Digitization

    Amid fierce controversy about the leverage China has over U.S. entertainment firms with significant mainland operations, Universal Beijing Resort and Alibaba announced a strategic partnership Thursday to digitize the forthcoming theme park in China’s capital. Facial recognition and the use of big data will be the norm at the new resort, which will use an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content