Why Marriott Wants to Make Short Films

Hotel group Marriott International’s film production arm is looking to ramp up global content including reality shows and drama series in Asia Pacific following the success of its short films.

Tony Chow, Asia Pacific director of creative and content marketing at Marriott Content Studio, said while short films were initially conceived as a marketing tool for the hotels, it’s hoped that such content can be sold to other platforms.

Since the launch of Marriott Content Studio in 2014, five short films have been produced. Following “Two Bellmen” and “Two Bellmen 2,” which were set in Los Angeles and Dubai respectively, a third installment will travel to Seoul. It stars Jessica Jung, former member of K-pop group Girls’ Generation and actor Ki Hong Lee (“The Maze Runner,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”.) It is scheduled to be released in late October on platforms including YouTube, and China’s Youku, as well as Marriott’s in-room channels.

Chow, who picked up a Micro Movie Award from CCTV in Guangzhou, China on August 20 for “Two Bellmen 2,” said that the group will offer hotel packages in Asia tied with the launch of the third installment of “Two Bellmen.” The third installment is about romance and family conflict — a common theme in Asian dramas — revolving around a wedding, which is a significant component of hotel businesses in the region. Chow said that with the soaring popularity of Korean dramas and K-pop in the region, it was logical to set the Asian installment of the series in Seoul. “Two Bellmen 3” – or “Two Bellmen Asia” – has given inspiration for future productions.

Marriott Content Studio also produced “French Kiss” in 2015 and “Business Unusual” this year. Both films had an average 5 million views and were featured at film festivals. “French Kiss” and “Two Bellmen” won silver awards at the 37th Annual Telly Awards this year.

“The shorts really brought in business,” Chow said. A hotel package tied in with the launch of romantic short “French Kiss” delivered revenue of some $500,000. The studio is now also looking at developing unscripted shows. David Beebe, head of Marriott Content Studio, said the studio wants to tap the group’s resources to produce unscripted shows set behind the scenes of new hotel openings. As Asia is a growth area for major hotel chains, the series is certain to include new Asian stories.

Marriott, headquartered in Maryland, U.S., has 19 brands and 4,500 properties in 88 countries. China this week became the final country to approve the proposed merger of the Marriott and Starwood chains. It had already received clearance in 40 other territories.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Rounds

    Sarajevo Film Review: 'Rounds'

    Five features (plus a scattering of documentaries) into his career, leading Bulgarian writer-director Stephan Komandarev has resisted cultivating a clear thematic or stylistic throughline to his oeuvre. Yet his latest, the overnight police patchwork “Rounds,” feels surprisingly close to quintessential, pulling as it does plot points, structural models and tonal switches from his previous films [...]

  • Travis Scott Surprises Fans With Netflix

    Travis Scott Surprises Fans With Netflix Documentary Reveal, Pop-Up in Houston

    Travis Scott just revealed his new Netflix documentary in the most organic way possible: a social media post to his 18.5 million followers on Instagram. The photo consisted of him holding a series of VHS tapes, which turns out to be the trailer for his forthcoming documentary on Netflix titled “Look Mom I Can Fly.” [...]

  • Overcomer

    Film Review: 'Overcomer'

    No matter the setting or circumstances, the solution to every dilemma found in Christian Evangelical films is getting closer to God. That certainly holds true with regards to “Overcomer,” the latest bit of bigscreen proselytizing by writer-director-star Alex Kendrick (“War Room,” “Courageous”). The story of a high school basketball coach who’s forced to take over [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Inside the Spider-Man Split: Finger-Pointing and Executive Endgames

    Spider-Man’s neighborhood has been decidedly unfriendly this week. A private and contentious battle over the onscreen future of the beloved Marvel superhero has spilled out into the public square over the past few days. After making nice for two wildly successful films, Sony Pictures, which holds the licensing rights to the Marvel character, will go [...]

  • Variety Announces 10 Actors to Watch

    Variety Announces 10 Actors to Watch for 2019

    Variety has announced its 10 Actors to Watch for 2019, an honor the publication has bestowed since 1998. Past honorees include many future Oscar winners and nominees, such as Mahershala Ali, Timothée Chalamet, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Brie Larson, Lupita Nyong’o and Melissa Leo. This year’s honorees will be feted in the Oct. 27 issue of [...]

  • August Maturo

    Film News Roundup: August Maturo to Star in Horror Movie 'Slapface'

    In today’s film news roundup, August Maturo gets a starring role and “Death of Me” and “Fatale” find homes. CASTING “Girl Meets World” star August Maturo has been cast as the lead character in the upcoming indie horror feature, “Slapface.” Maturo will play a boy who deals with the loss of his mother by creating [...]

  • Taron Egerton, Lucy Boynton to Star

    Taron Egerton, Lucy Boynton to Star in Virtual Reality Project 'Glimpse'

    Taron Egerton and Lucy Boynton will star in “Glimpse,” a new virtual reality experience that will be unveiled at the Venice Film Festival. Written and directed by Benjamin Cleary and VR creator Michael O’Connor, “Glimpse” will be entered in the Venice Virtual Reality Interactive showcase. It’s set in the imaginative mind of a heartbroken panda, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content