When Bad Santa 2 hits theaters this week, it will join a long list of releases this year that are sequels to movies made before Steve Jobs introduced the iPod. Or before Steve Jobs even returned to Apple in 1997. So far in 2016, we've seen Independence Day, Bridget Jones' Diary, Zoolander and others all received much-delayed new installments, though audience response to them varied greatly. 2003's Bad Santa introduced us to Willie, a foul-mouthed drunk conman, played by Billy Bob Thornton, who dresses up as Santa Claus to get inside department stores when they're flush with cash during the holiday season. There are complications and problems, many of which he causes himself, and whatever the opposite of "heartwarming, inspirational holiday story" is, that was it. Now, 13 years later, Willie and his compatriot Marcus (Tony Cox) are back for more Christmas thievery, this time including Willie's mother, played by Kathy Bates. Instead of a department store (possibly a reflection of how the retail landscape is no longer the golden goose it was over a decade ago), the crooks have their eye set on a charity in Chicago, though all the characters are still as loathsome as they were when we first met them.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategy consultant in the Chicago suburbs. You can find him at ChrisThilk.com, where he shares his thoughts on content marketing, media and movie marketing.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an expansion of the Harry Potter world, one that acts as a prequel to the book and film franchise we already know and mostly love, though we should talk about Chamber of Secrets at some point. More pragmatically, it's an opportunity for Warner Bros. to keep selling us movies based on J.K. Rowling's work now that the Potter books that served as the source material are done. One of the key persistent components of the Fantastic Beasts marketing campaign has been its frequent intonation of this being "From J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World," an attempt to draw the connection between this movie and those that have come before it. Without any characters carrying over from the previous stories, there needed to be some brand continuity, and the "Wizarding World" phrasing not only brings connotations of the earlier movies but also ties in nicely with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios. Franchise extensions like these and others are great ways for writers and directors to tell additional stories in universes they've already created. They're also a great way for studios to print some (presumably) easy money, even if the original stars are no longer available or interested in returning. There are three key ways that modern movie spin-offs have been presented to the audience, with each one tackling the question of brand continuity and audience recognition a bit differently.
Today, the American people go to the polls—at least, those who haven't already taken advantage of early voting—to vote for president and a host of other national, state and local leaders. This year's election cycle, which has been going on approximately forever, has been particularly contentious, as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have attacked each other in what has sometimes been reminiscent of The Batley Townswomens' Guild re-enacting the Battle of Pearl Harbor. To take our minds off the horrific and caustic nature of this year's political environment, we're looking today at the trailers for a number of fictional presentations of American electioneering. Some of these are straight-up satire, some are upbeat comedies, some are more dramatic. But considering not a single one involves discussion of email servers or the word "bigly," they're all, by default, more enjoyable than what we've been going through.
Pour out a 40 and loop the video repeatedly until you scroll away for Vine. Twitter announced last week that it's discontinuing the mobile app, which allowed people to shoot and instantly share short videos, but will maintain the app and website so the content won't disappear forever. You just won't be able to create new video or continue engaging with what's there.
When Fox was marketing X-Men Origins: Wolverine in the lead-up to its 2009 release (which went super well, as you'll remember), we were just a few years removed from the last X-Men team movie. Wolverine, as played by Hugh Jackman, was the breakout star of that series, in keeping with the character's overall popularity in the comics world. So it made sense that if the franchise were going to continue with a series of solo movies, Wolverine would kick things off. That movie, and 2013's The Wolverine, have been one of the mostly tonally inconsistent series in movies, at least in the modern era. So, with the trailer for Logan hitting the internet last week, it's a good time to look back and see how the feel of the franchise has shifted over the last seven years.
Here we are, about two months out from the release of a new Star Wars movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It's safe to assume at least a decent percentage of you are waiting anxiously to head to theaters and journey once more to a galaxy far, far away. But the marketing and advertising for the movie has faced, and will continue to face, some interesting challenges that haven't been in front of previous movies.
There's been a movement in two directions over the past few years in how movie trailers are edited and assembled. They've adapted to new media platforms and audience tastes to more effectively and efficiently sell movies to audiences, making sure to present a product that has maximum appeal, showing a movie that is absolutely worth … whatever the call to action is. That might be dropping $10 and three hours at the theater, it might be the cost of a VOD rental, it might be the decision to maintain or begin a Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription. Two bits of movie marketing from earlier this week show a couple of ways in which trailers are changing to get people's attention.
Earlier this week, Apple finally made iOS 10 available for everyone to download. A big part of the launch was a lot of new features for the iMessage app. But what really got people's attention (because the internet is less about functionality than about kitschy features) was that you can now add stickers to your iMessage conversations. Stickers, in case you're not 15 years old, are little graphics you can append to pictures you're sending to friends via iMessage. They're similar to the stickers you can now add to pictures on Twitter and in Snapchat filters, and are part of the trend of media personalization on social networks and messaging apps, meant to let people find new and interesting ways to express themselves by customizing their photos.
It's September, which means a few things: School is back in session. Squirrels are starting to hunt for and bury their winter food. We're all pulling hoodies out from the back of our closet. Pumpkin-spice has reemerged from its summer hibernation. And the summer movie season is officially in the rearview mirror.
When I saw Adweek was taking a look at how marketers and advertisers in various industries are using audio as part of the mix, I thought, "Great! There's plenty to talk about there when it comes to how movie studios do it." Yeah, not so much.