Movie Marketing Madness: Midnight in Paris

When someone begins acting strangely out of character it’s easy to suspect the worst. Certainly in the movies anytime someone starts going out in the evenings with some vague explanation of where they’re heading the spouse or significant other will begin to suspect that person is having an affair or engaging in some sort of shady activity. About half the time, then, the eventual explanation is that they’re taking acting classes, are taking classes to convert to their loved one’s religion or is some sort of other wonderful surprise. The other half of the time Sonny comes and beats the snot out of them for treating his sister like garbage.

The new movie from acclaimed filmmaker Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris, is about how some unexplained outings begin to come between an engaged couple. Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) are accompanying her parents on a trip to Paris. While there they run into some casual acquaintances, including Paul (Michael Sheen) that Gil’s not to keen on spending time with. So he goes off walking through the city at night, only to happen upon a magical part of the city that transports him back in time to the era of flappers and underground jazz clubs, something he enjoys so much he begins to focus on visiting it – specifically the lovely Adrienne (Marion Cotillard) – even during the day.

The Posters

The first poster for the movie was pretty simple but suitably artistic, showing Vaughn walking along a Parisian river. But the image behind him wasn’t just a photo of the city but was instead a slightly modified version of Van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night.” You know the one. You or your roommate probably had it hanging in your dorm room. So it’s goal is seemingly to establish both the location and the idea of Vaughn’s character as some sort of lone artistic wolf, which it does pretty well.

The Trailers

The movie’s trailer starts out by introducing us to both the main characters and the setting. We see Wilson and McAdams strolling through Paris, which they’re visiting with her parents. They run into another couple they know, people she likes but which he can’t stand. So he decides to take his own little constitutionals at night and discovers a whole other side of Paris filled with dancing, music and unbridled romance. He seems to become intrigued with one young woman and soon begins sneaking off on his own every night to revisit this other world, soon raising the suspicions of his fiancee and future in-laws.

It’s unmistakably Allen on display here, something that’s apparent in the rhythms of the dialogue and even the theme of being completely in love with a city, something he revisits often in his movies. The combination of Wilson and McAdams seems interesting and for fans of the writer/director this will probably remind them of some of his earlier works, just transplanted to Paris.

Online

The official website starts playing the trailer after it loads and you can close it and then enter the site proper.

The “Synopsis” that’s up first just has a brief one-paragraph write-up of the story. If you want more information the notes in the “Production” section give much more background into that story and all the players and characters in it.

Both “The Cast” and “Fllmmakers” sections give backgrounds and varying levels of histories about the folks involved in the making of the movie.

“The Trailer” has the trailer, of course, and the “Gallery” has 15 stills from the movie.

The “Reviews” section is still blank despite there already being some reviews that have been posted while “Links” has links to the IMDb profiles of the talent involved.

The movie’s Facebook page has updates on new marketing materials, cast publicity, photos and videos and more.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

I think there may have been a bit of online advertising done but that’s about it. I didn’t see nor have I heard of any TV spots being run or anything else along these lines.

Media and Publicity

The first bit of publicity and news for the movie came when it was announced that Sony Classics had picked up distribution for the movie. Shortly after that the movie was slated to make its debut at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival (Hollywood Reporter, 2/2/11) where it would open the festival as a first-ever screening for both professionals and the public and where it would be greeted with pretty favorable reactions as some people hailed it as his most assured and fully-featured movie in a decade or more.

There were also features on Wilson and how this role allowed him to stretch a bit (USA Today, 5/16/11) at the behest of Allen. There were surprisingly few career reassessments of Allen himself, though, despite this usually being a staple of the press since it’s easy to dig up whatever someone wrote last year and just update it with the new movie’s title.

Overall

The campaigns for Woody Allen’s movies tend to not work too hard, kind of like the movies themselves. They’re made primarily for fans of his previous movies and film critics, with any additional folks more or less a bonus.

That being said there’s a lot to like here. The poster is quite attractive and the trailer shows a nice, bubbly and entertaining movie here that should bring in some people who are fans of either Wilson or McAdams and romantic comedies in general. It’s funny and interesting while not betraying too much of the movie’s actual plot.

PICKING UP THE SPARE

  • 07/07/11 – Patrick Goldstein at the LAT looks at some specifics about how the studio appealed to mainstream moviegoers to build some anticipation outside of Allen’s usual audiences.
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