Movie Marketing Madness: Salvation Boulevard

Any time an idea becomes too deeply entrenched in someone’s mind that they stop listening to outside opinions things have the potential to become dangerous. We can all disagree about various topics or approaches but the conversation hopefully always remains civil and friendly. If we lose that then bad things start happening.

The new movie Salvation Boulevard, based on a book of the same name, is about just such a rivalry that goes south. Pastor Dan Day (Pierce Brosnan) is a revivalist preacher with a fiercely loyal following of people who believe he can do no wrong. In the press his chief rival is Dr. Paul Blaylock (Ed Harris), a scientist who is constantly sparring with Day over the two’s contrary world views. One day their friendly competition goes a bit far and, ultimately, complicates the life of Carl (Greg Kinnear), one of Day’s congregation who knows the bad things Day has done but who doesn’t exactly find a receptive audience in the people from the church.

The Posters

The first poster for the movie was kind of corny and ridiculous. A big set of praying hands are holding Kinnear in their grasp, a shocked expression Photoshopped on his face. Those hands are surrounded by a ring of faces of the other major cast members while the copy “Faith alone doesn’t cut it anymore” manages to be both unfunny AND blasphemous, a nice trick to pull off.

The Trailers

The first trailer starts out by introducing us to Carl, who’s held up as a shining example of Pastor Dan’s teachings. The both of them go to visit Blaylock, who wants to co-write a book that contrasts their world views. But then Dan shoots Blaylock, later blaming Carl for what he says was an accidental shooting. Carl of course denies it and points the finger at Dan but everyone around him, from his own wife to his best friend, doesn’t believe him, insisting that he needs to just confess what he did.

It’s pretty funny, obviously playing the Pastor Dan character for laughs and Brosnan seems to go all in on the portrayal, which is good. I’m kind of liking the vibe this trailer gives off, which is tongue-in-cheek to an extreme, but am unsure how that’s going to play for the entire feature length.

Online

Coming from IFC Films means the official website for the movie isn’t all that robust. Just the poster, a Photo Gallery, the Trailer and some Clips along with a cast list and plot descriptions.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing that I’ve been exposed to.

Media and Publicity

The movie debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival as one of a handful that looked at different forms of faith (Los Angeles Times, 1/27/11), a debut that was good enough to warrant a speedy pickup for distribution by IFC Films and Sony (Hollywood Reporter, 1/27/11).

That’s about it, though.

Overall

Certainly nothing big and the expectations can’t be very great but it’s not bad. There’s nothing here that comes off as super inventive and it’s not going to light the world on fire but it might connect with an on-demand audience who’s looking to check out an irreverent take on the televangelist concept.