I am one of the biggest Stephen King fans in the north-west of England and potentially in the city in Northern Ireland that I come from. Currently, I’m working my way through his entire catalogue of books, and I’m having a seriously good time doing it. As such, I’m keeping a close eye on all the adaptations of King’s works.
[Image credit: Instagram/@andy_muschietti]
One of the most talked about upcoming Stephen King adaptations is The Dark Tower, which is going to condense seven books into at least one film. It’s also set to feature the magical stylings of Idris Elba, the man was literally a god, so we can expect it to be a good film so far!
Send in the clown…
It’s fair to say that the most anticipated adaptation is, one of Mr King’s most famous novels and films. IT depicts a creature terrorising children through the manifestation of the super creepy Pennywise clown. The book itself is a million years long but well worth a read, while the previous movie is one of Tim Curry’s finest roles, but now the eponymous “they” are making an updated adaptation and have been teaser marketing the new film for the past seven years.
Basically, it was decided a while ago that IT is ready for a remake. As a content marketing agency, we know how influential a rebrand can be to a company’s message and seriously help boost a product’s intrigue, awareness and sales.
Wayyyyyy back in 2009, Warner Bros. announced that Dave Kajganich was going to be responsible for the new adaptation of Stephen King’s novel.
In June 2016, it was revealed, however, that filming had begun on the new movie, which is going to be split into two parts and will actually be directed by horror genre maestro Andres Muschietti – who directed the chilling Mama in 2013.
When it comes to who is acting in the movie, the actors are being unveiled in dribs and drabs. So far, we’ve got Bill Skarsgard playing the main role. He’s been pretty close-lipped about the role but we have now seen him in his horrifying Pennywise makeup.
What do we know about it so far?
The focus of the rebrand for this movie is largely placed on the gravitas of its director and how contemporarily frightening the main actor is going to look. Very little has been said about the actual plot, other than the fact that the first film will focus on the main characters as children and the second will recreate their battle as adults.
Looking at how teasers about the project have been dropped over several years and what these tidbits actually are, we can glean some information on how rebranding movies works nowadays.
So far, we know that the studio has booked a big name director and actor. We also know that the makeup is on point to scare the bejesus out of us, but that’s about it.
[Image credit: giphy.com]
As consumers of movies, ask yourselves, when you hear a new movie is coming out are you more interested in who is starring/directing rather than what the plot is? As a group of people en masse, the answer here is probably yes, although I know there are hardcore movie buffs out there who will say no, but these people seem to be in the minority.
Who you gonna call for branding?
Take a look at how the new Ghostbusters movie was teaser marketed: very little plot was given away, instead it was mostly focused on starring the ladies of Saturday Night: Live, Chris Hemsworth and the recasting cameos of the original actors, Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray.
Having a strong cast and director means we have fewer questions about the quality of the remake. As a result, these same names are being used to carry the marketing and PR of the new versions of Ghostbusters and IT.
It’s a clever tactic and is something that is facilitated by social media. For example, Muschietti has been tweeting teaser pictures on Instagram, including the film title on his director’s chair and a bunch of red balloons floating eerily alone in a room. The little pre-launches are enough to appeal to fans of the original film and mini-series, but they’re also infuriatingly simple enough to intrigue a new audience.
The mystery and the madness
Contemporary audiences tend to enjoy mystery and teasers so they can draw their own conclusions and this is what has been happening with the IT remake. Just enough has been given to whet the appetite of literary, film and horror fans all over the world.
There has even been some accidental teaser marketing on the go to support the IT campaign, as Netflix’s new programme ‘Stranger Things’ has been drawing succinct parallels with IT – and various other movies from the late 80s. In fact, Bloody Disgusting commented, “Stranger Things just raised the bar for the upcoming IT adaptation.”
Does this mean the teaser campaign is working? Well, the very fact that it’s been compared to a new show would suggest that it is and some people are definitely interested in what Muschietti is going to produce, which fits perfectly with the way Stephen King markets his books. In On Writing, his autobiography of sorts, he says: “You can’t please all of the readers all of the time; you can’t please even some of the readers all of the time, but you really ought to try to please at least some of the readers some of the time.”
I would say this is a fairly accurate summary of how people are feeling regarding the teaser marketing of the IT remake. Just enough detail continues to be released to interest, please and excite people. Bring on Pennywise and bring on the red balloons of horror.