Paramount’s Mark Weinstock on Selling a Movie in Tough Times – The Hollywood Reporter

Mark Weinstock arrived at Paramount to oversee global marketing and distribution in 2019’s Annapurna from Megan Ellison, and was preceded by a distinguished stint at 20th Century Fox and Sony, where he led campaigns to successes such as dead listAnd The Kingsman: Secret ServiceAnd hidden characters And return (Previously at Sony). Paramount has had a rough time during the pandemic, but the studio has been on an enviable streak in recent months with box office successes like ScreamAnd the lost City And Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Each film succeeded in attracting cautious performances to the multiplier. Next is the long awaited Top Gun: MaverickWhich opens on Memorial Day.

Weinstock I talked to him recently The Hollywood Reporter To talk about some of his team’s tactics and the ongoing challenges facing the business.

What is the biggest hurdle out of the pandemic?

It was important for us to realize, “Well, how can we really make noise in an ever more cluttered world?” During the last four to six weeks of the campaign – I call it the conversion path – I want audiences to think about our films every day. I think that post-pandemic, is more important. There is a lot of content out there.

Top Gun: Maverickwhich finally hit theaters on May 27, was scheduled to open in summer 2020. How did the campaign start and stop so many times?

It was difficult to navigate. We had to postpone and postpone. Now that we feel comfortable, impulses [of the campaign] They started going out. It just shows that if people want to see a movie, they will wait. I was 16 when I saw The best I got out right away and got my pilot’s license.

What is the marketing budget for a movie like Top Gun: Maverick or Sonic the Hedgehog 2?

I will never give budgets, but I will say that every movie is different.

Scream Stuck on January 14th even with other movies escaping due to omicron. The film was a huge success, grossing $140 million worldwide. What was he thinking there?

In early December, when the copy got out of hand, we were like, “Oh my God, not again.” We had great tracking and great early awareness, so we stuck with the appointment. And when we looked at the data, she said audiences from 17 to 34 are kind of like, “I want to go to the movies.”

Any notable digital campaigns?

The Scream The voice was the first alternate sound [of Ghostface; a user-customizable narration option] It was shown on TikTok, and it was huge. We’ve got 5 billion views of our audio videos, which is massive. Separately, we struck a deal with Airbnb where you can rent Stu Macher’s house and spend a night at home.

the lost CityAn action-comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum has convinced older moviegoers to return to movie theaters. What was your strategy?

The hype started with the world premiere at SXSW in Austin, Texas, where Sandy lives. Early reviews were great. Critics said it was the kind of movie they had been waiting for for years, because the genre didn’t do well on a theatrical level. We had the perfect cast. And we did a lot of paid hacks [a strategy used to build world-of-mouth before a movie’s opening]. The more viewers who watched the movie, the more they said to their friends, “Hey, go see the movie.” And make people feel comfortable, especially older females. Sandy, Channing and the crew were amazing because we have all these digital days recording hours and hours of great content.

Sonic 2 It opened with more than $70 million in early April, a record for a pandemic-era family movie. Your bag of tricks?

We did something really cool in the Super Bowl, tossing the coin, because one of the main characters is Tails. We went about it on our own. Also, every sign along the way was that people were ready to head back to theaters.

how to sell Top Gun: Maverick For younger audiences?

The [May 4] The US premiere was the biggest YouTube streaming event they watched for a movie. There was a digital billboard in Times Square in New York that broadcast the US premiere live.

Top Gun: Maverick Screening at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18th. Will we see Tom Cruise tossed in the waters off the Croisette? I’m just kidding.

Cannes is great because of the global audience it serves. And we have special tricks up our sleeve, which I believe will travel the world. The London premiere following Cannes would also be great. Everything we do is in the service of film because film is our best marketing tool. – evening

Interview has been edited for length and clarity.

A version of this story first appeared in the May 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to subscribe.

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