Rami Malek – Promotion Shoot (October, 2017)
“If you have to go back and watch one performance it has to be Queen. That was not just a career-defining moment… rock ’n’ roll might have peaked right there. Freddie Mercury on stage at Live Aid is the summit of rock ’n’ roll. For a band some people said was washed up, that was just the most stunning, breath-taking, flawless, powerful, jubilant performance. It was everything you want in rock ’n’ roll.” —1980s MTV VJ Martha Quinn (July 2015) on the 30th anniversary of Live Aid.
A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen‘s legendary appearance at the Live Aid (1985) concert in 1985.
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Written by: Justin Haythe (screenplay), Anthony McCarten(screenplay)
Altitude distribution boasts relevant recent and upcoming releases such as Amy (Winehouse) (2015) and also the forthcoming Maradonna (2018) and Whitney Houston Documentary: Can I Be Me (no date). In 2016, Altitude released 7 movies, including independent and specialised films grossing a total of £2.7m (BFI Statistic Yearbook, 2016).
Bohemian Rhapsody talents also include Rami Malek (Night at the Museum, Need for Speed), Ben Hardy (X-Men: Apocalypse, EastEnders), Gwilym Lee (Midsomer Murders), Joseph Mazzello (The Social Network), Allen Leech (Downton Abbey), and Lucy Boynton (Sing Street). These talents are well known to UK audiences and specifically towards the targeted audience of the movie.
The historic success of the rock band Queen and it’s lead singer Freddie Mercury is well known. Based on combined sales of albums, singles, videos and downloads, Queen are the third best-selling act in the UK (13.3m)(KillerQueen). Furthermore, according to the Official Charts, Queen’s 1981 Greatest Hits album is the only album to have sold more than 6m copies in the UK (6.1) and the second version of this album sold more than 4m copies in the UK. This additional, inclusive fan base adds to the marketability of the film. Being closely linked to the rock and roll iconic band, Queen, helps to profile Bohemian Rhapsody towards Queen enthusiasts which is key in obtaining word of mouth recommendations within this community. It is important that the marketing strategy, later discussed within this report, is maximised. It is also necessary to point out that Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor are credited as music producers.
Bohemian Rhapsody can be profiled as a schmaltzy drama, especially for the Queen fan base, that also provides key uplifting moments. This also links with the synopsis of the movie, where by the focus is on the years leading up to Queen‘s legendary appearance at the Live Aid (1985) concert in 1985. This therefore positions the movie towards the biographical drama and music genre. This genre can be categorised as a film that dramatises the life of a non-fictional person.
In 2016, according to the BFI Statistical Year Book, Drama accounted for the highest proportion of releases (26%) but shared only 8% of the UK box office, grossing $98.2. Recent examples of biographical drama releases, within the UK, include Rush (2013) which grossed $16,131,221 and had a platform release from September 13 to November 24. More recently, Borg vs McEnroe (15), was a 2017 bio-pic focusing on the famous rivalry between famous tennis players Björn Borg and John McEnroe at the 1980 Wimbledon Championships. Limited release during September 22-24, grossed $137,578. Lastly, Churchill, released in 2017 as a theatrical release from June 16-October 1, grossed $2,201,908 at the UK box office. Furthermore, there have been a number of concert documentaries. Although this is a different genre, there were a number of concert performance documentaries, often now in 3D, are released theatrically every year. The highest grossing title released since 2008 is Michael Jackson’s This Is It, which earned £9.8 million in 2009. More recently, ‘The Beatles: Eight Days a Week’, which in 2016, was the highest grossing documentary of the year with takings of £1.2 million. At the highest point of release, The Beatles movie was at 102 sites, where as Michael Jackson’s This is it was at 498 sites at it’s widest point. This strongly demonstrates that there is a strong audience following of this particular genre.
According to BFI (Opening Our Eyes , 2011) older audience members were more likely to select dramas, documentaries than any other genre. Further to this, female viewers in each age group express a stronger preference for drama films than male viewers of the same age. The audience for both drama and musicals are 35+ with a screwed preference for an older female audience.
“Musicals are also strongly associated with female audiences (71%), but this category is dominated by over 55s: over a quarter of respondents expressing a preference for this genre are in this age group. Drama also lies along the same direction as females over 55 indicating that this group is associated with this genre, but the distance from the origin is smaller reflecting a smaller effect. The proportion of males over 55 selecting drama films as a preferred genre is also greater than younger male viewers, but not to the same extent as their female counterparts. In fact, female viewers in each age group expressed a stronger preference for drama films than male viewers of the same age.” (Redfern, 2012).
As the film is based on an iconic band, less action, the campaign will focus on targeting both genders over 35 years old, who organise cinematic visits. The territory audience includes fans of Singer, as a director, and also Queen fans. Bohemian Rhapsody’s main market is 35+ year old audiences who prefer drama films, visit cinemas on occasions and can be attracted by the close links to both musicals, Queen and Live Aid.
The results of the primary research is limited. However, combined with the audience research and further data analysis based on genre success within the UK box office, a profile of audience for Bohemian Rhapsody can be seen.
It is essential to, based on the targeted audience and market, to build strong audience exposure.
Bohemian Rhapsody will be theatrically released and will then launch on VOD and then free TV. This section of the report will identify key elements within the release strategy of Bohemian Rhapsody.
Statista (2017) state that the average numbers of sites, at the widest point of release, for drama is 60 and documentary is 25. Compared to other genres such as sci-fi (400+) this is small, although music released get a wider release (170). However, it is expected that Bohemian Rhapsody will outperform the average drama.
One similar film is “Amy”, whereby Altitude (distributor) released initially at 133 sites. This expanded during the second and third weeks, meaning that its widest point of release, “Amy” was at 254 sites. “Amy” went on to gross more than 170% of all the documentaries in 2010. According to BFI (2017), the average spend for 100-199 sites is £0.27m.
The American release of Bohemian Rhapsody is scheduled for Christmas 2018 will be out by the time we release the film theatrically. To take this in to account, the UK press screening will be early January 2019. According to FDA yearbook (FDA, 2017), over recent years January and February perform well at the box office, only being eclipsed by Summer releases. This will be slightly later than the proposed US release date due to the UK scheduled releases of Bumblebee (Transformers Spin off, December 21st 2018), Aquaman (December 21st 2018) and Mary Poppins Return (December 25th 2018). The release strategy for Bohemian Rhapsody will be a platform theatrical release starting at 150 sites, including key cities of London, Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester. From this, the release will move to 250 sites in week 2 and week 3.
At this current time. there are no similar films that are due to be released at the same time (early 2019). Set for release in January / February 2019 include (IMDB, 2017) :
- Eli (Thriller)
- Ad Astra (Sci-Fi)
- Glass (Action)
- Spies in Disguise (Family)
- The Nightingale (War Drama)
As part of the strategy for audience exposure and to build buzz towards the film there will be a release of a number of theater based assets. These include a quad poster, a teaser trailer, and a theatrical trailer. Below shows a mock up of a sample quad-poster for the film. This follows convention poster designs and using the Freddy Mercury iconic stance.
Bohemian Rhapsody quad poster mock-up.
Social media marketing is key for this movie. According to Unruly (2014), who suggest “that people who share movie-related content on social channels are nearly 6x more likely to purchase a movie ticket”. Therefore, there will be a number of sharable TV spots that will show on free TV. These TV spots will not be associated with the trailer and will be available for public sharing on social media. This will be within 2 weeks of the release date. These TV sports will be of Rami Malek singing “We will rock you” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Further to this, Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor will film an interview about the film. This will support the film to “generate cut-through and social buzz in a competitive, trailer-heavy media landscape” (Unruly, 2014). Initial cinematography and photography will be released on 5 September to coincide with the birthday of Freddie Mercury.
In additional, there will be the creation of singular social media pages (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Snapchat). This will include movie associated icons that are displayed. Not only will this support the sharing process of the movie assets, but it will also give a small graphical representation that would then be copied by friends and followers.
There will be an official film website that will include the official multimedia assets, information regarding the cast and crew, the ability to purchase movie related merchandise, including exclusive Queen assets. This will create additional buzz and traffic between the primary and territory audiences.
In conclusion, Bohemian Rhapsody has the potential to be an exciting success in the UK. It will excite biographical drama cinephilias. To ensure success, it will be necessary to position the film towards the large Queen fan-base and using WOM to ensure a positive spread through a structured and targeted social media campaign. Although still a long time from release, Bohemian Rhapsody is currently performing well on initial social media buzz, the strategy for release of the movie will maximise this.
- Live Aid Turns 30: The Backstage Scoop From The People Who Were There”. MTV. 11 July 2015. (http://www.mtv.com/news/2201893/live-aid-30th-anniversary-behind-the-scenes/)
- BFI/Northern Alliance/Ipsos Media CT, Opening Our Eyes: How Film Contributes to the Culture of the UK, July 2011. http://www.participations.org/Volume%209/Issue%202/4%20Redfern.pdf
- FDA Year book: https://www.launchingfilms.com/fdayearbook2017.pdf
- Redfern, N. (2012). Correspondence analysis of genre preferences in UK film audiences. Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, 9(2), p.48.
- The Science of Sharing 2014 Movie Promos. An Unruly White Paper, October 2014.
- IMDB 2018 List: https://www.movieinsider.com/movies/-/2019
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This post was written by noxford