The Art of the Sell — Knives Out, “Ode to the Murder Mystery”

These posts celebrate the movie trailers, movie posters, commercials, print ads, and other promotional material that stand as their own works of art. 

Conceding that the most recent weekend’s box office results provide further proof that repetitive familiarity breeds riches for U.S. filmmakers, there was also a continuation of the recent heartening sign that audiences are increasingly interested in shelling out dollars for material that wasn’t built on an existing brand. Of course, the reasonably hefty take for Rian Johnson’s Knives Out was helped along greatly by an inspired and wide-ranging marketing campaign. Without a doubt, the promotional piece that delighted me most was a brief video entitled “Ode to the Murder Mystery” that features Johnson making like a modern-day Alfred Hitchcock to genially invite viewers into the world of his giddy, twisty whodunit. The spirit Johnson winningly brought to his film is entirely present in this throwback pitch. Better than any other preview, poster, or interview, this video lets moviegoers know what they’re in for.

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