Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming has finally released, and it looks like the movie is off to a strong start at the worldwide box office, thanks to Sony Pictures breaking the franchise’s record for the biggest promotional campaign ever. For the past several weeks, people have been inundated with trailers, posters, and various other promos for Homecoming, Peter Parker’s first solo movie within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Two years ago, Marvel Studios struck an unprecedented deal with Sony Pictures to share the iconic web-slinging superhero. Although Sony retained the theatrical rights for the character, Marvel was allowed to use him in the MCU. Part of the agreement was that the Disney-owned studio would make every film involving Spider-Man – including his solo movies – while Sony bore all the cost, including marketing the film. In addition to keeping all the profit from the movie, Sony has shed tens of millions of dollars promoting Homecoming, which nowadays means more than issuing new posters, trailers, and TV spots.
Aside from traditional marketing, Sony has partnered with countless companies around the world to promote Homecoming as well as their products. It’s actually something that Hollywood studios have been doing more often, though Sony has taken their campaign to the next level. According to Deadline, the studio’s promotional campaign for Homecoming has been valued at over $140 million, the highest ever for not only the Spider-Man franchise – and that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beating out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2‘s campaign of $80 million, which almost entirely focused on Baby Groot – but for the studio as a whole, surpassing that of recent James Bond movies, Skyfall and Spectre.
Sony Pictures has been attempting to evolve their marketing campaigns for blockbuster films these past few years, and that means moving beyond the traditional 30-second promos on television. Furthermore, establishing marketing partnerships is mutually beneficial for everyone involved; it becomes cheaper for the movie studio to promote their film, while also giving the other party the added benefit of attaching a well-known superhero to their product. According to Sony’s president of worldwide marketing, Josh Greenstein, doing this gives off the impression that Homecoming isn’t just a movie, it’s “a global cultural event.”
By partnering with various international brands – from doing commercials for Audi’s A8 luxury sedan to being the worldwide food partner of Pizza Hut to heavily featuring Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. during the NBA Finals earlier this year – Sony has embedded Homecoming into the minds of millions around the world. In the end, all of this will not only translate into more box office receipts, but also into higher merchandise sales, which is where Disney (and Marvel Studios) make most of their money from the movie, since they control the character’s merchandising rights. Considering that Spider-Man merchandising has previously topped Avengers sales, it looks like this is another win-win for both studios.
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