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Why do we need to market movies?

How do I get people to watch my movie?

What are the best ways to advertise my movie?

There are many reasons why we try and get bums on seats to watch a movie. This article will look at some marketing and film promotion techniques that have worked for other films in the past. It will look at how the movie “Deadpool” utilised its marketing as examples of film promotion to help you understand movie marketing better. It will highlight some of the main reasons for film promotion and also discuss different ways films can be advertised and promoted.

So why does a film need to make money?

Let’s be honest, the main reason why we market a film is to try and make money. The importance of profit is not only to return a profit to the funders of the film but for many of the people involved with the film. But this is not the only reason.

Covering Original Production Costs

A film needs money to make money. It’s simple. If you cover the costs of the film, you may not make a profit, but the banks and investors will know your not a loss, this will give you the credibility of making a movie.

Profits help fund future projects

The more money the investors make the more they will back you again. The more money you make the more you can fund yourself in future projects.  

Capitalist System

The investors want to make a profit. The Studio, investors, distributors and exhibitors want the film to make money so they make money. The more credible and reliable you become as a moneymaker, the more you will get invested and the more you can pay yourself.

Who else cares if the film makes money?

It’s not only investors that get rewarded for a film making a profit. If a film makes money then it means it will have other benefits for others involved with the film such as:-

The Actors – The on-screen talent want to be associated with successful films. The more successful a film, the more chance of winning awards, raising their profile and ultimately raising their rates of pay for future roles.

Director and Crew – Having a successful film on a CV improves employment chances and rates of pay demand.

Product Placement – A link to a successful product increases sales.

Synergy Partners – A successful film will add success to other media products related to the franchise, e.g. Direct music for the film or video games. 

How do we get people to watch the film?

Marketing, advertising and film promotion! Raising awareness to the audience, the industry and award committees is key. Raising the profile of the actors, directors and crew is also important. Types of promotion include:-

Trailers – There is rarely ever one trailer for a film. Most will start with a teaser trailer. The first ones will be used initially in cinemas and TV spots as specials (if a large franchise). They quickly get around onto Youtube and facebook from fans of the film. 

The cast will also start releasing the teaser on their twitter or facebook fan pages or instagram. Deadpool had 2 official trailers and a red-band trailer. Again the Red band trailer is hitting the market of fans of the comic, which allows them to see that the film is keeping the character as close as possible to the original comic character. The way the trailer is portrayed is also important. Deadpool was able to take advantage of comedy and action moviegoers. However, the trailer still needs to fit the appropriateness of the audience intended to watch this film. 

A good (or should I say bad) example is a spoof trailer of Stephen King’s IT, where they portray the clown as a friend to the group instead of the bad guy making it look like a family film instead of a horror.

Print Media Advertising – Whether it’s a poster, in a magazine, on the side of a bus or a billboard, print media advertising has and always will be needed for film promotion. Utilising them effectively can get the attention of the audience. It can intrigue them into watching the film such as leaving an image on the poster which can only be answered by seeing the film. Deadpool utilised the use of posters and billboards by creating images that were not in fitting with the film.

The film took advantage of using emoji’s to promote the film. Using these made people look at the poster and try and work out what it was advertising. Image courtesy of

The marketing team took advantage of the release date by changing the style of the poster to look like a romantic comedy. Image courtesy of DigitalSpy

Using the Cast – You don’t just hire the cast to be in the film. You also utilise them to advertise and promote the film. This is often part of their contract and budgeted for to encourage them to advertise the film for you.

Ryan Reynolds was heavily involved with the marketing of the film having spent a lot of time trying to get the green light for the project. Attending different social events as well as TV appearances helped promote the film.

Appearances on chat shows such as Conan…

… To attending Comic-Con, the cast is used in a variety of ways to promote the film.

Online Marketing – 

Deadpool used different social media and viral marketing to promote the film. Not only did Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman promote the film on facebook and their twitter accounts but they also took advantage of Tinder.

They also took advantage of the holidays. The marketing campaign of 12 days of Deadpool (Christmas) was a huge success with the final day revealing the trailer.


From publicity stunts to surprise appearances, doing something remarkable and different will always catch the audience’s eye. 

Ryan Reynolds and the cast of Deadpool did a meet and greet appearance and surprised the audience with a full showing of the film early. The marketing team were able to use the tweets and early positive reviews further to market the film.

So really I need to advertise to everyone?

Yes and No! Although it is never bad to target a new audience, it is important to get “The Target Audience”. For Deadpool, you need to consider which audience would go and watch this film. Deadpool marketing was clever with how to target the audience. It was lucky enough to be able to target MARVEL/Superhero/action fans but were also able to target comedy fans. 

With thanks to the different ways of marketing, Deadpool became the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time with $745m (£522m) beating the Matrix Reloaded which held the title for over a decade. 

So doing the things above are just some of the ways for marketing and promoting a film to get “Bums on seats”. 

Deadpool and Deadpool 2 are now available to buy on Blu-ray or downloadable from Amazon Prime and other online retail stores.

About the Author

David Mitchell has a qualification in Creative Media Production Level 3 Diploma with “Triple Distinction”. In 2018 David was also the winner of The Best Student Award at the Golden Apple Awards in Cumbria. Read more about Moo Man Media

Moo Man Media's Director David Mitchell can provide full music video production needs for you or your band

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