Compiling the best, most shameless cross-promotion this summer.

As we all know, summer is largely a time for artistic integrity to flourish among the film community, what with audiences lining up around the block for Lars von Trier’s latest five-hour indulgence or some such.
Well, not really but maybe in Sweden or some other magical film market that doesn’t exist yet. 
No, summer is the time for studios to blow their wads on films with the biggest budgets possible and hope to recoup some of their coke expenses. Lord knows, it doesn’t all come from the scripting department.
“Faster than a speeding check…”
With monster budgets comes a monster need for even more people to see their films. So often this results is cross-promotion, which, according to Webster’s dictionary, translates to “Hot damn, we need to stamp this shit on everything we possibly can!!!” 
That’s why we get things like Superman teaming up with IHOP and Sears last year to save the world, while kissing the ass of the National Guard during his free time.
And while no film this summer has yet to reach the level of whoring Man of Steel accomplished last year, there are still a few that are trying their darndest to come close. I’m not really bothered by most cross-promotion, provided it doesn’t beat you over the head with it (see: Transformers, any goddamn Adam Sandler movie). Moreso, it’s just kind of interesting to see what ends up with what and have fun with it.

Does whatever a USPS carrier can

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 didn’t quite get as many butts into seats as they hoped but it certainly wasn’t for lack of awareness.

In addition to releasing what felt like a new trailer every week, the ASM 2 crew partnered with the US Postal Service to put the web head’s mug on every priority mail parcel across the nation.

Their flagship ad features Spidey answering a frazzled theater owner’s prayers as he delivers the movie (presumably including the remains of however many scenes they slashed out) to an exuberant audience. Stan Lee also shows up because why wouldn’t he. in all, this ad is fairly harmless. It didn’t do them too much good in the end but it did get a certain film writer counting down the days until the movie’s release. There’s a joke somewhere here comparing how fast Spider-Man got to his destination and how fast they churned out the film but I’m not the one to make it.

Mighty marketing

Not only did Godzilla return to screens this summer, so did his penchant for doing a bunch of tie-in commercials. Following the ’98 film’s legendary Taco Bell team-upthe latest film’s marketing crew upped the ante with not one, but two prominent ad appearances. first, admittedly, is pretty damn funny. This Snickers ad sees the king of monsters before and after hunger strikes. Honestly, the ad would still be funny without a big movie tie in around the corner. But seeing how casually Toho sues for using the character’s likeness, I’m guessing this wouldn’t exist without the movie.

The other ad is… kinda strange. Somebody somewhere thought putting Fiat and Godzilla together would make sense and, bless ’em, they made it happen.

I’m not sure what to take away from the ad other than a) knowing the basics around the giant monster, Fiats must be highly radioactive for big G to want to eat them or b) one of the main selling points around Fiats is that their size prevents them from being swallowed by giant lizards.

On second thought, sold!

A burger of heroic portions

This is just lolsy now. Hardee’s/Carl’s Junior already struck hard with MOS last year and here they’re at it again for X-Men: Days of Future Past with something to make every fiber of your being squee with awkwardness.

Just glancing over the Hardee’s menu makes me think I would need some sort of genetic mutation to even get through one of their entrees — at very least, Quicksilver’s hyper metabolism would come in handy to not have all that sitting around in my arteries afterwards. Mystique may be “mutant and proud” but the hell if she’s going to be seen eating that disgusting thing in her true form.

Absolutely cringe-worthy…

Return of the king

Ohp, spoke too soon. It’s just not a product placement article until we talk about Transformers and this latest entry in the saga of awful has a recent partnership that is so ironic, it’s hard to imagine that nobody high up didn’t notice it.
You see, when it comes to film, Transformers is leading the charge in pushing the medium as far away from artistic integrity, towards pure commerce as possible. Much as I may rip on Man of Steel for its blatant marketing ploys, there is absolutely no touching what Michael Bay does in the Transformers films.
Every other film on this list has had the decency to keep their business partners confined to commercials; Bay makes his entire “films” commercials. Age of Extinction reportedly features glaring appearances by Bud Light, Victoria’s Secret and Beats, in addition to the regular GM overlords.
But elsewhere, on the cross-promotion side of things, something magical happened. Amid the sea of Oreo commercials featuring Optimus finding the strength to fight on in milk’s favorite cookie, Transformers may just have found its perfect ad partner.

I’ll just leave these here for your convenience…



There’s no substitute for a good story — not a perfect cast, not a moving score, and especially not 4,500 visual effects shots. Wes Anderson’s latest not only preaches the wonder of a great story, it features one of the most unconventionally told tales told as of late.

Told from the words of an aging writer (Tom Wilkinson, Jude Law), the life story of the mysterious Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham/Tony Revolori) is recounted, particularly his younger years working as a lobby boy in the extravagant Grand Budapest Hotel. There, he meets a most unusual mentor, Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), the hotel’s concierge and an effeminate charmer of elderly rich women, who is accused of murdering one of his longtime acquaintances.

For a while there, I was afraid Wes Anderson was going down the Tim Burton road. His early works (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums) are undoubtedly awesome but his most recent film, Moonrise Kingdom, reeked of being a vanity project that only appealed to him and his regular collaborators. That sounds better than throwing bad child actors under the bus, right?

Conversely, all of Anderson’s best qualities are on display for Grand Budapest. The sheer joy brought by watching Anderson craft zany, extreme environments and situations and fill them with characters who are just a little too casual finally returns. The director’s signature playful camera work weaves between shifting aspect ratios for each timeline while the aesthetic of the bright pink lodge pops off the screen. Almost every second of Grand Budapest is filled with subversion and mischief, almost to a dark degree (there’s a surprising amount of murder for an Anderson outing), and all 100 minutes could not be more enticing because of it.

Here, all the Anderson-y goodness we’ve come to expect is focused like a laser in order to best tell the story, not the other way around. Even while juggling three storylines and a nice helping of wacky comedy, the charm of the movie is never strained, nor the movie’s deeper moments lost. Deliberately hidden under the craziness are moments of genuine melancholy that sneak up and resonate with tuning fork-like precision.

But the bright, pastel frosting on the cake must be Fiennes’ performance. Anderson and Fiennes build an exceptional dialogue rhythm with Gustave that uses profanity to its fullest. (Yes, not many films can boast using expertly timed swearing — Grand Budapest is one.) Just when you think this man couldn’t be any suave and sophisticated, things end on a hilarious turns as he compares train car brandy to cat piss or telling a dead woman he wants some of her makeup.

That’s just the magic of Grand Budapest: nothing is content to be basic — everything subverts your expectations. Anderson tops even himself in creating a films that looks unlike any other. The film’s dark comedy comes from unexpected dialogue turns more than broad shtick. Above all, story comes first as we’re treated to a well-rounded tale that is fit to be tied in weirdness. Grand Budapest is charming and effective in all the odd ways and hits home with great panache.