With Pathaan, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, and John Abraham in pivotal roles, we are witnessing how the makers and the actors are changing the way they promote a film. If you would have noticed, unlike usual times, the Pathaan team is neither giving interviews to the media nor going to different cities to promote their film.
The makers are depending on Shah Rukh Khan’s massive fan following and the power-packed trailer of Pathaan. Something similar happened with Ayushmann Khurrana’s Doctor G and Rajkummar Rao’s Badhaai Do due to prior commitments of the actors. The pandemic has managed to turn the publicity machinery on its axis and production houses have realised the redundancy of city tours. The producers now understand that footfalls in a mall during a public engagement do not necessarily translate into footfalls in a theatre. The actors and makers are also trying to avoid any controversial statements, after witnessing the fate of Laal Singh Chadha starring Aamir Khan.
To understand this further, we got in touch with Producer Anand Pandit. He said, “This is when marketing heads began to think digital and explore interesting options like games, influencer collaborations, and teasers. They ultimately realised that a trailer can make or break a film. As a child of the 70s, I still remember the thrill of watching a trailer of ‘Don’ in a theatre. The difference now is that the trailer is released simultaneously on various social media platforms and the first impression in many cases is the last impression. The trailer’s reach and popularity most often decide the percentage of box office receipts though there can be exceptions.”
Siddharth Anand Kumar, Sr. Vice President of Films & Events at Saregama India Ltd has a different take. He explained, “An impactful trailer, of course, matters a lot because right now people don’t have time to watch a lot of things and if the first impression is good, it can benefit a film. I don’t, however, agree that city tours or other promotion mediums don’t help at all because, every little bit of visibility and reach be it in person during tours, digitally, or across social media during the film’s promotion matters. There are so many ways to promote a film today and you never know what will catch momentum and bring attention to a specific element of your film.”
The trailer is the only unit that matters in movie marketing, today more so than ever before as it sets the tone of what to expect from the film.
Amrita CEO of Junglee added, “As we have seen in the past year, movies will not work with just a big star or a known director, audiences are smarter these days and are selective about the kind of content they would like to view whether it is in theatres or on streaming. For Badhaai Do and Doctor G, our actors were not available due to their prior shoot commitments but what worked for us was the trailer that really resonated with the audience and helped kickstart the film’s run across platforms. Many films in the past year have had trailers that have not landed and hence even though actors have promoted it heavily via city tours, show integrations, and other forms of promotions it has not necessarily resulted in the film’s success.”
Item songs, city visits, in show marketing all seem to be less effective than just a true-to-film trailer.