Surprise releases have become a regular marketing strategy in the music industry with artists such as Beyoncé releasing their projects without warning.
With Netflix expanding its catalogue of original movies, the service is looking to adopt the strategy.
During Eagles and Patriots face-off at Super Bowl LII, Netflix took the world by surprise by releasing the trailer for J.J. Abrams’ highly anticipated “The Cloverfield Paradox.”
Abrams and his production studio, Bad Robot, are notorious for their atypical marketing strategies; in 2008, they released a trailer for the first “Cloverfield” film attached to “Transformers” with no title, only a release date. Then in 2016, the trailer for “10 Cloverfield Lane” was released just two months prior to its release.
While the title for “The Cloverfield Paradox” had been revealed since January, details about the film’s plot were scarce. However, this is normal as Abrams and Bad Robot are known for keeping details pertaining to their films
“Surprise releases can be beneficial as it can reduce the likelihood of leaks before a release date,” said Dr. Natalie Winter, associate dean for Robert K. Jabs School of Business. “It can make the most ardent fans even more loyal because often the fan club is the first to hear about a release. The surprise release also generates a lot of publicity simply because it is a surprise.”
While proving to be a successful tactic in the music industry, the surprise release could prove to be a profitable marketing technique in the film industry.
“It can be a successful marketing tactic, but it also has some risks,” Winter said. “Without sufficient existing awareness of a product or brand, people won’t be invested enough to seek out information about a surprise release.”
Paramount Pictures sold “The Cloverfield Paradox” to Netflix for about $50 million, which was then made available for streaming on the platform after Super Bowl LII concluded.
Within the first week, the film was streamed five million times. In comparison, David Ayer’s “Bright” starring Will Smith and Joel Egerton was streamed 11 million times in the first three days. However, “The Cloverfield Paradox” did not receive positive reviews.
Although there is a large gap between streams, “Bright” was heavily promoted for months and backed behind an A-list cast, while “The Cloverfield Paradox” had no official casting and virtually no promotion until its release.
“The Cloverfield Paradox” is available for streaming exclusively on Netflix.