Several times in recent years, Sony has used the Cannes Film Festival to promote a key upcoming title, despite the movies not officially being involved in the event — see Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation in 2018, 2017’s The Emoji Movie and 2016’s The Angry Birds Movie.
This year, the marketing team pulled out the stops for Neill Blomkamp’s Gran Turismo: The Movie, staking out prime real estate with a billboard on the Carlton Pier and then — rather than ahead of the fest as they did with the previous films — hosting a photo call with talent as the Croisette calmed down toward the end.
Although David Harbour did not make the photo call that featured Blomkamp, Orlando Bloom, Geri Halliwell Horner, Archie Madekwe and producer Asad Qizilbash, he was with the team for a stroll up the red carpet on closing night.
From there, they traveled to nearby Monaco to catch some Grand Prix action and rev the marketing machine even higher. Harbour, Bloom and Madekwe visited the Red Bull garages, the F1 paddock and posed for a photo call at the famous Fairmont hairpin.
These sorts of promotional activities have served Sony well in the past to build awareness. Hotel Transylvania 3 bested its predecessor by 11% globally, and The Angry Birds Movie was a pop culture play that took flight to more than $352M worldwide.
Based on the true story of Jann Mardenborough (Madekwe), Gran Turismo is designed as more than an adaptation of the PlayStation game and billed as a wish-fulfillment tale about a teenage player whose gaming skills won a series of Nissan competition to become an actual professional race car driver. Jason Hall, Blomkamp and Zach Baylin wrote the screenplay, and the producers are Doug Belgrad, Qizilbash, Carter Swan and Dana Brunetti.
Gran Turismo starts rolling into theaters overseas on August 9 and crosses the starting line on August 11 domestically.