August 10, 2020

Forbes on Open Road's "Powerhouse Trailer" for 'Judas and the Black Messiah'

"We got a teaser trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah on Thursday night, which was a surprise since getting any new theatrical trailer these days is cause for celebration. The Warner Bros. release, about the FBI’s attempts to bring down Black Panther party chairman Fred Hampton in the late 1960’s, stars Daniel Kaluuya as Hampton, Lakeith Stanfield as “turncoat” William O’Neal and Jesse Plemons as the cop who corralled O’Neal into becoming an informant, is scheduled to open at some point next year. As for the trailer, it’s a dynamite piece of movie marketing, something that will play quite well on an IMAX screen prior to showings of Tenet and yet another example of Warner Bros. marketing at its best. It’s a trip wire-intense trailer for a non-tentpole that nonetheless sells the flick as an event movie.

The brief tease is centered around a single scene, namely Hampton preaching to the proverbially converted and calling for revolution while the narrative shifts in and out of that core moment to provide context on the moment in time and the specific narrative, climaxing with a brief “action” montage before returning to the same key moment, with Kaluuya calling for revolution, liberation and freedom as Stanfield nervously applauds while Plemons watches in the crowd. It’s such a powerhouse trailer that it’s really all you need to make the sale, although I’m sure there will be a more conventional plot-centric trailer dropping sometime before release. If the structure seems similar, it’s because it plays not unlike “lightning in a bottle” teasers for Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper in 2015 and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born in 2018.

Click here to watch the Trailer!