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The most recent trailer for Child’s Play has landed, and it continues to look rather promising. With the story of a single mother buying a cutting-edge toy for her son to befriend taking front and center, the reboot to the 1988 horror classic looks like it’s got a nice sci-fi upgrade for a new generation.
However, even with the announcement of legendary actor Mark Hamill voicing the character of Chucky, the marketing seems to be playing it coy with showing us the doll in its full form. That decision brings up an important debate, one that we’ll be discussing over the course of what you’re reading here. That discussion boils down to the following question: Does the Child’s Play reboot need to show us more of Chucky in its marketing? Let’s talk this out, starting with the case for more Chuck for the buck.
The Case For More Chucky
Reviving a character as iconic and well known as Child’s Play’s Chucky takes more marketing prowess than it would to sell a new intellectual property. With a new property, you can shape the terms of how the audience sees that new product.
However, when you’re trying to make the case for the 21st century variant of Chucky, you need some more oomph in your cannon. It’s important to show more of Chucky to the audience that’s been loyal to the brand, especially considering the controversy surrounding the film and the feelings about the new project from some.
Being a Child’s Play remake outside of series/character creator Don Mancini’s TV series, which still retains original continuity, as well as Brad Dourif’s involvement, this may be a harder sell than many reboots in modern times. There’s still a lot of fans who need to be sold on this film to open their wallets.
Showing more of Chucky’s full face and voice in the marketing for Child’s Play just might win over more fans of the original version, as it looks like the film is going in a new direction with the character, rather than just remaking the infamous killing sprees of Charles Lee Ray.
It’s even more critical to approach newer audiences expecting a fresh definition of what the Child’s Play series is all about with a clear picture of what the modern Chucky is capable of. So for the sake of winning audiences old and new, by distancing itself from the original film, the new and improved Chucky should come out to play in whatever marketing materials crop up next.
The Case For Less Chucky
The freshness of Child’s Play 2019 is a good starting point for the call for more of Chucky’s material to be shown in the trailers. However, that’s also the perfect launching pad for the argument against being too showy with everyone’s new Buddi.
Surprise is exactly what Child’s Play has going for it in this new incarnation, and we did get the slightest tease of Mark Hamill’s fresh performance in that recent trailer. Some could say we’ve gotten enough to tide us over, and history just might prove that faction right.
In the trailer for the original Child’s Play, a similar approach was taken in selling this concept as brand new. The Good Guy doll was shown as a doll, with any glimpses into its evil activities being brief and mostly concealed. We never really got to see Chucky at his full potential, because even as a brand new property, surprise was the key to making audiences go nuts upon the big reveal.
The same could be said for Child’s Play 2019, because we have seen the full doll as a play thing, again with glimpses of the evil that this Buddi can do. So maybe the way to win fans, classic and new, is to give them the same treatment that was had when Chucky was a brand new doll, fresh off the factory floor.
Curiosity and surprise are definitely valuable commodities when selling a movie these days. Getting the audience hyped with a smidge of voice over and just enough violence is probably a better idea, in the sense that it combats the biggest problem moviegoers have with more recent trailers that tend to give the whole movie away. Less Chucky likely equates to more shock value.
The Final Ruling
Taking into consideration the fact that both arguments are pretty sound, I still feel like there is a clear winner in this debate, which is the trailers for the new Child’s Play reboot need to show more Chucky in the future.
While curiosity and surprise are still needed in the world of film marketing, it’s not spoiling Child’s Play if you show off the killer doll everyone’s expecting. We’ve seen the doll, we’ve heard its voice, and the historical canon of this villain is no secret. So hiding it isn’t helping that much, in my opinion.
Between a new crowd that still knows of Chucky’s character, and a faithful fanbase to that original series that needs some enticing to come to this newly set table, more clear killer doll action can only help better sell this product. This is particularly true in the case of a reboot, as remaking an older, very popular series for a modern context almost always triggers people to think that it’s a cash in.
If Child’s Play 2019 is going to stand a chance, it needs to break away from Child’s Play 1988 and do its own thing. I think that requires showing off the difference between the old Chucky and the new one. Why should anyone expect people to show up when they can’t see the star of the show?
While this debate takes both sides of the coin into account, it is all from one singular viewpoint discussing both sides. If a film like Child’s Play has any chance of succeeding, it needs to adhere to the opinions of you, the audience.
So after you’ve mulled over both sides of this issue yourself, feel free to share your thoughts in both the poll provided at the end of this piece, as well as in the comments section below. But before you go off to deliberate, why not watch the Child's Play trailer one last time?
As for Child’s Play, it hits theaters on June 21st, just in time to give your summer a scare. But if horror isn’t your thing, and you just like reading arguments about movie marketing, you can find a movie more suited to your tastes in our 2019 release schedule.