The Emoji Movie has crashed Cannes a day before the festival opens, with a promotional stunt involving a boat and a parachute.
Talk about guerrila marketing.
Sony Pictures has adopted a strange strategy of appearing at the French Riviera uninvited to promote its animated movies.
It all started last year, when the studio giant took the cast of The Angry Birds Movie to the Cannes pier, along with truckloads of promotional merchandise to hand out on the beach.
Looking to profit again from the hundreds of journalists, industry leaders and visitors arriving ahead of the festival, Sony has this year staged a stunt just outside the Carlton Hotel, right at the heart of the event, to promote The Emoji Movie.
And if bringing human-sized emojis to the most glamorous and highbrow festival in the world wasn’t enough, the studio also decided to make a grand entrance by parachuting actor T J Miller into the Carlton pier.
Miller, who voices the main Emoji character, landed at the Cote d’Azur in a yellow suit to host the first trailer’s presentation and promotional party.
“I don’t know if we’re even live, but this is it!” Miller said. “We are parasailing live into Cannes.
“My only regret is that my wife wasn’t with me up there to help me not urinate.”
Sony Pictures, which failed to have a single movie officially presented at the festival, reaped some profit from last year’s stunt.
The Angry Birds Movie, slammed by critics and viewers alike, went on to score $ 350m worldwide.
Crashing a prestigious festival with giant, angry birds and emoji figures is funny enough, but Cannes is known for its resistance to trends and innovation.
Two years ago, festival director Thierry Fremaux hinted he would prefer stars not to take selfies on the red carpet, because it is “ridiculous and grotesque”.
“You never look as ugly as you do in a selfie,” he said.
“We don’t want to prohibit it, but we want to slow down the process of selfies on the steps.”
In the same year, the festival faced a backlash for barring women from film screenings for not wearing high heels.
This year, Fremaux has reignited a war against streaming services, which he had previously barred from entering the competition.
He wants Cannes to be a sacred arthouse cinema, unmoved by the changing tides of technology.
Next year, Fremaux may be able to keep Netflix away from its prestigious shores, but nothing stops Sony from crashing the pier with another app-related movie.
Hey, maybe Netflix should do the same.