The Great Escape

Wednesday, September 25 2019
The Great Escape

At a time when many distributors are tightening their belts when it comes to big launches, especially on the home entertainment side, it’s good to see Lionsgate continuing to fly the flag for physical and digital releases, as well as back its titles to the hilt. 

Lionsgate has been making a song and dance about its releases for the past few years where others no longer do, and its backing with event-style launches for the likes of La La Land (a smokey jazz lounge),  A Simple Favour (pampering session) and Fighting With My Family (a comedy night) have drawn press, influencers and industry types together and conferred blockbuster status on home entertainment launches.   

Latest to get the full Lionsgate treatment was John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, with the company pushing the boat out again. Here, alongside exclusive footage from the event, is Lionsgate senior product manager Olivia Dean on the launch, what happened and the thinking behind it…

“Collaborating with the US Lionsgate Games division, we were delighted to partner with Good Shepherd, the publisher of the forthcoming John Wick Hex to celebrate their video game launch and the home ent release of John Wick 3. This took shape in an exciting event titled John Wick: Excommunicado which was hosted across two days on 16th & 17th September in central London. 

“A unique opportunity to leverage the whole franchise, the event comprised a bespoke escape room set in the world of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Taken down to the vaults by the concierge; players were given 15 minutes to escape as they too had committed crimes against the High Table. If they were able to break out, their status as excommunicado would be reversed. If not; then they, like John Wick, would be at the mercy of assassins around the globe.

“As players entered the bank vault, they were met by an array of sealed safety deposit boxes; only through solving clues could they progress and unlock the next phase – the New York library. With old books, leather bound chairs and dark wood panelling, players were transported to the iconic setting that opens the film so well. From here, players worked together to find the key to unlock the next vault room and challenge in the form of Casablanca and the Moroccan desert. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know the rather teeth-baring sacrifice John Wick has to make here in search of redemption – and if players are brave enough to offer the same; they unlocked the final challenge and location: the High Table command centre.

“Here, players had what many felt was the toughest challenge of all, linking telephone connections across all of the Continental hotel sites worldwide in a specific sequence. For the successful, a mysterious phone call followed – and with a correct answer in the time given, players were free to escape and the bounty removed from their heads.

“A treat awaited successful players – a Continental themed bar which spanned two floors and displayed costumes and props from the film; themed drinks; computer stations to play John Wick Hex and not to mention the gorgeous Ramsay (@bluestaffy) who stole the show and attracted a lot of attention and cuddles!

“A host of influencers and celebs from across the entertainment and gaming worlds took on the escape room to great success on the launch night; guests included Chris Eubank Jnr, Nathan Henry, Tallia Storm, Olivia Cox, Kieran Nicholls and Tyla Carr. Reactions were all extremely positive with plenty of Instagram and social coverage going live on the night – search the hashtag #JohnWickExcommunicado to take a further look.

“Following the launch event, the experience was not over as Tuesday 17th Sept saw the escape room experience open up to the public. For the chance to win a coveted slot in the escape room, the public entered a free online raffle hosted on a bespoke microsite. With over 2,000 entries, competition was fierce but the lucky few descended on the escape room and by all accounts had a thoroughly enjoyable – if tense – experience.

“It was a great achievement to be able to collaborate with Good Shepherd in this way and help elevate the release of John Wick 3, creating the type of buzz usually reserved for theatrical releases and really putting Mr Wick on the map as a must-own home entertainment proposition and one of the key event-size releases of the year so far.”

Lionsgate’s support helped the film to an opening frame totalling around the 200,000 mark across digital and physical, an indication that if you make the effort, and if you confer event status on a film, then sales should hit numbers as large as John Wick’s body count…

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