On a limited budget, we took Entertainment Studios’ prestige independent film, Hostiles, a hard-to-sell movie, with little publicity, and turned it into a box office hit largely on digital targeting.

On the surface, it would seem that Hostiles, had everything working against it. Genre: Western. Release date: December. Stars: Unavailable. Marketing turnaround: Four weeks. Using proprietary adtech, custom messages, tailoring and re-targeting, our program saturated 30 audience micro-segments.

To attract a significant number of moviegoers during the competitive December holiday period, we had to drastically maximize on consumer engagement surrounding the release.

Our Approach

R&C Digital did extensive audience research and market-by-market analysis to locate potential fans.

We identified 10 major segments and 30 micro-segments of consumers in the movie’s psychological demographic and created custom messages for each group: Those interested in “high art” saw different ads and content than fans of Westerns or epic survival tales. We used proprietary adtech to serve the digital ads, saturated each audience segment and tailored and re-targeted the ads based on consumer response.

The result was a Fist Full of Dollars. “Hostiles” opened to more than $10 million, double the box office projections. Our Adtech targeting delivered $3.67 in value for every $1 spent and relevant audience reach was 85% (industry standard: 10%). Trailer completion rate was 77.5% (industry standard: 34%) plus our digital effort pulled extra weight: stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and Ben Foster had no digital footprint, and talent was unavailable for most PR.


Hostiles opened to more than double the box office projections.


(Industry standard: 34%)
trailer completion rate


(Industry standard: 10%)
relevant audience reach