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Director of ‘Keanu,’ Key and Peele film featuring cute kitty, upset at too much cute kitty marketing

Peter Atencio
“Keanu” director Peter Atencio took to Twitter to air his grievances about perceived marketing failures for the film.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

The director of “Keanu,” the R-rated action comedy starring Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key and an adorable kitten, took to Twitter on Monday to decry the film’s marketing campaign, which he felt focused too much on the fact that the film featured an adorable kitten.

Peter Atencio, who directed nearly every sketch of Key and Peele’s celebrated Comedy Central series “Key & Peele,” voiced his complaints on the social media platform in response to a tweet from the film’s official Twitter account featuring titular Keanu the kitten dressed as a barista.

“Keanu” premiered in theaters April 29 and was quickly outpaced at the box office by “The Jungle Book,” already in its third week of release. The raucous and explicit cat comedy clawed its way to over $20 million for its domestic box-office take, with nearly half, $9.4 million,  made opening weekend. 

https://twitter.com/KeanuMovie/status/747462449163444225
https://twitter.com/Atencio/status/747477969635926016
Peter Atencio, pictured with a kitten, during happier times.
Peter Atencio, pictured with a kitten, during happier times. (Buckner/Rex Shutterstock/Zuma Press/TNS)

Atencio’s frustrations are understandable, considering the film’s disappointing box-office take in relation to its budget of $15 million.

Beyond his initial tweet directly referencing the marketing for the DVD release of “Keanu,” Atencio went on to engage with other Twitter users about dealing with the studio during the promotions process. 

https://twitter.com/Atencio/status/747481170238005248
https://twitter.com/Atencio/status/747481594017906691
https://twitter.com/Atencio/status/747482441309265920

Clearly, Atencio is underwhelmed by the process. 

However, how does Atencio from the past feel about all of this kitten-based marketing? If only there were a way to find out!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBoXGfpQDxz/

OK, well, that doesn’t prove anything. The man likes cats! No one can hold that against him. It’s not exactly a surprise. He made an entire movie centered on an adorable cat (actually, seven) so of course he’d share pictures of his own.

What about before the film’s release? Did Atencio dig into promoting the film by focusing on the buddy film meets intense drug-world thriller?

Not … really.

https://twitter.com/Atencio/status/690375262551314436/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

OK, but that’s just January. Surely he pivoted as the release date drew nearer.

https://twitter.com/Atencio/status/698328399698202624
https://twitter.com/Atencio/status/700807342602911744
https://twitter.com/Atencio/status/703312893459050496

Maybe not.

But those are all studio-created shots. Atencio had no choice but to promote the film with whatever the studio provided with him. 

Given the natural marketing prowess of a tiny kitten, it would appear they decided to go with that.

Surely the director opted to go his own way when it came to promoting the film.

https://twitter.com/Atencio/status/718233739147505664

I give up.

“Keanu” arrives on DVD Aug. 2. It’s the movie featuring the cute kitten.

MORE

Peter Atencio, the silent partner behind 'Key & Peele,' makes his presence known throughout 'Keanu'

How Key and Peele got Keanu Reeves to voice a cat in 'Keanu'

Key and Peele movie 'Keanu' makes a funny but uneven SXSW debut​​​​​​​

libby.hill@latimes.com

Twitter: @midwestspitfire


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