I was just reading an interesting article in the new issue of Maxim (not available online, as far as I can tell) about 42 Entertainment, the marketing comapny behind The Dark Knight’s viral campaign when I stumbled across this video created by Alternative Reality Branding (via: FSR).
The bottom line effects of viral marketing on a film’s box office and DVD sales have yet to be proven. But watching this video on 42 Entertainment’s Why So Serious campaign will help make you a believer. It will be interesting to see how companies like 42 Entertainment and CampfireNYC (the film behind Terminator Salvation’s SkyNet campaign) will use the next few years to create a connection between the film and the potential audience. One can’t deny that the interactive experience is cool, but the arguemnt is if a viral is actually is worth the millions of dollars that it costs a movie studio.
For a film like The Dark Knight, I believe a viral keeps the fans excited and causes a word of mouth stir that is worthy of the investment. Fans feel like they are a part of the movie and take it upon themselves to promote the movie to friends, family, and anyone who will listen. On the other hand, Sony hired 42 Entertainment for The International. The resulting alternative reality game was just as good as the company’s Why So Serious campaign, but fans just wen’t interested and the turn out was minimal in comparison. My conclusion so far is that Virals only work in two arenas: 1. With a project hidden in mystery that fans are eager to uncover (ie Cloverfield) or 2. A Highly anticipated property that has a year or more runway to develop a connection with it’s audience.
Our friend Felipe from CSTSE points out that Tagruato, the evil Japanese corporation from the Cloverfield viral campaign, has a cameo in JJ Abrams‘ Star Trek. A skyscraper in a futuristic San Francisco (home to Starfleet Academy) features the Tagruato logo. A cool little Easter egg. Knowing Abrams, Star Trek is bound to be full of little nods like this to Abrams’ other films and Trek history.
The latest episode of South Park, titled Pandemic, had a sequence spoofing Cloverfield. You can watch the entire episode at South Park Studios, or just watch the Cloverfield clip below, thanks to our friends at Cloverfield Clues.
During the Comic Con panel for Fringe, someone asked J.J. Abrams if there were any updates on a Cloverfield sequel. Abrams response started off very much in the same way that it did when he was asked about it before, but then he let slip a piece of information that is sure to spark conjecture amongst fans.
“There’s something we’re playing with now that may or may not happen. There’s an idea we have that plays with… it’s not a literal sequel.“
Unfortunately, that’s where the discussion ended. Abrams is known for being pretty tight-lipped when it comes to his projects, so all we can do is wonder what exactly him and director Matt Reeves (who he confirmed would be directly involved if it happened) have in store for us. Considering that they’re still talking about the sequel this late in the game, and that they’ve already established they wouldn’t want to just re-use the handheld gimmick in the same way they did before, it’s nice to know that they’re not just trying to get a sequel out there based purely on the success of the original. If they do it, it will be because they have a good idea to back it up.
Charles Grodin will cameo in Jason Segel‘s new Muppet Movie. [mtv]
TorrentSpy already shut its doors earlier this year, and now they have been hit with a $110 million judgment against its parent company, Valence Media. The MPAA has won. [mashable]
Collider has a preview of their set report of G.I. Joe.
Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman have just completed a screenplay based on Mark Millar’s graphic comic book ‘Kick-Ass‘. [dailymail]
HollywoodInk has a poster for this year’s Summer movie season (pictured left). Rotten Tomatoes has an exclusive video diary from the set of Quantum of Solace.
Vulture wonders what unsung comic book superheroes should star in The Avengers.
Ellen Page is set to play one of English literature’s most famous characters, the eponymous heroine of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. [Variety]
Topless Robot counts down the 11 Best Songs from Geek-Movie Soundtracks.
Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt will star in the Marc Webb-helmed romantic comedy 500 Days of Summer for Fox Searchlight, which centers on a man (Gordon-Levitt) who falls hopelessly in love with a woman (Deschanel) who doesn’t believe in love. [variety]
CineVegas has announced their line-up which includes: The Rocker, Dark Streets, Your Name Here, Beautiful Losers, Chelsea on the Rocks, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Choke, and Schoof [thecircuit]
The Sundance Channel has been acquired by New York-based Cablevision Systems for $496 million in stock and cash. [imdb]
Director Darren Lynn Bousman has officially been asked to direct the remake to Hellraiser. [bloody-disgusting]
A bunch of websites are posting what they claim to be the first photos from Cloverfield 2. My friend Dennis from CloverfieldClues sent these over to me last week, and I wasn’t really sure they were newsworthy or not. Truth is, these are not photos from a Cloverfield sequel. The following photos are the result of the viral alternate reality game from the first film.
The pictures show the discovery of the Cloverfield monster and parasites by Tagruato subs, deep on the ocean floor, near Tagruato’s Chuai Oil Drilling Station. The depth meter on the second photo reads 10,027.5 Meters, which would be over six miles below the surface. These photos were taken before the events in the first Clvoerfield film. The sub probably disturbed the monster, which caused the destruction of Chuai Station, and the eventual destruction of New York City. So if anything, consider this the end of the prequel.
Here is a round up of stories that just didn’t make the /Film front page, or what we like to call…. Page 2!
Expect the first reviews of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on Sunday May 18th at 6:30am-ish eastern time, as that is when press at Cannes will have seen the film. Domestic press will see the film later that afternoon/night at nationwide press screenings. [jeffwells] Harland Williams will make the transition from acting to directing with “Wing Man“, a new $10 million dollar comedy. [moviehole]
5.5 million households added a high-definition television set to their furnishings for the first time during the period from last year’s holiday season to this year’s Super Bowl. [imdb]
On April 29th, Apple iTunes will release the long-awaited end credits overture “ROAR!” from Cloverfield by Michael Giacchino. [Bloody-Disgusting]
AICN has another new Wanted movie poster featuring Angelina Jolie’s scrawny arm.
Seven people were injured Saturday in a collision between a bus and several cars during the filming of G.I. Joe in the center of Prague. [shh] Filmdrunk‘s headline GOD TRIES TO STOP GI JOE MOVIE is both hilarious and in bad taste.
Deadbolt wonders what Quentin Tarantino could do with a big screen adaptation of Grand Theft Auto.
The good people at Pixar are growing frustrated of the Walt Disney Imagineers. [jimhill]
io9 ponders Why Do Anti-Heroes rule Science Fiction?
I heard a couple months ago that a Cloverfield sequel had been put on the backburner. With the recent release of the DVD, talk of a Cloverfield sequel has begun to reappear. Producer JJ Abrams tells G4’s Attack of the Show that they have a good idea:
“There is a couple ideas that Drew Goddard , the writer, and Matt Reeves have that are pretty fantastic. So we’re playing around with some ideas and obviously if it isn’t something that really excited us and inspires us, we won’t do it. But there are some good ideas out there.”
When asked if the second film would be shot using the first person video camera style employed by the first film, Abrams replied:
“It could. I think it’s a valid style,” Abrams continued. “I think as a gimmick, people have already seen it, so if you’re going to do it, you have to do something unique with it.”
Abrams also confirms that there is absolutely no connection between LOST and Cloverfield, as he called the use of the Dharma logo a wink to his friends working on the popular sci-fi television series. You can watch the full interview with JJ Abrams below.
/Film reader Ignatius F informed me that a new photo has appeared on the old Cloverfield website 1-18-08.com. The photo is a Missing Flyer featuring “Teddy Hanssen last seen 12/07/2007”
Teddy Hanssen is the long-distance boyfriend of Jamie Lascano, a character who was featured extensively in the teaser trailer, but only seen in the film laying unconscious on the couch at the party. One of the viral websites, Jamieandteddy.com (password “jllovesth”), shows videoblogs made by Jamie talking about their relationship, which eventually turns sour. She was also revealed to be the roommate of Marlena. The couple met at a New York City club and dated briefly before Teddy left to go on a trip. In the fourth video, Jamie mentions ‘The Cause’ and says that Teddy can talk about it all he wants. In the fifth video, Teddy tells her that he’s been captured by ‘a company called Tagruato’, but she doesn’t believe him. Thinking that he was lying because he was seeing someone else, she dumped him. Included in that package was a small packet of something wrapped in silver foil with the note:
Jamie later eat the contents of the packet mocking Teddy to her video camera in the eighth video posted on January 9th, less than a week before the Cloverfield Monster attacked New York City.
It’s also worth noting that the back of the new photo features a weird logo and number in the corner:
The same logo is featured on a label on the DVD release (photo via Bloody Disgusting):
What does this all mean? I’m not quite sure. No one at Paramount has any clue about the new 1-18-08.com viral. From what I understand, the whole thing has always been kept internally at Bad Robot. You would think this might just something Bad Robt planned to spark interest in the DVD release.
Some people are suggesting that this could have something to do with a possible Cloverfield sequel or the rumored to be JJ Abrams project codenamed ALADYGMA. But no one I know seems to know anything about that project, to the point that I’m not sure it even exists at all. I know that sequel talk was put on the backburner when the Cloverfield monster failed to have legs, but the film has done extremely well overseas. The movie opened in Japan this weekend, and while numbers are not yet available, I’m sure it will be popular in the land of Godzilla. Check out this cool graph from CloverfieldClues.
The Cloverfield Monster might not have legs, but it sure has a long tail (Cloverfield hit the $80,000,000 mark in the US after making $40 million in its first weekend, it has taken another 11 weeks to double that). The film has taken in over $158 million worldwide to date.
Discuss: Do you still want to see a Cloverfield sequel?