Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2013 by Peter Sciretta
For the 2013 San Diego Comic Con, Legendary Entertainment spared no expense to create one of the coolest real world ARG experiences I’ve ever been part of. And thats a tough claim considering all the awesome viral events 42 Entertainment has created over the years in San Diego and elsewhere, most specifically for Tron Legacy and The Dark Knight. 42, an outside marketing company started by former Walt Disney Imagineers, has always struggled with the studios to provide these big real world experiences. Legendary Entertainment recently acquired film marketing agency Five33, which gives the team unprecedented access to work from within to create what might not be possible at other outside marketing companies.
The Godzilla Encounter is a ticketed experience set in a building which is a mere five minute walk outside of the San Diego Convention Center. /Film was given a preview of the experience, which will be open to fans from Thursday to Sunday. What did we see? Did we survive a Godzilla attack? See photos and watch our video blog after the jump.
The experience is mostly a tribute to the old Godzilla movies, letting fans walk down a recreation of a street from Tokyo filled with Godzilla artifacts, props and memorabilia. Every piece of the street features multiple details referencing the giant green monster. At the end of the street sits a sushi restaurant complete with actors taking the role of chefs and customers.
Suddenly alarms sounds and men in hazmat suits escorts groups of up to 25 people through an alley into a lab where we were sprayed with air and brushed with a wand before we were approved entry.
In the lab we saw monitors showing Godzilla’s invasion, and a scientist yelling in Japanese escorted us to a large elevator. I was told to hit the button for the roof, which I did, and the gigantic elevator recreation began to shake and move in the way you expect. But something happened around the 26th floor and the elevator shut down. We got out into a 26th floor office and were told to be quiet.
We could hear the footsteps of Godzilla nearby. The big green monster eventually “walked by” — via a huge projection outside the blind-covered window that was part of the set in front of us. We were told this is not Godzilla from the new film, but I have a feeling we saw something close. He looked very much like classic old school Godzilla, but huge, and outside our “skyscraper window”.
The experience ended with the Legendary crew handing out lithograph posters of the Mondo Godzilla poster. This experience is the closest thing to a Disneyland or Universal Studios attraction that I’ve ever experienced just as pure marketing. The experience is 7 minutes in total, and if you have the time try to check it out at Comic Con.
Unfortunately, Legendary Entertainment would not allow us to photograph any of the experience outside of the Tokyo street. I’m sure someone will tape the encounter and leak it online at some point. We do have photos from the Tokyo street set and a video blog I recorded with Germain Lussier talking about the experience.