Friday, August 03, 2007

Mysterious movie websites

By Steve Lee

Websites for films have become a vital part of every movie's marketing. Many websites featuring fictional aspects from upcoming films have appeared. Ever since "The Blair Witch Project" showed how the internet could turn a low budget project into a phenomenon, studios have been looking for more inventive ways to capture the public's curiosity using websites.

Because of the mystery surrounding it, "Blair Witch" had the added bonus of being able to convince fans that its backstory was true. But even when there's no question that it's only a movie, mysterious websites that gradually reveal clues about a film's plot keep attracting eager fans right up to its release date.

A few websites that are running with this concept have caught my eye recently...

Buy-N-Large is supposedly the company that manufactures the title robot in Pixar's next feature, "Wall-E." There's lot to explore in the fanciful Flash site, and you can find some clues about the film's backstory (as well as a LOT of hidden references to previous Pixar movies). The site includes the promise of a Store that's "Coming Soon." (Editor's note: This site was down at the time of this post, but it is expected to return.)

Don't be fooled by a website called "Rent-A-Clown." It's not really a showcase for up-and-coming clowns, but really it's displaying pictures of fans made-up as Heath Ledger's "Joker" character in the next film in the "Batman" franchise, due out in July of next year from Warner Bros.

Probably the biggest buzz out there on the internet right now is about a yet untitled film from producer J.J. Abrams code named "Cloverfield." A teaser trailer attached to "Transformers" earlier this summer began to spark interest. A website addressed by the film's release date - 1-18-08 - started revealing single images (at the rate of about one a week) that we assume came from one of the film's characters. And fans have discovered a mysterious site for what seems to be a Japanese dessert called SLUSHO. Astute observers have noticed the same product pop up on television in the TV shows "Alias" and "Lost" - both created by Abrams. Some have also pointed out that a character in the trailer for this film can be spotted wearing a SLUSHO T-Shirt... if you don't blink.

By the way... you can get SLUSHO T-Shirts from their website.

Let's hear it for brilliant Internet marketing campaigns.


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