Don’t Forget To Hype

tomorrowland boxKnowing the right tool for every project is the hallmark of a true professional. Disney’s marketing strategy for its several new Star Wars projects involves a hurricane of stories reassuring everyone the franchise is in good hands. In contrast, the studio’s plan for rousing interest in the movie Tomorrowland is to spoon-feed the social media stories that convince people Disney is making every effort to keep them from finding out anything about it.

Telling folks “Don’t look over here!” is a real art. In the case of Tomorrowland, things began January 23 when Pixar Animation Studios writer/director Brad Bird and screenwriter/producer David Lindelof posted photos of an old banker’s box labled “1952” on their personal Twitter accounts. There followed widespread speculation about the contents of the box – such as the coincidental report and in-depth analysis posted to Disney’s own D23 site:

From the age, type, and conditions of the items I can see, I feel that the materials in the box were gathered together for a project from the past. Perhaps as research for a science-fiction-themed film, television, or park attraction, or even a futurism project like Walt’s vision of EPCOT.

Then, a few days ago, Disney revealed that the movie — first referred to merely as 1952 — had a real title — Tomorrowland, a star – George Clooney, and a release date – December 19, 2014.

Deadline shuffled together the few scraps of info in its possession and dealt them this way:

George Clooney is starring in a story that supposedly is about a man who encounters alien life on Earth.

Filmmakers happily reeled in that rumor and tweeted a coy response:

We won’t tell you what it’s about (yet), but we will tell you what it’s NOT about. And that would be ALIENS. #Tomorrowland

Something more we do know about Tomorrowland is that the script has been written by Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird.

Lindelof’s resume includes Lost and another project set in the cryptic universe of the Aliens movies, Prometheus — he clearly knows how to build an audience by engaging them in an ever-evolving mystery, and Tomorrowland appears to be using the same playbook.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Forget To Hype

  1. The blue book in the picture is a copy of Alex Roland’s Model Research : the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, 1915-1958, published in 1985. At the base of its spine (on the left) is the circular NASA Seal, which differs from the more familiar NASA “meatball.”

    The archivist does not mention the gray metal object in the right-hand bottom corner. It resembles a small rocket thruster, with a nozzle-like shape on the left, a bulbous gray thrust chamber, and a silvery nut on the right that might connect it to a gaseous or liquid propellant supply line.

    However, when I examine pictures of some small rocket engines, I see that their nozzles invariably end in a circle whose plane is perpendicular to the nozzle’s axis. This “nozzle” is beveled, cut so its open end is elliptical in shape. Maybe if I looked harder, or consulted more expert rocket engineers, I would find a real thruster that resembles this one. Or maybe it just looks cooler that way.

    The information about Amazing, Doc Smith, and the flying man on the 1928 cover will probably be old hat to readers here. The Disneyland rocket belt flights of 1966 by Bell Aerospace’s Bill Suitor were covered in Matt Novak’s Paleofuture blog in 2008.

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