Second Tomorrowland Trailer Released

A nixie tube readout begins the second trailer for Disney’s Tomorrowland movie — but what do the numbers mean?

Bound by a shared destiny, a teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory.

In theaters May 22, 2015.

Tomorrowland Teaser Trailer

Disney began promoting its movie Tomorrowland in 2013 with cryptic tweets and a mysterious box.

Now that the movie’s release is only seven months away they’re back to using conventional weapons of mass publicity – like this teaser trailer which I saw last weekend while attending Big Hero 6. (Tomorrowland comes to theaters May 22, 2015.)

The first hints about Tomorrowland came early in 2013 from photos of an old banker’s box labeled “1952” tweeted by filmmakers Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof. Widespread speculation about the contents of the box followed.

Last August during D23 the duo brought the mystery box onstage with them and spent their time rummaging through its contents.

But at that very moment the real secrets of Tomorrowland were more likely to be learned in Vancouver, not Anaheim, where the producers had built a replica of the 1964 New York World’s Fair and the plot was thickening.

A leaked synopsis seems more credible now after seeing the New York World’s Fair set that crew have built on the Main Mall at the University of British Columbia (UBC). According to ScreenRant, when Frank Walker is a boy he learns about Tomorrowland at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. There he meets David Nix who shows off his successful work and tells the youngster to come back when he is older and his inventions work.  A young girl Athena  (actually a robot)  is the one who sneaks young Frank into Tomorrowland where Nix is the Mayor who decides to throw him out. What happened to Tomorrowland?  Does it still exist in an alternate dimension? Young Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), now middle-aged inventor Frank Walker (George Clooney) and still young robot Athena (Raffey Cassidy) team up to save it from Mayor Nix (Hugh Laurie), who values technical accomplishment over creativity.

Tomorrowland_logo 2


tomorrowland boxWhat is the movie Tomorrowland going to be about? Rather than tell us, filmmakers Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof are turning their project into an irresistible mystery. Lindelof has already proven with Lost he can hook people and keep them on the line for years.

The publicity mystery began with the release of photos of an old banker’s box labeled “1952” on the duo’s personal Twitter accounts. Widespread speculation about the contents of the box followed.

At last weekend’s D23 Expo the pair brought the mystery box onstage with them and spent their time rummaging through its contents.

There was a blueprint for the “It’s a Small World” attraction at the 1964 World’s Fair. Also, a 1928 issue of Amazing Stories containing a story titled “Armageddon 2419 A.D.” and a piece of cardboard with strategic cutouts that, when placed over the text of the tale, generated cryptic phrases like “I’ve seen across the gap.”

And, reports Hero Complex, there was a doctored photo

Bird noted that “the very word ‘Tomorrowland’ is evocative,” and he and Lindelof showed the audience a photograph of Walt Disney with Amelia Earhart labeled “April 1945,” which, of course, is years after the famed pilot’s disappearance. The photo is, of course, a fake, Disney’s face was pasted onto the body of Cary Grant.

Lindelof said, “It’s our jobs as storytellers to say, What if this photograph was real?”

Others might say it’s their job as storytellers to tell us the story. Ah, but for that we have to wait until December 2014 — and buy a ticket.

Keeping an Eye on Tomorrowland

Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie

I thought it was time to follow up on Tomorrowland, the Walt Disney Studios project I wrote about in “Don’t Forget To Hype”, which is gaining attention through cryptic publicity.

The movie, directed by Brad Bird and co-written by Damon Lindelof, was originally announced under the working title 1952.

We now know that Hugh Laurie (House) will play the villain opposite George Clooney’s hero.  

The film will shoot in Vancouver beginning August 1, according to the B.C. Film Commission.

And casting sheets give this synopsis of the story:

A teenage girl, a genius middle-aged man (who was kicked out of Tomorrowland) and a pre-pubescent girl robot attempt to get to and unravel what happened to Tomorrowland, which exists in an alternative dimension, in order to save Earth.

Alternatively, The Guardian says this about the story:

Described as a paean to Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the 1978 film in which a man goes in search of aliens who are visiting Earth…

Can it be, the less you know, the more you’ll want to see the film?

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.