This year alone, we’re seeing some things in filmmaking that push the boundaries of what’s legally and perhaps ethically acceptable. If that’s already a perpetual debate about general content of films and the ratings system, you have movies like “Escape from Tomorrow” that straddles the line of the law because it was filmed in Disney World and Disneyland without permission.
Then you have the odd publicity stunt for a new “Carrie” remake that took place in a New York City coffee shop. Done with actors acting naturally, the stunt featured a Carrie-like customer with telekinesis levitating another customer to the wall and shaking up the room. It reportedly freaked out a number of real customers to a point of panic and run.
Yes, to some people this might look like marketing on a masterful level. However, it tells us one thing about the future of movie marketing: It’s probably changed forever because of the media this stunt received. In the age of flash mob events that usually bring much more joyful events (other than people showing up dressed like zombies), are we going to see more staged events like this to shock people into paying attention to a movie?
Trying to get people to pay attention probably isn’t as complicated as marketing departments think. In fact, doing something that’s silent and very anti-shocking can sometimes make people pay more attention than when having their senses assaulted. This marketing campaign, though, takes it to territory that’s a little risky in the age of the public using a third eye to scope out terroristic acts.
Can you imagine what would have happened had someone thought it was real and did something to tackle the woman showcasing her telekinetic prowess? The people behind this “Carrie” stunt must have considered the possibility, even if their argument would be that most people could see it wasn’t terrorism. Yet, with knee-jerk reactions common, there might not be any thinking when quick destruction appears to be taking place.
All told, this probably helped the “Carrie” remake when some might be rubbed the wrong way at this tale being retold. And it’s something that someone like Alfred Hitchcock possibly could have done back in the day had he thought it out. In fact, there’s no telling that perhaps he considered it and was told it would be too risky legally. But that was back when it really could have worked, because no one had an outlying fear of terrorism on their local city blocks.
Eventually, we should expect a whole business wrapped around secret role-playing marketing events for movies. Don’t be surprised to see those events happen in multiple cities at unexpected locations. Plus, with the horror genre oversaturated, it may have to be from a movie that doesn’t involve violence. That doesn’t mean those events won’t find some way of being shocking in numerously different ways to make headlines.
To lessen risk, they may need role-playing law enforcement to come in and break up the scene so there isn’t a chance of a citizen attempting to become a hero. As with all practical jokes, the role-playing police would have to let everyone know they’ve just been victims of the latest movie marketing scheme.