June 21, 2006

Idea: A new movie gimmick

I’ve had this idea for a while. I imagine it’s not practical, but I like the concept.

Imagine a movie campaign that doesn’t show you any scenes from the movie. It doesn’t even tell you the genre. It just features respected people from the world of entertainment telling you that, while they can’t tell you much about the film, they can highly recommend it. But they’re afraid to give anything away, so you’ll just have to trust them.

So you go see it. It’s about a bank heist gone wrong (or whatever). And it’s intense and scary and suspenseful. And then you mention it to your friend. She saw it also, but she didn’t find it scary at all. To the contrary, she thought it was hilarious.

“What do you mean hilarious? That scene where he holds his own mother hostage while the snipers are about to shoot him had me on the edge of my seat!”

“The edge of your seat? No way. That was one of the funniest scenes in the whole film!”

Turns out that there are actually two separate movies made with the same cast, same sets, and same basic plot and key scenes. But one is written for suspense, and one is written for comedy. Which version you see depends entirely on what movie theater you ended up in. The fun comes once people realize this. Then hopefully they’ll go out to see the version they missed.

Of course, the success relies on a lot of unlikely circumstances: Will people see a movie they know nothing about? Will both versions of the movie be good? Will the secret stay a secret long enough for people to be surprised? Can the logistics and cost of making two movies simultaneously be justified? Like I said, it’s probably not real practical. But I like the idea.

Related: Idea: A new TV show gimmick


Your gimmick reminds me of the movie Clue, how they had three different endings. I think that was the only time my folks ever saw the same movie more than once. So your gimmick might actually work. You could even have a single trailer, edited with only the scenes in common between the two of them. Of course, the hardest part would be getting the critics not to blab.

My own favorite movie gimmick idea was to somehow ring all the cell phones in the theater at the end of The Ring. That woulda’ scared the poop outta’ me.

Thats a really good idea. Love your site, btw.

THIS idea is GENIUS. I would totally go see that movie.

…but what if you go to see the “other” version but it turns out to be the first version? Then you have to go again! Ha!

That’s actually a pretty cool idea. Not practical, but a great idea. (like most of your ideas….)

of course you already know this but this tactic was more or less used for Cloverfield… fairly successfully. Good work on the idea :)

Oh, hey! In June of 2006, you are Jorge Luis Borges! I am jealous.