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Monday, July 9, 2012

'Robocop' remake marketing starts two months before production



Robocop
Park operators plan to work with a number of intellectual property holders to provide themes for Robot Land's rides and attractions based on movie franchises like "Robocop." (Orion / July 9, 2012)
 

A remake of the sci-fi action movie "Robocop" that doesn't start production until September and won't hit theaters until August 2013 has already kicked off its marketing campaign online.

A new website for the film's fictional corporation Omnicorp launched over the weekend and immediately went viral. It features a fake sales video that serves as a teaser trailer of sorts for the picture, showing the company's ability to make a variety of high-tech law enforcement products, including the RC-2000, "where human resources meets robotic engineering."

Fans of the 1987 original film know Omni as the evil megacorporation whose creations include Robocop, code-named RC-2000. The video also depicts ED-209, Robocop's mechanical enemy, and a line of flying drones that monitor criminal activity.

While it's not unusual to kick off promotional campaigns with digital content designed to go viral, "Robocop" is starting particularly early, more than a year before the film appears in theaters. In addition, since the movie doesn't even begin shooting until the first week of September, there are no images or footage to show the public.

According to "legal" information at the bottom of the Omnicorp site, it was created by Sony Pictures digital, the studio's online marketing arm. "Robocop" is being produced by the recently revitalized Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which came out of bankruptcy in late 2010, but Sony is co-financing the movie and will handle worldwide distribution and marketing.

Directed by Brazilian filmmaker Jose Padilha in his Hollywood debut, "Robocop" stars Gary OldmanSamuel L. Jackson and Joel Kinnaman as the title character. The original movie grossed $53.4 million in the U.S. and Canada in 1987.

ALSO:
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'Spider-Man' flies to No. 1; 'Savages,' 'Katy Perry' are decent

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RIP Ernest Borgnine. 'Spider-Man' spins big web. Bryce to play in All Star Game. ESPN hunts political advertising. Dish! bribes customers to accept loss of AMC.


Ernest Borgnine dies at 95; won Oscar for 'Marty,' showed comic side in sitcom

Ernest Borgnine dies at 95; won Oscar for 'Marty,' showed comic side in sitcom

Shown accepting the Screen Actors Guild lifetime achievement award, Ernest Borgnine lived a long and fulfilling life. Not only as an actor, but in his work for charities and his love of children. The stocky, gap-toothed Connecticut native won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a lonely Bronx butcher looking for love in the 1955 drama 'Marty.' He also starred in the popular TV show 'McHale's Navy.' He died Sunday of renal failure.
Spider-Man cast a big web
Spider-Man cast a big web. (Sony Pictures)
 
After the coffee. Before getting my All-Star team bonus. 


Las Vegan, 19 year old Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, will play in tomorrow's All Star Game.


The Skinny:The baseball season is already half over? How'd that happen? Monday's headlines include the box office recap, a look at one company's plan to make going to the movies a more intense experience, curtain raisers for the Allen & Co. conference and a look at the life of Ernest Borgnine.


Are you ready for some politics? ESPN is looking to get a piece of all the political ad dollars that will be flying around this fall. The cable sports giant has reached an agreement with NCC Media, which is an advertising broker that also specializes in political commercials. Most politicians spend money on local broadcast stations but cable television is hoping to increase its take this year. More on ESPN's push from the Wall Street Journal.



Daily Dose: Satellite broadcaster Dish Network has apparently found a solution for customers peeved at its no longer carrying AMC weeks before the premiere of “Breaking Bad”: bribe them. One friend of the Morning Fix who uses Dish and called to complain was given a free Roku box to get Internet video on his TV and $36 off in credits to pay for downloading every episode of the cult hit show’s final season. Another customer reports that he got $10 off per month for the next year.


Get ready for 4-D.Think 3-D has already become passe? Well, Korean theater owner CJ Group is taking moviegoing to the next level. If there's smoke on the screen, it will be in a theater. If something's exploding in the movie, your seat will vibrate too. A look at what goes into making a movie 4-D and whether audiences will embrace it from the Los Angeles Times.

Valiant effort.Once seen as an up-and-comer before financial woes derailed it, comic book company Valiant Entertainment is attempting to make a comeback. Although the company has 1,500 characters, none are exactly brand names. But with Peter Cuneo, a former Marvel chief executive, at the helm and some eager investors, Valiant is hoping to make a splash in the movies. A look at Valiant's efforts to revive itself from the New York Times.

Come out, come out, wherever you are.In the wake of CNN's Anderson Cooper's low-key acknowledgment that he's gay, the Wrap wonders why some news, TV and music personalities are coming out but no big-time movie stars are following suit.

Mogul camp. On Tuesday, Sun Valley, Idaho, will be filled with the elite from the worlds of media, sports and tech as well as a few politicians and world leaders. Yes, it's time once again for investment bank Allen & Co.'s annual gathering of moguls. In between panel sessions, the all-powerful play tennis and go rafting while reporters try to lip read from far away. Previews from the Los Angeles Times and New York Post.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Oscar winner Ernest Borgnine, whose career ranged from big time movies to Nickelodeon's"SpongeBob SquarePants," died at the age of 95.

Follow me on Twitter. I'm trying to hit 10,000 followers by year's end. Twitter.com/JBFlint


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Dark Doings Among The D.C. Monuments

The Iwo Jima Memorial, on the Virginia side of the Potomac River overlooking Washington, D.C., is one of many capital landmarks that do double duty as crime scenes in the novels of author Mike Lawson.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images The Iwo Jima Memorial, on the Virginia side of the Potomac River overlooking Washington, D.C., is one of many capital landmarks that do double duty as crime scenes in the novels of author Mike Lawson.

In Washington, D.C., the glittering marble of public buildings and monuments can conceal the darkest of deeds. And in the crime novels of Mike Lawson, they do.

"When I started writing, the very first decision I made was, I wanted the book set in D.C.," says Lawson, who recently published his seventh Washington-based thriller, House Blood. "That was before I had a character, or anything else."
House Blood
House Blood
And he had a reason.

"It's a target-rich environment for a writer," Lawson says. "There's always something going on here — something corrupt or silly or sometimes heroic."

When Lawson got around to casting his thrillers, he created a lead character called Joe DeMarco, who works for the speaker of the House doing ... what needs to be done.

And he stayed with his plan of making Washington, D.C., the jumping-off place, seeing the city's familiar sights as good places for bad things to happen. In House Secrets, he picked the entrance to a Senate office building as the setting for an assassination attempt.

"The senator was going to walk through those doors right there," he says, walking me past the spot. A teenager with a gun, two shots fired, an unlucky aide — and the senator survives.
"The senator in this book is a fairly charismatic, lucky guy," Lawson says. "And once again, he was lucky, even though he's the bad guy."

'This Is DeMarco's Office'
When he's writing, Lawson needs to "see" what's happening; he likes to have a feel for where his characters hang out. Take DeMarco's office: Exploring the Capitol in the pre-Sept. 11 days, when citizens could roam the building more freely, Lawson decided Joe's office should be tucked away in the bowels of the building.

Nowadays, of course, we need special passes to get to the spot — tucked away in one of the many basements, roughly beneath the office of the speaker of the House.

"I walked into the Capitol, was in the rotunda, and I saw a set of steps with a little velvet rope across it," Lawson recalls. "And I just stepped over the rope, and nobody stopped me or said anything. And then I went down two flights of stairs. ... There was an emergency diesel generator room and printing office, and a janitor's space — and I said, 'Well, this is DeMarco's office.' "

Mike Lawson was a civilian Navy employee for many years, and spent some of that time based in Washington. He returns occasionally to keep his memories fresh and see how the city is changing.
Tara Gimmer Mike Lawson was a civilian Navy employee for many years, and spent some of that time based in Washington. He returns occasionally to keep his memories fresh and see how the city is changing.
This is an off-the-books office, with a fake title on the door — home turf for a well-connected guy with no job description.

"He's essentially a fixer," Lawson explains. "He goes and does stuff that the speaker doesn't want on the books. There's some little problem to be taken care of that he doesn't really want tied to the office."

'Worst Mistake You Can Make Is A Gun Mistake'
DeMarco's assignments are often reality-based: the Valerie Plame case, in which a CIA agent is "outed," figures in House Justice; in House Blood, Big Pharma is doing bad things with drug-testing in the developing world; The Inside Ring raises prophetic concerns about the president's protective detail. Most of the characters who move DeMarco's plots are vaguely familiar, too — although possibly meaner.

Among the non-touristy haunts of the fictional Joe DeMarco is the Georgetown restaurant The Guards, a cozy-shabby pub on the historic neighborhood's main strip.
Enlarge Wendy Cutler/Flickr Among the non-touristy haunts of the fictional Joe DeMarco is the Georgetown restaurant The Guards, a cozy-shabby pub on the historic neighborhood's main strip.

Our next stop on the DeMarco tour is a Georgetown eatery called The Guards, which DeMarco likes because it's quiet and not too expensive — all true. Lawson says he works hard to be accurate.

"If you're not accurate, it's jarring for the reader," he says. "It takes them out of the moment. I made a gun mistake in my first book. Worst mistake you can make is a gun mistake — to have all the people write and tell you how you got the gun wrong."

Across the river from Georgetown is the Iwo Jima Memorial, that massive bronze statue of Marines planting the flag — where two people are killed by snipers in Lawson's sixth D.C. thriller, House Divided.

"I could walk down here and see, 'Well, this is where the body's at, and this is the street, and there's the memorial, and up there in those trees is where the snipers were.' "
Actually visiting the scenes of his crimes helps Lawson keep things realistic. It helps him figure out how a scene would actually play out.
A sentinel walks post at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, another of the monumental backdrops in Lawson's crime novels.
  A sentinel walks post at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, another of the monumental backdrops in Lawson's crime novels.

"The view of one [sniper] was blocked by the memorial," he explains. "Before he could take the shot, he had to wait till the guy cleared the memorial."

Arlington Cemetery, just down the Potomac, shows up in several of Lawson's books — because everybody knows what it looks like, he says, and it sets a tone.

"It's beautiful, it's poignant. And then the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is just a remarkable place," Lawson says.

The sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknowns — changing the guard, marching with beautiful precision, guarding the peace of the dead — have a surprising role in House Divided.

"In one of the last scenes in the book, one of the guys who truly is kind of a bad guy, he's conflicted at this point," Lawson explains. "He used to be one of the sentinels, and he comes up here at dawn. ... And he's thinking about what he's doing" — following the orders of a rogue general — "and what he used to be like when he was one of those sentinels."

As a person who knows her way around the basements of Capitol Hill, I can say that Mike Lawson mostly gets it right. His scoundrels are a little more vivid, perhaps, his hero a big lug who plays dumber than he really is.

But where most Washington thrillers are exasperating to the locals, these are entertaining. And I guess I would like to live in a Washington where the good guys always win.