What follow is total speculation, but it’s a fun exercise while the calendar cooperates:
We couldn’t help but notice that tomorrow’s date is January 18th, or 1-18-11 numerically speaking. This is the same date in 2008 when the Abrams-produced monster megahit CLOVERFIELD was unleashed in theaters, and much of the viral game promoting that film was centered on that 1-18 numerology. For months, the film was only known by its release date “1-18-08” from its first teaser trailer to its iconic teaser poster and eventual ARG website. On that same date, Abrams and Paramount also debuted the teaser trailer for his STAR TREK reboot, attached to CLOVERFIELD’s theatrical debut. The maiden voyage of his franchise hit rocketed into the box office stratosphere as well.
January 18th as been quite good to Abrams. Might he consider it a lucky talisman yet again, much like how Lucas almost superstitiously opens his franchise films on Memorial Day weekends?
We’re not saying SUPER 8 and CLOVERFIELD are directly connected — Abrams himself long ago dispelled that early fan theory. But even so, will the 1-18 date be too much coincidental fun for Abrams and his ARG puppet masters to pass up?
This past December during the holiday break, players of the SUPER 8 ARG who registered with the viral Rocket Poppeteers website received their official (and spiffy!) Astronaut Training Certificates in the mail, designating which fictitious fleet they’ve joined to explore the cosmos with the site’s figurehead, Captain “Coop” Cooper. This ties into a retro-style marketing campaign for the film based on a late-’50s/early-’60s era popsicle treat, drenched in the iconic, all-American imagery of the early Space Race. SUPER 8 itself is a look back at sci-fi through a Spielbergian lens accordingly as Abrams’ fond tribute to the cinematic legacy of Steven Spielberg‘s bold films of the 1970s including CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND when our attitudes for space exploration and the possibility of alien contact differed greatly from today’s grounded, uninspired cynicism.
Yet the viral game itself has stumbled for months in an on-again/off-again state of ARG progress, and while the arrival of players’ certificates gave hope the full viral campaign would finally launch, it hasn’t yet. Players received their officially registered ARG identities (astronaut names) and fleet assignments, but still have no way to login at the Poppeteers site to actually play.
Avid and eager viral devotees have expressed more than a little frustration at the delay, but the other moon boot must drop eventually. Have Abrams and his viral technicians set 1-18 to make all systems go? It’s unknown, but fans all know how much J.J. Abrams prizes the unknown in his universe, and rightly so. For now the countdown stands a T-minus-X and counting — the next 24 hours will tell if our speculative guesswork is right on target or a million miles off course. In either case, FilmEdge is A-OK and ready for duty, Mission Control.
Director J.J. Abrams is currently editing SUPER 8 which opens in theaters June 10, 2011.