In recent times, movie marketing has increasingly become an art unto itself. Gone are the days of simply organizing merchandising tie-in opportunities and TV spots. In these heady days of social media and viral ad campaigns, film studios are having to become more and more creative with their movie promotions, in order to stay ahead of the competition. Thankfully, projects like Ready Player One provide all manner of possibilities for breaking the mold.
The adaptation of the bestselling novel by Ernest Cline is being directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg, and is set to arrive in theatres on March 30th, 2018 – but Warner Bros. has no intention of resting on its laurels. Acknowledging the high level of anticipation surrounding Ready Player One, the studio has already begun to reach out to potential audiences – much as it did with this year’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. This time, however, it is doing so by offering artists the chance to have their work actually featured in the movie.
The plot presents a situation in which reality and virtual reality meet, as the creator of a popular video game dies. A virtual contest is launched in which players compete for the creator’s wealth.
“From Steven Spielberg comes the action adventure READY PLAYER ONE, the much-anticipated big-screen adaptation of the groundbreaking bestseller by Ernest Cline.
“In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia know as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within the confines of this digital world, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win – and confront the real world he’s been so desperate to escape.”
It’s a story about a virtual competition, so what better way to get the promotional ball rolling, than by launching a virtual contest – albeit one with less deadly consequences. Partnering with Talenthouse Art Works, Warner Bros. is seeking artists to design a 3D avatar, which could potentially feature in the film.
A minimum of five artists will be selected – each earning $1000 in exchange for the assignment of all rights to the work. Beyond that, the production may also select other artists, whose avatar work may feature as background art in the film – each of whom will earn $250 in exchange for the assignment of all rights.
The deadline for the submission of 3D avatar designs is June 23rd, 2016 – almost two years before the film’s release. This means that, firstly, the search for fan-made 3D avatars is an important, early part of the production process and, secondly, there is a good chance Warner Bros. has a number of other plans in its promotional playbook, designed to keep interest in Ready Player One simmering nicely until 2018.