Monday, November 19, 2007


It looks like my prediction last week was a little off. While I guessed that the Cloverfield trailer had to arrive online by Friday (when Beowulf hit theaters), it took Quicktime until today to get it up.

Cloverfield Trailer
Much improved and a lot of action. I thought the Statue of Liberty head in the first teaser looked a little too CG. It would seem that so did Abrams and Reeves, as the sequence now looks a whole bunch better.

What did surprise me is how much action there is. Explosions and destruction everywhere. Wasn't this supposed to be a semi-low budget film? I don't know, looks like a big-budget tentpole to me.

We don't get to see the creature, but do get to see the silhouette of one of its spawn. It isn't much, but at least they aren't pulling a Blair Witch on us.

Check out the trailer for Cloverfield (yes, that's the title) at Quicktime. To prevent the leaking of plot information, instead of auditioning the actors with scenes from the film, scripts from previous Abrams productions were used, such as television series Alias. Some scenes were also written specifically for the audition process, not intended for use in the film. Despite not being told the premise of the film, Lizzy Caplan stated that she accepted a role in Cloverfield solely because she was a fan of the Abrams-produced television series Lost, and that her experience of discovering its true nature meant that she would not sign on for a film in the future "without knowing full well what it is." She indicated that her character was a sarcastic outsider, and that her role was "physically demanding."[8]

J. J. Abrams conceived of a new monster after he and his son visited a toy store in Japan. He explained, "We saw all these Godzilla toys, and I thought, we need our own monster, and not King Kong, King Kong's adorable. I wanted something that was just insane and intense."[9] In February 2007, Paramount Pictures secretly greenlit Cloverfield, to be produced by J. J. Abrams, directed by Matt Reeves, and written by Drew Goddard. The project is under production by Abrams' company, Bad Robot Productions.[2]

The casting process was carried out in secret, with no script being sent out to candidates. With production estimated to have a budget of $30 million, filming began in mid-June in New York.[2] One cast member indicated that the film would look like it cost $150 million because the producers did not cast recognizable and expensive actors.[8] Location filming, shot in digital video using hand-held video cameras,[10] took place on Coney Island, with scenes being shot at Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park and the B&B Carousel.[7] Some interior shots were filmed on a soundstage at Downey, California.[11]

As Transformers showed high tracking numbers before its release in July 2007, Paramount decided to release a teaser for Cloverfield before the film to build hype. The teaser footage is shot with a hand-held camera to emulate a home-movie style, and did not reveal the name of the film, but showed a release date of January 18, 2008. The teaser was leaked onto YouTube by people who recorded it with camcorders, but Paramount invoked its copyright claim to have the links removed.[2] Paramount eventually made the teaser trailer available to the public at[12] A second trailer debuted before the 2007 film Beowulf, released on November 16, 2007, and then on the internet on November 19, 2007, which confirmed the title Cloverfield.[3]

The studio kept knowledge of the project secret from the online community, a cited rarity due to the presence of scoopers that follow upcoming films. The controlled release of information of the film has been observed as a risky strategy, in which success could equate The Blair Witch Project (1999) or disappoint like Snakes on a Plane (2006), the latter of which had generated online hype but failed to attract large audiences. Chad Hartigan of Exhibitor Relations Co. viewed the several issues with the potential of the film: lack of major stars, the underwhelming performance of Godzilla-style films in America, and the film's slated release in January, considered a "dumping ground for bad films".[13]

Plot speculation
Since the release of the teaser, the media has reported numerous possibilities about what the film would be about. USA Today reported the possibilities of the film being based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, a live-action adaptation of Voltron, a new film about Godzilla, or a spin-off of the TV show Lost.[14] The Star Ledger also reported the possibility of the film being based on Lovecraft lore or Godzilla.[15] The Guardian also reported the possibility of a Lost spin-off,[16] while Time Out reported that the film was about an alien called The Parasite.[17] IGN also backed the possibility of the same premise, with The Parasite also being the working title for the film.[18] Chocolate Outrage was also a working title at one point during production.[8] In chats, Slusho and Colossus have been discussed as possible titles.[19] Entertainment Weekly also disputed reports that the film would be about a parasite or a colossal Asian robot such as Voltron.[10]

Visitors of Ain't It Cool News have pointed out 9/11 allusions based on the destruction in New York City such as the decapitated Statue of Liberty. The film has also drawn alternate reality game enthusiasts that have followed other viral marketing campaigns like those set up for the TV series Lost, the video game Halo 2, and the upcoming Batman film The Dark Knight. Members of the forums at and have investigated the background of the film, with the "1-18-08" section at Unfiction generating over 7,700 posts in August 2007. The members have studied photographs on the film's official site, potentially related MySpace profiles, and the Comic-Con teaser poster for the film.[13]

Viral websites
Puzzle websites containing Lovecraftian elements, such as Ethan Haas Was Right, were originally reported to be connected to the film.[14][16] On July 9, 2007, producer J. J. Abrams stated that, while a number of websites were being developed to market the film, the only official site that had been found was[20] At the site, a collection of time-coded photos are provided to visitors to piece together a series of events and interpret their meanings.[21] In addition, Kirk Montgomery of Colorado's 9NEWS reported an inside source's claim that the website "has lots of clues", though this has not been officially confirmed as a marketing campaign website.[22] The Washington Post also reported, "Records showed that the Slusho Web site was registered before the trailer aired, indicating that the site almost had to be official."[23]

At Comic-Con in July 2007, Abrams was expected to announce the official title of the movie at the Paramount panel.[24] Abrams however did not reveal an official title for the film and also denied that it would be called Monstrous, a rumored title at the time.[25] He added that the marketing campaign would continue, in which a full trailer, clips, posters and the title would be released. The producer also reported that the film was still in production but filming was almost completed.[9] Attendees of the Paramount panel were given T-shirts featuring the "Slusho!" logo.[26]


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