‘10 Cloverfield Lane’: A Potential Game-Changer for Hollywood

Back when Cloverfield was released in 2008, the found footage approach to filmmaking was still in its prime. The film’s unique take on giant monster movies made such a splash that rumors soon began swirling about a possible sequel or spin-off. Yet, no one expected Paramount Pictures to unleash a teaser trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane, a film that no one even knew was in production let alone expected to hit theaters this March. Needless to say, it instantly earns a place among our most-anticipated sci-fi films of 2016.

Considering that the ultra-secretive J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Trek Into Darkness) serves as a producer on the film, perhaps the fact that our first footage of 10 Cloverfield Lane arrived with zero fanfare is to be expected. Regardless, its release shocked the industry and bucked the ongoing trend of intense scrutiny on the upcoming slate of Hollywood productions, leading us to wonder if it could be a bastion for change in how studios see marketing.

Cloverfield

Cloverfield | Source: Paramount Pictures

Nowadays, the entertainment world is so heavily over-analyzed that it is increasingly rare for such a high-profile film as a Cloverfield project to sneak into existence. More often than not, highly anticipated films — especially those tied to franchises such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe and The Hunger Games — wring every potential news story out of their production process. From press releases covering every single bit of casting to seconds of teaser footage hyping up the imminent release of a full-length trailer, most major studios have fallen prey to the seductive temptation to constantly be trending on social media, but in the process, the purity of the moviegoing experience has become compromised.

Because of the overwhelming availability of information, studios are constantly clawing at each other to keep their project top of mind. So when something like 10 Cloverfield Lane crash-lands into the middle of that discussion and dominates it, it’s certainly noteworthy for its divergence from the industry’s standard practices. Moreover, it proves that fans don’t necessarily need to be spoon-fed each piece of marketing. In fact, the 10 Cloverfield Lane trailer is so cryptic that it doesn’t even offer much information on the film’s plot.

10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane | Source: Paramount Pictures

At this point, it remains to be seen if the Dan Trachtenberg-directed film will be issued another trailer (unlikely, considering its mere weeks away from its announced release date), but it certainly has fans’ attention already. Of course, it’s unreasonable to expect the release of 10 Cloverfield Lane — which apparently stars John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead — to singlehandedly alter the course of the movie business. However, if the film does manage to translate all this initial excitement into impressive box office returns, it could help to usher in a new era for studio fare.

Granted, even if 10 Cloverfield Lane influences the way Hollywood considers marketing, it will probably not have much direct effect on how film news is reported by various media outlets. Yet, it could mark the beginnings of a counter-response to the spoiler-filled marketing campaigns perpetuated by studios (looking at you, Terminator Genisys) and lead to something of a revolution with regards to preserving the awe of seeing a story’s twists play out upon first viewing. After all, that’s what the magic of the movies is all about.

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable

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