One of the greatest yardsticks for a movie's quality is how engaging it is. Filmmakers have a plethora of options at their disposal in order to ensure the audience is as immersed as possible. Some opt to take a firm grasp of the viewer's heartstrings and attach them to a well-developed character, others hypnotise the audience with action so bombastic and exciting that they can't pull their eyes away. There is, as they say, more than one way to skin a cat.
One of the paths less trodden is that of immersive meta-cinema. Whether it be during the marketing phase or following release, the appearance of in-universe characters, websites and video games leaking into the real world makes for a different kind of immersion.
Not only do these movies blur the line between fact and fiction, they afford audiences the chance to lose themselves in a different universe. As technology continues to advance, these experiences will only become more elaborate but those on the vanguard were more than happy to experiment with how far to go.
Acting as a sort-of-prequel to the Alien series (same universe, new mythos), Prometheus released in 2012 and proved to be a divisive entry in the franchise. Despite this, the marketing campaign that blazed its trail was inarguably a success.
During a TED conference in February 2012, a video was screened starring Guy Pierce as Peter Weyland, head of Prometheus' fictional Weyland Industries. It depicted a TED talk about the relationship between human and technological evolution, taking place in 2023. In collaboration with TED organisers, the video was made to appear exactly how they imagined their conferences would look in the year in which it was set.
Following this, a video was uploaded to the 'PrometheusNews' YouTube channel, promoting one of Weyland Industries' newest products: convincing humanoid artificial intelligence.
Played by a stellar Michael Fassbender, the A.I. featured was uncanny and the short itself brilliantly shot as an in-universe promo. While the movie's legacy may be in question ten years later, the team behind the marketing campaign did a fantastic job of creating material that served not just to promote but also expand the movie's universe and bring the future to the present.