One of my most favorite memories at Comic-Con came in 2009 word on the street (literally) was that there was a promotion for the upcoming TRON sequel. With it still 18 months out from the release, very little was known about it- but Comic-Con would soon change that. On a side street a couple of blocks from the convention center was an old run down brick store front that looked abandoned. The only clue of life was the orange glow of FLYNN’S Arcade sign over the doorway. Me and my friends waited anxiously to see what was inside. After about 20 minutes, we were allowed into an actual working retro arcade! With a handful of Flynn’s Arcade tokens, we could play all the retro games like Centipede, Defender, Pac-Man, AND the Space Paranoids game from the original TRON movie. After about 15 minutes, the music changed and the center TRON game lit up (2:30 in the video). At the climax of the music, a door opened behind the TRON game to reveal a secret passage. Along the dark corridor were blueprints of some sort of motorcycle- this got us amp’d up. At the end of the tunnel, we were treated to the never before seen TRON: Legacy Light-cycle! It was so beautiful. Our minds were blown and we just stared at it mesmerized for at least 10 minutes. As an added bonus, they gave us FLYNN’S Arcade shirts upon exiting. It’s too bad the movie didn’t live up to the hype because it really was a masterfully designed experience. This was probably the first big outside of SDCC event that really made an impression on me. That’s why this is a great moment in Comic-Con history.
I missed it but heard from everyone who did go how incredibly awesome this was!
Unfortunately, I believe this was actually one of the beginnings of the end because as great as this promotion was … truly an event itself … it did not translate to equivalent level of success for the movie. This made the Hollywood Studios reconsider the actual value of promoting at SDCC and then the subsequent pull outs by several of the big studios … 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures.
So the question for this story should be … Tony, did you go watch Tron in the theaters? Did the other folks who went to this prom? Did this promotion even influence you to go?
For the record, despite missing this promotion, I did pay my money and watched the movie at the theaters!