Red Hour Digital, a subsidiary of Ben Stiller's Red Hour Films, is prepared to make a viral splash later this year with "The Fake Trailer Project," a series of mock previews made in the spirit of the opening trailer montage in Stiller's 2008 film Tropic Thunder.
Stiller either knows or has worked with every big name in comedy, so no doubt he will have a who's-who roster of talent interested in helping create these trailers. He already has his Tropic Thunder co-writer Justin Theroux, Reno 911's Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High/Clueless director Amy Heckerling. The plan is to create 12 trailers and release one a week.
The fake trailer has been around for awhile, but they began an ascent in popularity with the 2007 Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double feature Grindhouse, where guest directors Rob Zombie, Eli Roth, and Edgar Wright all contributed their own fake previews during the intermission. Rodriguez's fake trailer Machete was adapted to a full length film in 2010. And when Rodriguez held a Grindhouse Competition at South by Southwest in 2007, the trailer for Hobo with a Shotgun won, and was later adapted into a film starring Rutger Hauer.
So while the fun of fake trailers can be good for those perusing the internet, the popular ones have the opportunity to be something even bigger.
Here's the opening montage from Tropic Thunder, which has four fake trailers in it (one is technically a commercial for an energy drink)--WARNING: Tropic Thunder was rated R, and these trailers should be considered the same, meaning they contain foul language and suggestive scenes:
Now imagine Stiller, who directed Tropic Thunder and starred in it, getting together with his Hollywood buddies--and a budget--with the idea of creating a bunch more of these phony movie trailers. It's almost guaranteed to be a hit.
There is absolutely no doubt that while Ben Stiller's project is designed to tap into the wildfire buzz of the online community and reaping the rewards that it creates, a possibility lingers that a couple of these fake trailers could be so big that actual movies are made from them.
The Fake Trailer Project is planned for either a fall or winter release. When it launches, we'll be sure to let you know.