In the spring of 2010, Lionsgate knew it had something special when it optioned a taut horror thriller from director Rodrigo Cortes featuring an unforgettable performance by Ryan Reynolds. There was only one problem with BURIED: The entire film— all 101 minutes—took place in a box...in the dark...in the ground. Kind of a hard sell, huh?
That’s where we came in. We took the fear of being buried alive—and with the help of Facebook, streaming video, and the largest movie and comic convention on the planet—turned it into a social media blitz for the biggest entertainment gathering of the year, Comic-Con.
Our idea was based around putting fans in Reynolds’ shoes and subjecting them to the same experience he encounters in the film. We built a life-size walk-in coffin with just enough creepy touches to make convention-goers think twice before entering. Once inside, we treated the victim to ambient surround sound to cancel out festival noise and a strobing light effect to make them really feel like they were buried alive with only a flashlight.
Next, we generated some buzz with a viral online video a week before the fest. We would later play it on flat screens around the coffin. Once the Con started, the Lionsgate booth was so flooded that our Buried Babes couldn’t keep up with the demand. Within hours the line had to be restructured. We were burying 100 victims an hour.
When victims came out of the coffin, they could upload their 15-second experience to getburiedatcomiccon.com and instantly share their pants-wetting panic on Facebook and Twitter.
Over the weekend, we buried almost 1200 victims, all of whom can still be found on the website, which the NY Times dubbed “A Virtual Online Cemetery.” The Buried Experience became the “it” ticket of the 2010 Comic-Con, even outshining bigger budget, bigger buzz movies like The Green Hornet and The Green Lantern.
Creative Director: Evan DeHaven
Executive Producer: Hilary Joyner
Lead Developers: Codin Pangell, Matthew Goshman
Developers: James Deagle, JR Fabito
Designer: Alvin Groen