Back in 1983, a dozen lucky couples were married as a promotion for the 1983 scifi swashbuckler Krull. This is weird enough, but what's even more baffling is that Columbia Pictures scheduled this wedding before Krull even came out.
Tim Kirk of The Moving Arts Film Journal recounts this publicity debacle here. Apparently Columbia was trying to channel some of Star Wars' marketing mojo and instead ended up screwing the cyclops. The whole article's hilarious and worth reading — here are some of the more mind-boggling segments:
On a hot summer day in 1983, a dozen couples gathered in a soundstage in Burbank to take part in a group wedding. One after another, they walked past a pair of futuristic soldiers in fanciful armor, down a red carpet flanked by strangers in folding chairs, and up to an altar made of faux stone. These were the lucky winners of a national contest sponsored by Columbia Pictures. They had penned the winning statements describing, as the studio's press release states, "why their ‘Fantasy Come True' would be to have a ‘Krull' wedding in Hollywood." [...]
On top of print and television ads, an Atari game based on the film appeared in arcades across the country. And the weddings weren't the only promotions that the folks at Columbia had dreamt up. The press-book sent to theater owners, a thin pamphlet filled with ad art and short articles to plant in local papers, outlines a number of interesting promotional gimmicks. One suggests approaching the local bakery about creating special pastries in the shape of the Glaive and dubbing them the punny ‘Krullers'. "Everyone knows what a cruller is…a tasty glazed donut. Now comes the Kruller…a tasty Glaived donut." Another elaborate scheme involved acquiring a dark van and driving it around town ("like the Fortress, it's apt to be anywhere"), improbably evoking the dark fortress from the film and, more improbably, inspiring passing motorists and pedestrians to rush to their local theater and plop down $3.50 for a seat. [...]
This promotion was largely ignored by the press. The film had a poor opening weekend and suffered dreadful reviews. Variety called it a "blatantly derivative hodgepodge of Excalibur meets Star Wars." The BBC chimed, "a sub standard space opera with pretensions to being a British Star Wars." The idea of running a feature on the "Krull" Weddings, and photos of the participants, next to a scathing review of the film seems downright cruel. It is probable that the studio realized that rolling out some photos of folks getting married in the manner of a scene in a film that no one saw wouldn't do much to resuscitate ticket sales. The promotion was dropped.
For those of you have never seen Krull, here's what you need to know:
1.) Liam Neeson played a bit part in it.
2.) It goes well with these.
[Spotted on Boing Boing]