Tron’s Binary Countdown Begins: 10100, 01!

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What Avatar was to 2009, Tron: Legacy is hoping to be to 2010. Cashing in on a major league brand name, embracing state-of-the-art technology and jumping the gun with an ambitious viral marketing campaign, Tron was already making waves last summer – a good year and a half in advance of opening night – when it started dropping clues to various film bloggers, providing not-so-subtle advance hints of an ambitious Comic-Con scavenger hunt.

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As of Monday, the next stage in the Tron campaign is now officially underway. In advance of the full-length trailer, which is slated to screen prior to Alice in Wonderland beginning March 5, a new batch of press clues has routed sci-fi writers to a hidden Tron website, FlynnLives.com/ZeroHour, where a binary clock is counting down:

It was FirstShowing that first broke the code, discovering that the clock will hit zero at 11 a.m. EST on Feb. 24. That’s a week from Wednesday. As for what will happen early the 24th, it’s anybody’s guess; most people suspect it will trumpet the launch of a new trailer, or perhaps the release of the next puzzle for fans to solve.

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Personally, I’m not usually one for all these clues and games. Maybe it’s just that I’m too busy in my day-to-day responsibilities, content enough to simply be excited for opening night. But I think it’s more that I haven’t encountered that many truly creative marketing campaigns. I can remember films that pursued interesting gimmicks – films like Magnolia, Requiem For A Dream and The Dark Knight. And so I think I can be swayed by a guerilla campaign that is genuinely involving and innovative.

Does Tron have what it takes, to reach beyond the hardcore fanboys, and excite the likes of me with these riddles and games? I’m not sure yet – but this is certainly a rather ingenious start to things. Still a good 10 months from wide release, this much is clear: Someone pretty creative is running the ship on this campaign.

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