4:13pm PT by Kate Stanhope
Fox to Send Car Through Times Square High-Rise Window in 'Lethal Weapon' Stunt (Exclusive)
Fox's Lethal Weapon remake is looking to make a splash ahead of its September series premiere.
The network is set to launch a 3D video installation Monday in Times Square that makes it appear as if a car is breaking through the side of a high-rise building. As illustrated in the video below, a red car is seen driving through the side of a (fake) high-rise and falling into a video screen underneath it.
"You want to have something that's distinctive and breakthrough and we've clearly, literally, created that breakthrough moment," Fox Broadcasting chief marketing officer Angela Courtin tells The Hollywood Reporter of the installation.
The video then focuses on Lethal Weapon stars Clayne Crawford's and Damon Wayans' characters, Riggs and Murtaugh, looking down on the fake wreckage with confusion and concern as images of smoke billow up before the two walk away. The "arresting" scene, as Courtin describes it, is inspired by the pilot, in which the pair partner up for the first time on a case involving a high-speed car chase culminating inside the Long Beach Grand Prix.
"We wanted to be sensitive to the fact that it is going to feel real. That's why the gunshots are behind the windows and you never see them and what you really see is the car breaking through and the two guys sort of leaning over and saying, 'Well …,'" Courtin says. "It was just really indicative of their relationship and sort of the hijinks that ensue in the show itself."
However, given the installation's prime spot in Times Square — at 7th Ave. and 46th St., to be exact — it's unclear just what kind of reception the marketing stunt will receive considering how realistic the depiction is and native New Yorkers' perceived sensitivity to seeing part of a building destroyed in a post-9/11 world. "It's not an explosion where, to your point, it might be evocative of a certain type of tragedy," Courtin says.
The installation is set to play continuously, with different versions created for day and night in the weeks leading up to the Sept. 21 series premiere. High-profile marketing has become a must in the so-called Peak TV era as broadcast, cable and streaming outlets alike look to cut through a cluttered landscape that features more than 400 scripted original series.
Fox is no stranger to thinking outside of the box to market its new series. The network had several installations at San Diego Comic-Con, such as a three-story rock climb for the upcoming comedy Son of Zorn. Sister cable network FX came under fire in 2014, when billboards for sci-fi series The Strain depicted a worm coming out of a woman's eye and were subsequently changed following public outcry.
"Our hope is that people do wonder what it is and want to stay and see it in the next rotation because it will be on a loop," says Courtin. "If … people stop in their tracks, we've done our job."