Randy Rousseau is a long-time SZoner and big time Stallone fan and collector. Randy recently attended the Comic-Con Taco Bell / Warner Bros. 25th Anniversary of Demolition Man celebration. Randy actually loaned some of his Demolition Man props to the event! He was also kind enough to send us in this report with photos…
I provided props from my personal collection for this live Taco Bell / Warner Bros 25th anniversary Demolition Man event.
We have attended pop up events during San Diego’s Comic Cons for many years.
But I had an idea this was going to be something really special… even more than years-past with other studio tie-ins, because they usually build something “free standing” temporarily. But for this live event they rented out an entire current operating steak restaurant.
I worked with the marketing gentlemen from corp Taco Bell, it was he that had the vision for a few years and wanted to embrace Taco Bell from Demolition Man. He reached out to Warner Bros who actually allowed them the rights to use elements from the film & agreed to provide wardrobe from the cast from the archives.
Than he hired http://www.cyranorox.
The owner are a husband and wife team (great passionate people) with fantastic co-workers that specialize in design experiences.
They were tasked to bring together the dream of the Taco Bell marketing gentlemen with just a nine month timeline.
They chose SDCC annual event as the perfect place. And chose a location that made sense following Demolition Man‘s story line. (Since after eating, John Spartan & Lenina Huxley drove past the San Diego convention center.)
They picked Graystone steak house on 5th street just a few blocks down from the Comic Con convention center.
I sent pictures of my props & wardrobe from the film for the to choose from.
We delivered them on Wednesday morning just one day before they would open to the public. They had just taken the establishment over on the prior Tuesday. They had a crew of approximately 90 people working on so many details… from the reworking of the entire front facade, a rework of the entire interior, a special lighting company to create the unique atmosphere. As we delivered the props their staff were so extremely appreciative and very passionate about seeing the props from the film. This gave the entire project a sense of reality, they were really excited to share with me all the planning and ideas that were coming together. Just watching this materialize was very impressive. I have been to large scale Hollywood events but this was different because you had, a real business, a real brand in Taco Bell, and a major film that has a serious fan following, that had to come all together in a live event. In about 24 hours.
Warner brothers was due out in a few hours I was looking forward to meeting their Archive group.
The wardrobe was delivered in special shipping containers, outfits were in heavy black plastic to keep light off and persevere the material, they look as if they were just taken off the set. Really nice to know after 25 years these items have been treated so.well.
I thought, “Wow! They have so much to do in less than 24 hours. The next day I returned to meet the Taco Bell marketing gentlemen and to my surprise I walked literally onto the set of Demolition Man. It felt futuristic.
Everywhere you looked there were details from the movie. He then wanted to share a sneak peek with me to all of the attention to details: like he hired and shot new footage of Dan Cortez to welcome the customers to taco bell 2032 (you remember him from playing & singing at the piano) than the GM intro of the Ultralight police car, and a description of what’s on the menu, to actual footage of Arnold Schwarzenegger at the podium marked up like he was the President after the great earthquake, than a digital cartoon image of him in a serious pose as president… to the swag that would be offered for sell ( tshirts, sweatshirts & pins)
Where my props were predominantly on display and safe, from the window front that everyone walks by to the custom made Violation machine the gives out verbal tickets as you enter.
Robots that deliver food, to the interaction video screens like the film, new carpeting, and the staff all had custom outfits made to look like the actors in the taco bell scenes. They didnt miss a single detail even had a guy playing the piano to old commercial show tunes. Than he shared the details in the bathrooms with the demo man original teaser logos and bam the wall lights up with the 3 sea shells. And in the rest rooms themselves custom made 3 sea shells with digital read outs out of order.
To say I was impressed would be an understatement. I asked if any of them had attended Comic Con in San Diego before and unfortunately none of them had. I told them you have no idea what you’re in for with the crowds of people. They thought I was just excited because it was Demolition Man. I said you are going to get hammered with people especially because the experience was completely free to all! First come, first served… just like a 5 star restaurant your welcomed seated and served a four course meal all set in the future.
I was informed Friday before it opened that Wesley Snipes aka Simon Phoenix was going to stop by.
It also happened to be my daughter, Raven’s, birthday weekend so we returned to celebrate this once in a lifetime experience. When we got within blocks of the restaurant we see the lines and huge crowds of people already in line, some had been waiting up to 3 hours! By the time we arrived they said I needed to enter via a side door because the San Diego police had to shut them down from having anymore guests! All the other restaurants were calling and complaining that Taco Bell was taking away their business and that too many people were on the sidewalks blocking their businesses! Just imagine receiving that phone call.
Once we got in the experience started, they nailed the food and it was all fun & tasty, we met one of the corp foodies that work on getting the food just right. Really an enjoyable time to share the experience first hand with her guest.
The gal that oversaw the project shared the details of Wesley’s visit & showed photos. She said he was very moved by it & nice trip down memory lane & felt he was really moved when looking at his outfit from the film in the case.
They were blown away by the fans, their love & knowledge of the film & the impact Demolition Man has made on pop culture. After 25 years Demolition Man is still so relevant. Taco Bell did this all for marketing and the fans of both their brand and the food. It was the largest live event to date for a tie in for a film. Apparently the police were called both nights due to the overwhelming interests to be a part of the experience, it was trending 2nd only to Comic Con itself.
We purchased the swag. Arranged best time to return in the am to pick up my loaned props. They were required to turn the restaurant back over by 11am, This 9 month project was done for only a limited 3 night experience.