While these days, it's common practice for any upcoming film to have its own website, it wasn't too long ago that it was considered an unnecessary and extravagant expense.
In the mid-90s the popularity of making websites for newly released films started to grow, and though at the time they might have been groundbreaking, these days they look pretty damn funny.
Take a look through four innovative film websites that laid the foundations for the flashy movie sites we have today and marvel at their extremely humble — and quite hilarious — beginnings:
The very first website to be made to promote a film was created by MGM for the movie Stargate, way back in 1994! But despite that fact that the film would go on to gross almost $200 million worldwide — and spawn several TV series off the back of it — the website looked pretty dire! Saying, "Welcome to your StarGate," the site then tells you to "click on the pictures below to learn more about what is sure to be one of the most exciting films of the year!"
Delving deeper into the site, there's some information about the film, its characters and a few video clips that you need to download to view. It's not flash or pretty, and it almost certainly would have taken months to load with your early-90s dial-up Internet, but hey, the Stargate website is the OG of movie websites, and for that you have to give it respect.
In 1995 the film Hackers — a "crime techno-thriller" about a group of gifted computer crims — was released, and in a stroke of what must have seemed like marketing genius at the time, MGM also released a website to promote the film. However, soon after the website went up, it was allegedly hacked by a group calling themselves the Internet Liberation Front. The hackers drew all over the images of the film's stars Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie, as well as changing the line, "This is going to be an entertaining fun promotional site for a movie," to "This is going to be a lame, cheesy promotional site for a movie!" Edgy stuff.
While in this cynical day and age we would immediately jump to the conclusion that the studio itself hacked the page for publicity (something which is even backed up by the fact that MGM left the hacked website untouched for the remainder of the film's cinematic release), the studio maintains it never hacked the site, so who knows? (They definitely did it though, right?)
Come on and slam and welcome to the jam!
The most famous old-school movie website of them all has got to be the hilarious one that belongs to Space Jam. It's been 20 years since the film's release, but the website still lives on as memorial to this outstanding live-action/animated hybrid.
Though the website never had much traffic when the film was being released, in 2010 it was rediscovered and reborn as a viral sensation. Today you can visit it in the Warner Bros. archives and check out character bios, watch behind-the-scenes footage and even get "a full-size, full-color, Internet-quality still." Wow!
The Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project was one of the first films to really use a website to market itself, which is not surprising, considering the film was one of the first ever found-footage-style films and a total groundbreaker.
Going along with the spirit of the film, which was released in 1999, the website features numerous fake police reports, photographs, and even downloadable video interviews of people, such as Heather Donahue's mother, a private investigator, Burkittsville residents and volunteer firemen.
The website was used to fuel Internet debates over whether or not the movie was fictional or a documentary. Though ultimately it was revealed that the film was entirely fiction, and that the people in both the film and on the website were actors, the website and film remain total pioneers in viral marketing.
What old-school movie website is your favorite?
Source: Rolling Stone