A lot of the action at Comic-Con happens inside the San Diego Convention Center, but it seems like Disney is taking the action to the streets, too. In what may be one of the creepiest publicity stunts ever, the usually cheerful and lighthearted media giant decided to reenact one of the creepiest parts of A Wrinkle In Time. It was so powerful that it even gave pause to the movie's director, Ava DuVernay.
"So, @Disney is bringing millions of childhood nightmares to life at #Comicon. #WrinkleInTime's spookiest scene unfolding in real-time! #SDCC," she wrote in a tweet that included several photos of the eerie sequence.
Those unfamiliar with the passage from Madeleine L'Engle's classic got a refresher from Entertainment Weekly, which reported that the scene is also included in the movie's first trailer, which debuted during Disney's own version of Comic-Con, D23, last weekend. (Fans of immersive publicity will remember that Hulu pulled a similar stunt when The Handmaid's Tale hit South by Southwest, too.)
In the bouncing-ball clip, the audience can see Bellamy Young (you'll recognize her from Scandal) standing on a perfect Technicolor suburban cul-de-sac as the neighborhood kids bounce balls together. It seems normal, except they're all doing it at the exact same time, using the exact same rhythm, and they've all got spaced-out, vacant expressions on their faces. The same thing played out at various locations at Comic-Con, with Disney's legion of kiddos bouncing their balls in unison around the expo.
In the film, it's all part of the protagonists' trip to Camazotz, an exaggerated Pleasantville-meets-1984 utopia. While things may look pretty great on the surface, they realize that something's gone awry when the other characters' faces start to get staticky and everything is just a little too perfect. It's rare for family-friendly Disney to focus on something so unsettling, but when it works, it really works.
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