Considering how fixated blockbuster movies are on merchandising, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood woke up to the potential of 3D printing as a marketing tool. Additive manufacturing’s combination of customisation, personalisation and trendiness makes it absolutely ideal for film tie-ins or, at least, that’s what Summit Entertainment is hoping.
Its latest big budget flick is Ender’s Game, a sci-fi epic based on Orson Scott Card’s popular novel of the same name and it looks like it’s taking absolutely no chances with the marketing. Not only has it adorned the film with a truly star-studded cast including Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley, it’s also shipping off for uncharted galaxies with its marketing campaign.
One part of the film’s branding is a truly innovative 3D print strategy being offered by Utah 3D print company Sandboxr. Film fans can log-on to Sandboxr’s website and access 3D designs of the unique battleships used in the movie. They can then customise their chosen ship to their heart’s content before having it printed in full colour and sent to their door.
The project is very much in keeping with Sandboxr’s M.O. Set-up by 3D artist Berkley Frei, its focus is fimly on offering the average consumer a truly intuitive design interface, allowing them to mix and style designs and objects to their own specifications.
Is this going to be the first of many such campaigns, with 3D printing becoming a ubiquitous part of how big name movies are marketed? It is certainly possible. If the Ender’s Game exercise turns out to be a success, it will be mutually beneficial both for the film itself and for the 3D print industry in general, with the technology put to such visible, mainstream, commercial use.