How did a self-funded, terribly made movie like The Room get such a cult following? By becoming a staple of the Los Angeles skyline.
The Room aggressively advertised itself by erecting a massive billboard overlooking Highland Avenue in Hollywood showing simply Tommy Wiseau‘s face and a cryptic phone number. The billboard stayed up for whopping five years and was so notorious that passerby were surprised when it was finally taken down. But in the spirit of a former Los Angeles landmark, The Disaster Artist brought the billboard back.
The trailer for The Disaster Artist features an exact mock-up of the original The Room billboard, but with James Franco’s squinting face instead. A /Film reader reached out to us, noting that the phone number depicted is still active…
— Christopher Ninness (@cgninness) September 12, 2017
The number featured on The Disaster Artist billboard is the same number that Wiseau pasted on his billboard all those years ago. If called, the listener is taken to a voicemail message by the heavily accented Wiseau, personally inviting fans to a screening of The Room. He also encourages listeners to visit http://www.theroommovie.com/ and https://www.tommywiseau.com/, the latter of which offers merchandise plastered with Wiseau’s unique face or lines from The Room. Amazingly, both are the original sites that Wiseau hastily created in promotion of the room — that much is clear by the incredibly basic and bombastic design of the sites, as well as the odd flaming picture titled “Shame On You” linking to a horrendously edited video of behind-the-scenes footage of the Room.
Here is The Room‘s original billboard below:
Renting the billboard for five years as Wiseau did would have cost him $300,000 total, according to Complex. Again, the $6 million movie budget and the advertising were all personally financed by him — though no one still knows where his bottomless pockets of money actually come from.
In The Disaster Artist memoir, actor and author Greg Sestero can never even come up with a solid theory about how Wiseau is so rich, despite hearing some cryptic phone conversations with “buyers” when they were roommates together. There are entire Reddit threads dedicated to unraveling the mystery that is Wiseau’s wealth and ethnicity — which somewhat lends to the cult of awe surrounding The Room.
The Disaster Artist is directed and stars James Franco as Tommy Wiseau and Dave Franco as Greg Sestero, and follows the catastrophic making of the worst movie ever. The movie is getting rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, and even picking up Oscar buzz as it heads to its release on December 1, 2017.
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Source: Slash Film