’80s Sci-Fi Doc ‘In Search of Tomorrow’ Explores How Theater Lobbies Were the Original Hype Machines

A week ago, genre fans descended upon San Diego Comic-Con to catch glimpses of films from Marvel and DC. Even those who didn’t attend were treated to trailers released online, instantly available in this glutenous age of fandom when publications — including this one — cover the ins and outs of sci-fi, superhero and horror films.

But back in the 1980s, audiences had to be patient. They had to wait, having nothing more than a movie poster to whet their appetites. Title. Tagline. Image. That was it, until the trailer eventually arrived (also in theaters).

The new documentary In Search of Darkness dives into the biggest ’80s sci-fi movies, and along the way it explores the way the theater lobby helped build anticipation for films such as The Wrath of Khan, Blade Runner and more.

The documentary hails from director David Weiner, a veteran entertainment journalist who helmed the ’80s horror documentary In Search of Darkness. He is a previous contributor to The Hollywood Reporter, having reported deep dives on Ridley Scott’s Alien and 1979’s Star Trek, among others.

The film was crowdfunded via Kickstarter, raising nearly $600,000. It is was recently made available on its website. Below is a clip from the film exploring how movie theater lobbies were the first step in any successful movie marketing campaign.

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