Mystery surrounds "Super 8" in a summer of sequels

Wed Jun 8, 2011 12:59am EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Its pedigree could hardly be stronger -- producer Steven Spielberg and sci-fi master J.J. Abrams.

But "Super 8" arrives in North American movie theaters on Friday shrouded in such secrecy that it may prove a hard sell in a summer bursting with familiar superheroes and sequels.

The plot centers on a group of kids in a small Ohio town who spend the summer of 1979 making a home movie using the titular 8mm film format that was popular back then. They witness a train crash, which triggers a series of inexplicable events and disappearances.

Abrams, 44, wrote and directed the film, while Spielberg helped him shape the story. But with no big stars and a trailer that does not show the sci-fi alien creature around whom the film revolves, the buzz for the $50 million picture has hardly been deafening.

Yet keeping that mystery element intact is exactly what Abrams wanted, much to the dismay of studio executives at Paramount Pictures.

"One of the fights we've had about selling the movie is how much do we tell? What do we show?" Abrams told Reuters. "There's a feeling of 'Well, if they don't know it, then you gotta show them everything so they understand it before they see it.'

"My feeling is that if you show them everything, they won't want to go see it, so there's a battle internally," he said.

Abrams -- who reinvigorated Paramount's dormant "Star Trek" and "Mission: Impossible" franchises, and co-created the TV hit "Lost" -- appears to have had the final say.   Continued...

<p>"Super 8" director JJ Abrams (L), stars Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney, and producer Steven Spielberg introduce a clip from the film at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles, June 5, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>