- To promote "Ready Player One," Warner Bros. released a series of re-imagined 8-bit animated versions of the intros to famous sitcoms like "Friends," "Full House," "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" and "Two and a Half Men," per Adweek.
- The clips are posted on YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat with a line saying they are "Powered by Ready Player One" — the only direct reference to the film. They were created by the animator Ryan Hooley and musician Todd Bryanton.
- "Ready Player One," directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Ernest Cline, is a sci-fi thriller focused on a dystopian future where people escape reality using a VR program called the Oasis that's chock-full of pop culture ephemera from TV and movies from the '80s and '90s.
Warner Bros. is clearly trying to cash in the '80s and '90s nostalgia craze that seems to have affected millennials with a particular fervor. As Adweek and other commentators have pointed out, the TV shows being reimagined, such a "Two and a Half Men," which debuted in 2003, are only loosely tied to "Ready Player One" and its favored era of pop culture, but do fit into the movie's theme of obsessive references.
The flashy, throwback 8-bit format might catch the attention of younger audiences on social media apps like Snapchat that are potentially less familiar with some of the older series included in the campaign. Netflix also used 8-bit animations for its Flix Arcade game last year, Adweek detailed in a separate report. The infinite runner game featured characters from some of the streaming service's popular shows, including "Narcos," "Orange Is the New Black" and "Stranger Things."
Warner Bros.' promotion comes at a time when TV networks, eager to boost ratings, are bringing back popular shows from the '80s and '90s with their original casts. Revivals have recently included "Will & Grace" and "Roseanne," the latter of which ABC renewed for a second season last week after the premiere drew the network's best results since 2006, according to The Washington Post. ABC also played up the nostalgia factor for its "Roseanne" promotions by wrapping a New York City subway car to resemble the living room set of the show.