Fifteen years after BMW changed the way people consumed its marketing by using big-name directors to produce a series of internet-only short films featuring BMW cars, the German automaker has announced the initiative will be relaunched.
The first film of the new series will be aired at 6pm on 23 October (EST) via BMW's microsite and, like each of the previous eight films which formed the series named The Hire, the protagonist known as The Driver will be again played by British actor Clive Owen.
The yet-to-be released filmed titled The Escape will be directed by 37-year-old Hollywood director Neill Blomkamp, who already has box-office hits such as the 2009 film District 9 and, more recently, the 2015 film Chappie to his name.
“I was like, ‘man, count me in’,” Blomkamp told The Hollywood Reporter. “When I was in film school, these films were really groundbreaking. They seemed like the perfect halfway point between commercials and features.
“I actually emailed the production company as a 20-year-old and was like, ‘I’d really like to make one of these.’ They wrote back, ‘Never contact us again.’ And here I am!”
The 11-minute short film will be a continuation of the original eight-part series, where regardless of each film’s individual plot, Owen would save the day with an impressive display of highly skilled driving in an equally impressive BMW car.
Owen will be joined by other big-name stars such as Dakota Fanning, Vera Vermiga and Jon Bernthal in the film which, though so far unconfirmed, is likely to be the first of many in a new series.
The original eight-part, internet-only series was enormously successful. The films were directed by the likes of Joe Carnahan, Wong Kar-wai, Guy Ritchie, John Woo and the late Tony Scott, and all featured talent like Gary Oldman, Mickey Rourke and Madonna starring alongside Owen.
In the early days of broadband internet, the films returned incredible traffic for the German carmaker, with 11 million views reported in the first four months, a figure which blew out to a reported 100 million views in four years — impressive by the world’s internet viewing standards of the early 2000s.
BMW reported a 12 percent rise in new car sales following the release of films, which it in part accredited to the series’ remarkable popularity.