If a building-sized Dorito on Congress Avenue has taught us anything, it's that activations must be pretty spectacular to catch the attention of Austinites. Locally based filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and bigwig producer James Cameron are betting they can do just that when they bring a real-life installation of their newest film to the Capital City.
From January 29 through February 13, Alita: Battle Angel - Passport to Iron City will take over 1901 E. 51st St. — right next to Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios in East Austin — for a fully immersive, interactive experience leading up to the premiere of Alita: Battle Angel. The highly anticipated film, which inched upwards of $200 million to produce, opens in theaters on February 14.
For $25, guests can enter Iron City, the movie's futuristic setting, which has been reconstructed by the film's set designers. Once inside, they can "interact with the city’s gritty residents, earn credits by completing puzzles and challenges, experiment with custom technology built for the retro-future Alita aesthetic, and uncover hidden clues to determine their fate with the city’s controlling force," says a release.
The journey begins, as all great Austin stories do, in a bar. Patrons walk into a replica of a historic Kansas bar (apparently the site of a pivotal scene in the movie) where they will "meet and mingle" with their team while sipping a specially made beer from Los Angeles' Three Weavers Brewing and Oregon-based Union Wine Co.
Buzzing with excitement (and, you know, beer), the teams are then escorted by actors turned Iron City residents through the "streets" as each person is given a role inside the experience. Once complete, participants walk away with a prize and the smug satisfaction of having visited a futuristic world without ever leaving East Austin.
In addition to Austin, Passport to Iron City is also descending on Los Angeles beginning January 23 and Brooklyn on January 26.