Paramount Pictures has been working overtime to promote ‘Mission: Impossible III’ before it opens on Friday, and finally decided on a way to put their movie over the top. The plan: make people think they’re about to die. So Paramount took 4500 Los Angeles Times news racks and fitted them with a music box designed to play the ‘Mission: Impossible’ theme song when the door was opened. Unfortunately, the red plastic boxes with protruding wires would sometimes jar loose and drop onto the stack of newspapers inside, alarming customers who thought they were seeing a bomb. In Santa Clarita, a bomb squad was actually called out and, not taking any chances, they blew up the LA Times box. A Times spokesmen said,
“This was the least intended outcome. We weren’t expecting anything like this.”
Paramount’s plan was to turn the “everyday news rack experience” into an “extraordinary mission”. And they accomplished this with a “bad idea” that made people “shit their pants” and “waste cops time”. To recap, the idea was for you to open the paper machine, then hear a song that starts with the sound of a burning fuse, then slam the door and see an unmarked box with frayed wires drop inside of the metal and glass box. But it is better than their first ideas, which was to put a cobra in your car with ‘MI3’ on it’s neck or shoot at you with blanks until you dove into a movie theater for cover.