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Was Land of the Lost Sunk by an Outtake?

Everyone in Hollywood is wondering who should take the lion's share of the blame for the box-office disappointment that is Land of the Lost. Entertainment Weekly posited that it was all Will Ferrell's fault, in a column entitled "Is America Over Will Ferrell?" but we're not entirely sure we buy their theory that "The dude's been coasting for a while now." Rather, we're pointing and waving our judgmental finger in the direction of the team at Universal who put together the film's disastrous marketing campaign. Not only did they err by making Will Ferrell's faux appearance on the Today Show with Matt Lauer the central focus of the film's early trailers (a case of corporate synergy gone awry), but they also made the cardinal mistake of closing their big Super Bowl commercial with a poorly executed shot that ultimately ended up being left on the cutting-room floor.

The scene we're referring to is the first trailer's closing shot, where Will Ferrell attempts to stand incredibly still in front of the camera while a Tyrannosaurus Rex (code name: Grumpy) prowls mere inches behind his head. As soon as this trailer was released on Super Bowl Sunday, a flurry of online criticism erupted about not only the spot itself, but also the clearly unfinished CGI of the aforementioned scene. Most notably, SlashFilm's headline shouted "Land of the Lost Super Bowl Ad Features Bad Blue Screen Removal." Here's the spot in question:


And as if that moment weren't bad enough, the extended trailers that Universal released that weekend (and then played in theaters for months) closed with an even longer cut of that same scene:


Since these spots were presumably cut while the film was still going through its editing process, we can only assume that the marketing team had no knowledge that said scene would not end up in the finished product. Still, that doesn't absolve them from using bad judgment as to what images and scenes from the film would resonate best with the public. And while this isn't the first time that a prominent scene from a trailer ended up being left on the cutting room floor (nor will it be the last), we can't help but feel like this poor first impression prematurely put the (surprisingly funny) film into a ditch that it was never able to crawl out of.

Photo: Courtesy of Universal