Cinema backstage. Alita: Battle Angel, an immersive pop-up experience

Alita: Battle Angel — Passport to Iron City is a new immersive pop-up experience created for the promotion of the “Alita: Battle Angel” movie by the directors James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez. Launched in three American cities (Los Angeles on January 23rd,
New York on January 26th and Austin on January 29th), the project —  a result of cooperation between 20th Century Fox and Seelig Group — opens up a totally new genre of exhibition based on movies that opens before its official start in cinemas.


The “Alita: Battle Angel” movie is shot based on the first four books of the popular manga “The battle angel Alita” by the author Yukito Kishiro published back in the ninetieth. In the manga, there are many characters that appear in certain releases. A restored android of
the “battle angel” model is the main character.

The plot of the movie narrates about the far future when, three hundred years past a big and devastating war, Dr. Ido finds the head of an android girl in a dump. He gives a new body to this android and the name Alita. Firstly a teenage girl, Alita begins to grow up gradually, to recall who she was and what she has been created for.

Inspired by blockbuster exhibitions designed on the basis of the much-talked-of movies
(such as Harry Potter ), the Alita: Battle Angel — Passport to Iron City experience represents a fusion of the museum and entertainment formats. Riding the wave of popularity of pop-up experience, interactive strategies combining the quest and the escape room have been added to the traditional exhibition genre. A new hybrid interactive format of this type with the effect of immersion in the movie script allows the spectator not only visiting the fantastic world but also living it from within.

The movie scenery recreated in original sizes occupying a huge area of 12,000 square feet plays a key role in providing the three-dimensional immersive experience. The exhibition space includes thematic zones reproducing certain scenes from the cyber world. At first, visitors get to Kansas, to a fully functioning bar where they can have a drink, then follow the sets
of the Iron City, the dump of cyborgs, and the high-energy Motorball stadium.


The experience offered by the exhibition is built on the active involvement of visitors
in game strategies as well as on solving thematic problems and puzzles. To earn credits, players need to explore life in the Iron city, to activate their sensory perceptions,
to experiment with innovative technologies, to scan objects, to guess passwords,
to find the hidden keys opening special containers.

This project is an example of integration of the latest technology and media trends
in the field of culture, a combination of designing blockbuster exhibitions and visiting famous film studios.

On top of it, visiting the exhibition before the Alita: Battle Angel start creates an additional incentive for going to watch the movie in a cinema. Stimulating dreams before watching
the movie, awakening of new feelings when visiting the exhibition will undoubtedly leave
a deep long-lasting emotional mark in the spectators’ memory.

This way, a successful marketing ploy and uniqueness of the designed Alita: Battle Angel experience has laid a firm foundation for a soaring success of the project; the actual project as a new cultural phenomenon is interesting to study and to discuss its influence on the cultural market in the future.