Hey, remember when a hologram of Tupac performed at Coachella this year and it was all anyone could talk about for months afterward? Sure you do. So it might come as a bit of a surprise to know that Digital Domain Media Group, the company behind that technologically dazzling reanimation, has filed for bankruptcy.
Naturally, this brings up a few obvious questions. For starters ...
#4. How in the Hell Did This Happen?
Not since massive Internet buzz failed to turn Snakes on a Plane into the next Titanic has something that succeeded so greatly online managed to fail so dismally in the real world. After the Coachella performance went off without a hitch, rumors swirled about Tupac's hologram maybe going on tour. Seeing as how Dr. Dre reportedly paid upward of $400,000 to make this performance happen, the revenue opportunities should have been limitless. It was a great time to be in the "projecting images of dead stars onto a stage" business. Or so it seemed.
The good old days.
But we're hearing reports that the company knew it was in trouble for months, and now, they've thrown in the towel. It's like Tupac just got shot all over again. Except this time, the circumstances surrounding the death are a total mystery.
#3. Did Tupac Break the Company?
We didn't hear much about them until they turned Tupac Shakur into a zombie with impeccable flow and cadence, but this firm has been making with the fake celebrities for a long time now. Remember The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? They created the digital version of Brad Pitt in that film. So they've been around for a while, and this isn't their first shot at cashing in after their technology was used on a major stage.
So, was Tupac the back breaker here? Was this the final, desperate move by a doomed company hoping to stave off the executioner once and for all, or are the presumably massive costs that went into putting Pac back onstage with the man he once accused of being a closeted homosexual just another contributing factor in the demise of a company that seemed to have so much potential? We'll probably never know.
#2. Why Elvis?
What we do know is that, in the days and weeks following the Coachella performance, talk was running wild that DDMG was developing an Elvis hologram. Call us crazy, but Tupac to Elvis seems like kind of a giant leap. You're trying to capture the attention of a crowd that's going to be open to the idea of sitting through a performance by a musician who isn't actually there. That might sound like a treat to a younger person, but eventually, we all hit an age where technological shenanigans like that completely lose their appeal. At this point in the game, your typical Elvis devotee would be just as likely to watch the King on VHS as travel somewhere and watch a hologram.
If Elvis was the company's plan to cash in on the success of Tupac, it was a stupid plan, and we're not surprised that it failed. Especially when another opportunity was right there, waiting to be seized.
#1. Did They Forget About the Election?
Two words: Hologram Reagan. If you think the Coachella crowd went insane when they saw Tupac onstage, imagine the reaction from scores of frothed up Republicans when a laser light show that accurately recreates Ronald Reagan's speech from the 1984 RNC breaks out. And, although we know nothing about how this technology works, it seems like recreating a mostly stationary president would be a lot less labor intensive than recreating a swivel-hipped music icon with an affinity for high energy stage shows.
Consider the possibilities.
If DDMG had approached the Republican Party about staging something like that, there would have been but one response: "Who do we give the money to, and can we pay you in guns?"
Instead, one of the most exciting entertainment advances of the last decade was wasted away trying to prove, once again, that Elvis never died.
So, next time you're pouring out a little liquor for the homies who aren't here, make sure to spill a little bit for Tupac's hologram, because it looks like we've lost it for good.