STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Upper Merion resident Michele Fisher thought she was getting a “Drive-In Cinema” advance sneak preview of “The Fate of the Furious” March 2 in Los Angeles.
That was, until the movie car she was sitting in while watching the movie got started by the guy sitting next to her — which she didn’t know was a stunt driver. And with that, the XFinity Drive-Out Cinema prank was on and she found herself in the middle of a recreation of a scene from the movie.
The week “The Fate of the Furious” was released to theaters, we caught up with her by email.
How did you get selected?
I entered a contest on Facebook. Filled out a form with basic information and a question or two about why I like the movies. From that a month or so later I received an email saying I had moved on and that I needed to make a 90-second video answering a few questions. The next day my husband and I went to the (Philadelphia) Auto Show to take a picture in front of the Charger they had in the Cars from Movies section. We then went home and made the video in about an hour! From that, the rest is history!
How was this unusual event explained to you?
It really wasn’t! All I knew was that I had won the contest and I could bring a guest to LA for an experience. Even the events we did the day before the cinema was a mystery until we showed up! I knew the cinema was going to be some sort of “extreme” event, but in all the emails and phone calls I had received I was asked if I was willing to do things like bungee jump, sky dive, or go on roller coasters and signed a wavier for an “extreme activity.” I was convinced we were going sky diving! The whole experience was a mystery until the cinema ended and the cars took off!
In your own words, what happened?
We showed up to this shipping yard, and all you see are tons of shipping containers. We meet with a woman form XFinity, who checks us in, gets microphones on us and tells us that we had to do a small interview before joining the “rest of our group.” We went through the interview, and started talking to the people we thought were other winners. Once everyone was done, we went into this big building and there are other people already inside looking at cars from the F8 and previous movies. It was so cool to see a lot of different cars up close! Our XFinity lead then tells us that she had the hook-up, and because we were in her group we got to sit in the cars from F8 to watch a clip from the movie. The other “winners” in the room went into the other vehicles, so it looks like everyone is really part of the experience just like us. They strapped us in so that we got to feel like we were really getting the full experience, and told us not to touch anything for insurance reasons. The film starts and Ken (the other “winner” in my car) and I were talking about how cool the film looked and just eating some popcorn, when he joked about the keys being in the car. I wasn’t expecting him to TURN THE CAR ON! When he did that, I was like: “What the hell is going on?! We were told not to touch anything!” As Ken handed me my helmet, I was looking around and trying to see if everyone else was freaking out and getting geared up. Before I knew it, Ken took off chasing Oakley and Joe. We drove around, through the flower shop, drifting around containers, going through scaffolding, flames and even watching cars flip in the air right in front of us. I had so much fun and it was great not knowing what was going on. We were really taken by surprise! Ken and Oakley, our drivers, really played up like they had won the contest too, asking us how the previous day was and if we did the same activities. The whole team really did a good job keeping us in the dark to get genuine reactions.
Did you think you were going to die?
Ha ha, no I did not. I thought it was awesome! I was more scared to go skydiving since I have a fear of heights, so driving in the car was awesome.
In what ways did that experience make you appreciate the “Fast and the Furious” movies more?
The fact that Universal Studios partnered with XFinity to offer this kind of experience really shows that they care about the fans of the franchise. It took a lot of people and a lot of work to pull that experience off, so I thank everyone for all their hard work and for making this the best experience EVER!
Just how big of a “Fast and the Furious” fan are you?
I watch all the movies when I see them on TV!
Try to go to the first showing the night the movies come out, and get to the theaters super early to get a good spot. And sometimes they have free swag at the theaters too if you get there earlier enough, like posters. I really enjoy the action and the interaction between all the characters.
So is the movie any good? What are you allowed to tell us about it?
The movie is AMAZING!!! It had a lot of humor and connects a few of the previous movies, which is pretty cool. If I don’t see it again in theaters, I will definitely be buying this to watch whenever I want!!