Despite looking like it was made for a couple thousand bucks over a long weekend, the budget for The Room was $6 million. It was also entirely financed by the cult film’s star/writer/director/producer/weirdo Tommy Wiseau, who’s never explained where his money comes from (he once claimed it had something to do with importing leather jackets from Korea, but that seems unlikely). But the excessive budget wasn’t Wiseau’s biggest waste of Room-related dough: it was a billboard overlooking Highland Avenue in Hollywood that stayed up for five years (!). The cost: $300,000.
To promote The Disaster Artist, director James Franco’s delightfully sincere ode to The Room, A24 took a page from Wiseau’s marketing campaign by… buying the same billboard, complete with an RSVP phone number. When you call, you’re greeted to an automated voice message. “You’ve reached voicemail of Tommy Wiseau,” he says. “I’m very busy guy. Maybe on another call, or maybe I just don’t want to talk to you. I’m joking, my friend. Leave me a message. Ha ha ha.” It could be the real Wiseau, or maybe Franco, because according to Seth Rogen, “For real Franco has the phone with that number.”
Either way, it’s been a big year for billboards.
The Disaster Artist opens on December 1.