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Mystery surrounds the upcoming J.J. Abrams movie '10 Cloverfield Lane'

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Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

(Read caption) J.J. Abrams is a producer on the movie '10 Cloverfield Lane.'

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The moviegoing public has gotten a surprise from J.J. Abrams. 

The director, whose most recent film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” just became the highest-grossing movie domestically of all time without adjusting for inflation, has produced a new movie that may have some connection with the 2008 movie he produced, “Cloverfield.” 

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A trailer has been released for a film titled “10 Cloverfield Lane.” Like the 2008 film, it’s produced by Abrams. And moviegoers won’t have to wait long – it’s coming out this March. 

Is it a sequel to “Cloverfield”? What does the plot involve? 

Little is known about the new movie. The trailer shows actors, including John Goodman of “Love the Coopers” and “The Returned” actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, in what looks like some underground area. Then Winstead’s character attempts to escape, despite Goodman’s warnings about what lies beyond their sanctuary.

The unusual marketing campaign for “10 Cloverfield Lane” echoes that of the 2008 movie “Cloverfield,” which was filmed found-footage style and centered on a strange creature attacking New York City. Trailers for the 2008 film showed only fragmented clips of people fleeing and an unseen threat. 

Secretive or strange marketing campaigns can certainly help a movie. The 1999 film “Blair Witch Project,” which also used a found-footage conceit, sparked moviegoers’ interest with a mysterious website and the idea that the movie depicted true events. “Blair” went on to be a box office smash. 

With the 2006 movie “Borat,” some moviegoers probably knew actor Sacha Baron Cohen from his shows like “Da Ali G Show,” but he was hardly a household name. Following the unusual promotion for the movie, in which Cohen appeared in character on various occasions, the film also went on to be a box office hit. 

Abrams is no stranger to secretive movie promotion – impressively few plot details about “Star Wars,” one of the most anticipated movies of all time, came out before the movie’s release.

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He’s also kept plot points secret with high-profile movies like the 2013 film “Star Trek Into Darkness,” where Abrams and his stars kept the identity of the villain portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch a secret. While some fans were displeased with what they saw as confusing denials by those involved with the movie, the film went on to do well at the box office.

Whether it’s connected to the original movie or not, the use of the word “Cloverfield” in the title is sure to pique moviegoers’ interest. And the unusual marketing campaign may also attract moviegoers as innovative methods have in the past.