Superhero or Supercar
I’m not Robert Downey Jr., and I’m definitely not Tony Stark, but for one night I did get to be a star. OK... maybe just a supporting actor to the real star that accompanied me to the official wide release opening of Iron Man: the 2008 Audi R8. It seems our invitation to the red carpet premiere in Hollywood got lost in the mail, so we had to make do with seeing it with all the other eager fans of the anodized-alloy clad superhero. But a question arose, were these fans here to see ol’ Metal Head on the big screen, or were they actually coming out to see Audi’s supercar?
Since we were lucky enough to have the R8 on hand opening night, we decided to take it to the local cineplex at the corner of Comic Geek Ave. and Motorhead Blvd. to find out what the fans thought. We asked three questions:
All that was left to do was to figure out a way to get accounting to overlook the price of our own movie tickets so we could see the movie as well.
We were able to interview 25 people as they exited the 8:00 p.m. showing. Getting them to stop to answer our questions was easy: We just parked the R8 in front. It was getting them to leave afterward that we had trouble with. Camera phones were clicking, digital cameras were flashing and girls were posing. Everyone had to stop by and see the Audi R8. People who didn’t walk by stopped as they drove by. Clearly, Audi has a visual winner on its hands.
Of the 25 people polled, the answer was unanimous, everyone loved the movie.
While not one of the official poll questions, we did ask a few people what their favorite part of the movie was. Most liked when Iron Man dished out some payback to the terrorists who captured him early in the film. However, a number of fans said they liked the cars. In the film, Stark owns an Audi R8, Saleen S7, Shelby Cobra and a Tesla Roadster. We have to confess we were impressed with the Tin Man’s taste in autos as well.
That would equate to 24 enthusiastic YES! answers and one, “I like the little blue car.” That answer came from Alexis, who stopped to look at the R8 with her father. He just shrugged his shoulders sadly and said, “What do you expect from a 15-year old-girl?” She was coming out of the movie, and he was going in so he didn’t know what that little blue car was. It turned out to be the Shelby Cobra, so we’ll cut her a little slack... unless of course it’s a replica.
Now, we have to confess, the answers to this question really surprised us. Both the R8 and the armor are technological marvels. Without being able to test drive either, and only being able to imagine what it would be like to go carving down a winding canyon road in the Audi or flying through the air in a fully armed metal suit, most people instantly knew what they wanted. Eleven said they would take the armor, but a whopping 17 chose the R8. Who’s the real star of Iron Man now, Mr. Robert Downey Jr.?
The most commonly stated reason for choosing the Audi R8 over the Iron Man armor? They couldn’t help themselves: They were car guys, and the audience was decidedly more testosterone than estrogen intensive. Quite a number did state it was because the car was more realistic, which was funny because some people thought the car wasn’t real, just a flashy one-off custom or concept car. Those who chose the armor, all chose it because of the ability to fly. I guess they just don’t know how much fun it is to fly down a road with 420 horsepower at your back. It’s not the altitude baby, it’s the speed.
By Vernon Heywood Photo credit: Vernon Heywood