How a fake 1987 movie marquee at Gwinnett Place mall turned into viral photo

At Gwinnett Place mall, the movie "Secret Headquarters" built a fake mall marquee with films from the summer of 1987. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com
At Gwinnett Place mall, the movie "Secret Headquarters" built a fake mall marquee with films from the summer of 1987. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

My 2021 photo is from the Jamie Foxx Netflix comedy “Day Shift” but many believe it’s a vintage shot

On April 30, I went over to Gwinnett Place mall and took a photo of a fake 1987 movie marquee built for the upcoming Netflix vampire comedy film starring Jamie Foxx called “Day Shift.”

The business sign said Chatsworth Mall and included a Radio Shack logo and four film names: “The Lost Boys,” “Robocop,” “Predator” and “Full Metal Jacket.” All of those films came out in the summer of 1987. Chatsworth is a city in the San Fernando Valley, where the film is fictionally based.

Meagan Good and Snoop Dogg also star in “Day Shift.” The official descriptive for the movie: “A hard-working, blue-collar dad (Foxx) who just wants to provide a good life for his quick-witted 8-year-old daughter. His mundane San Fernando Valley pool cleaning job is a front for his real source of income: hunting and killing vampires.”

The Paramount action film “Secret Headquarters” was shooting at the mall at the same time and I saw that film code signage nearby, so I made the originally false presumption the marquee was for that film. I have since corrected this story.

In April, a friend of mine, Al Hardee, had posted a similar photo, thinking the Netflix show “Stranger Things” was shooting at the mall.

It wasn’t. But I snapped my own photo and posted a story, noting that “Stranger Things” did shoot there in 2018. I also sent a similar vertical photo to a fellow journalist friend of mind, Henry Hanks, who posted it on his Twitter feed at the time. A few folks at the time retweeted it, including “Full Metal Jacket” actor Adam Baldwin.

"Secret Headquarters" is shooting at Gwinnett Place Mall and features a fake mall marquee that appears set in 1987. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com
"Secret Headquarters" is shooting at Gwinnett Place Mall and features a fake mall marquee that appears set in 1987. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@

Three weeks later, on Thursday, Kenneth Palermo, who has more than 1,200 followers and said he’s a “part time TV script writer” out of Stockholm, Sweden, posted my photo with a simple question: “It’s 1987... which one do you go to?”

The photo started getting some Twitter traction. A “Lost Boys” fan site retweeted it and for a brief moment, the 1987 movie trended on Twitter. Then “Predator,” “Full Metal Jacket” and “Radio Shack” began trending.

Some celebrities even offered their opinions on Twitter, including Jimmy Fallon, William Shatner, Joe Manganiello (”Magic Mike”), Brian Posehn (”The Big Bang Theory”), WWE wrestler King Corbin and again, Baldwin.

HBO Max’s official page commented on it, picking “The Lost Boys,” probably because HBO Max happens to have that movie available. The Twitter feed for MGM Studios, which owns “Robocop,” referenced that film.

The Radio Shack official Twitter made a bemused comment, and XBox changed the marquee for its own purposes:

XBox retooled my original photo into a tongue-in-cheek meme.
XBox retooled my original photo into a tongue-in-cheek meme.

Credit: XBox

Credit: XBox

My friend Hanks was nice enough to give me credit for the photo.

Fellow journalist Henry Hanks wanted to give me credit where credit was due.
Fellow journalist Henry Hanks wanted to give me credit where credit was due.

Credit: Henry Hanks

Credit: Henry Hanks

A reader on my Facebook page, Craig Crumpton, noted that he had previously seen the photo shared on two movie fan group sites as if it were an actual vintage photo from 1987. “I felt badly that I had to be a buzzkill by mentioning it was a recent photo from a film set,” he wrote.

One Twitter, a site *CavityColors posted a photo last week showing that Netflix updated the original image with several letters from the films having fallen off and a “for sale” sign attached to the mall. So it’s very possible, the marquee is simply a quick visual flashback/present day contrast gag in the movie.

The marquee was updated in mid May to be "aged" and the mall on sale.
The marquee was updated in mid May to be "aged" and the mall on sale.

Credit: Twitter

Credit: Twitter

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