The lead character in the film, played by actor John Cusack, for example, is the faux author of a faux book about a murder, conspiracy and disaster aboard the space shuttle Atlantis, which, coincidentally, is poised for launch on a space station construction mission the weekend the movie debuts.
The fictional fiction, named "Farewell, Atlantis," has a Web site, a Facebook page to follow "author appearances," fans and friends, a faux publisher with a faux Web site, a faux press release and endorsements from the very real son of the late Carl Sagan.
There's also a fake institute that presumably dispenses "real" science supporting the movie's claims, as well as a fake news website that distributes fake press releases about a fake aerospace company winning government contracts.
Warren Betts, owner of a California-based publicity firm that peddles real science stories tied to movies, says the type of marketing campaign Sony is executing for "2012" is nothing new.
"It's been done before," said Betts, citing the 1999 horror movie "The Blair Witch Project," a story about a group of amateur documentary film-makers who have a really bad couple of days in the woods.