Sunday, November 8, 2009

Horror movie "Paranormal Activity" scares

The new horror movie "Paranormal Activity" could be filling movie studio marketing departments with fear.

Using a campaign of limited showings, social media and word-of-mouth fan buzz, the film has managed to become a breakout hit without the aid of a glitzy marketing campaign -- or even a traditional movie trailer.

According to Variety, the very low-budget film (it reportedly cost $11,000), which played in fewer than 200 theaters, raked in $7.1 million over the weekend -- a record for a limited-release film. The film had an impressive $44,163 per-screen average and placement in the top five of the box office ratings over the weekend.

"We think it's exciting that they are taking this grassroots approach to independent film because sometimes independent films do get lost in the shuffle," said Kevin Carr, a writer/reviewer for the site Film School Rejects. "It's a unique test to see if people can demand things outside of standard marketing campaigns."

"Paranormal Activity" bills itself as "the first-ever major film release demanded by you."

The movie, which was an audience favorite at the alternative Slamdance festival in early 2008, was acquired by Dreamworks (then a part of Paramount Pictures) two years ago.

The studio initially planned to remake it using better-known actors. But after studio executives, including Steven Spielberg, viewed it, they decided the Paranormal Activity Movie could stand more or less as it was (though director Oren Peli did shorten the film and shoot a new ending).

The movie gained buzz after Paramount began late-night screenings in college towns, and fans took to Twitter and other sites to hail the scary flick, which centers on a young couple who believe their house may be haunted.

Paramount increased the interest by urging fans to sign on to and demand theaters in their locations show the film.

Peli posted a video on YouTube expressing gratitude to the fans and urging them to continue rooting for the Paranormal Activity movie.

"I just wanted to take this opportunity to speak directly to the fans and thank you all for the amazing support," Peli said on the video. "It's just been overwhelming especially considering the long road this film had for three years and the studio wanting to do a remake."

More than a million people have heeded the call. The result has been a groundswell of interest rivaling that of big-budget films.

Megan Colligan, co-president of marketing for Paramount, said the studio had a limited budget for advertising the film, so its marketing had to be tightly targeted.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails