Online Marketing Leads Paranormal Activity to Wide Release

Paramount Scoring Big with Low Budget Film

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Paranormal Activity is a movie that has made its way to a wide theatrical release this weekend as a result of some clever online marketing. The movie is described as a "Blair Witch"- type film, in that it is told through fake "realistic" video footage. This is a cliché that has been used numerous times in the horror genre.

The film boasts some pretty bold quotes from some well-known sources. For example:

"an ingenious horror film. It’s so well made it’s truly scary"  – Roger Ebert – THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

"A POTENT FRIGHTFEST That will fry your nerves and CREEP YOU OUT"  – Peter Travers ROLLING STONE

"SO SCARY! Just when you thought it was safe to close your eyes… GOOD LUCK GOING TO SLEEP!"  – Harry Knowles AINT IT COOL NEWS

Among people I’ve talked to personally, I’ve heard mixed reviews – nothing quite so positive. I’ve not seen the film yet myself.


The real story is how the movie was initially released to only a handful of theaters at midnight showings, and has blown up from there as a result of online marketing. Paramount, the studio distributing the film, used Eventful.com to get people to demand the film in their own towns. The more people that demanded it, the better shot it would have at a wide release.

It worked.

According to Washington Post, the film has become the most consistently popular trending topic on Twitter. Flixster says it’s received about 5,000 individual reviews despite only playing at a maximum of 760 locations to date. Flixster’s overall inquiries into showtimes, information and tickets for Paranormal Activity grew by 36% this week – on top of last week’s increase of 329%.

"It’s exceedingly rare for a movie to increase this much week over week, rather than see a decline," said Flixster’s co-founder and CEO Joe Greenstein. "Paranormal Activity is exactly the sort of phenomenon we’ve been anticipating – a movie fueled not only by positive critical response, but by the buzz, feedback and word-of-mouth excitement generated by moviegoers who get information and make decisions online, driven by what their friends and acquaintances say."

"Today’s audiences say that online word of mouth has become one of the most important elements of their movie decision-making, and Paranormal Activity is certainly benefiting from that shift in behavior," said Amy Powell, senior vice president of Internet marketing at Paramount Pictures.

The movie begins its wide release in theaters all over the U.S. this weekend. It’s already made $35 million. It only cost $15,000.

Seen Paranormal Activity? Did it live up to the hype? Share your thoughts.

Online Marketing Leads Paranormal Activity to Wide Release
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  • akorozco

    I’d bet it’ll reach number 1 over Saw VI this weekend… this buzz isn’t going to slow down http://www.newsy.com/videos/paranormal_activity_abnormally_scary_or_hollywood_s_new_norm

  • Guest

    The wicked thought grows all the time like a poisonous plant and slowly the good thoughts. A wicked feeling was growing in the stepmother’s heart, and she determined to wow gold sellers send the children to the witch, thinking sure enough that they would never return.

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