After hearing all the hype I just had to check out Paranormal Activity at the weekend. But whilst you’d expect to leave the movie terrified and wanting to find out all about ghosts, demons and the like, instead I was more interested in the marketing behind it. This movie cost just $11,000 to make and has made in excess of $60 million within the first 6 weeks of US screenings.
So what made it so successful? Is it actually the most terrifyingly scary movie you’ll ever see? Or did it just involve very clever marketing? Whilst the last 20 minutes made the movie for me I’d have to go with the latter!
The screening of this movie was initially limited to only a handful of midnight screenings in college towns which promptly sold out. Fans who missed out on a screening were told to “demand it” to be shown at further locations via the official website, whilst the lucky few who got to see the movie were prompted to share their reaction via the website, twitter hashtag and facebook. This generated large amounts of interest about the movie, whilst adverts showing audience reactions only added to the hype already generated. When demands for the movie hit 1 million people it was released nationwide, and that’s not the end of it. Now rumour has it there are several endings to the movie and the one being shown in cinemas at the moment is actually a much shorter version than the one shown at earlier screenings. Which could potentially lead to increased hype if they alternate the versions shown in the cinema. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see on that one!
Either way, I think the use of consumer involvement to generate hype has been fantastic, and what did I think of the movie you ask? Shot in a similar way to both Blair Witch and Cloverfield, the relationship of Katie and Micha is believable and draws you in, there are some funny moments and the subtle goings on during the first few nights helps build the suspense. I’d definitely recommend a watch, worst case you can amuse yourself with the audience reactions! And considering it cost just $15,000 in total, makes me want to pick up a camera myself…….