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Paranormal Word of Mouth

Another Halloween has come and gone and sadly with it goes the yearly bubble of scary movies. It was refreshing this year to see a surprise movie come forward “Paranormal Activity” and have huge success.

A couple of us BOFers are wanna-be ghost hunters, so we were attracted very early on with Paranormal's trailers and the indie feel, and the limited release. Blair Witch here we come…

Paramount/Dreamworks bought the $12,000 movie after a few movie festivals a year ago. I guess it shouldn't be surprising that a giant like Paramount would do a smart slow it down marketing campaign with a little bitty movie with low expectations. Compared to how many times can you interrupt me with commercials for “The Box?”

Paramount basically previewed Paranormal in college towns, the audience did what they do… they talked about it… using the internet's tools to amplify… loudly. The studio was also smart enough to let the folks engage with the success of the movie. Allowing people to vote for the movie to come to their community.

As usual the more people talk, the wider it gets released, now some audience members are saying so… what is all the fuss about? That happens with so many things, the early adopters see it through fresh eyes, they shout about it, it loses the new, and the broader the audience gets “the thing” talked about loses it's luster.

But at the end of the day, Paranormal is a good, spunky horror movie… made on a shoestring budget for less than $15,000. And a helluva success for Paramount, they paid $350,000 in 2008 and as of today the movie has grossed 84,780,000… my gut tells me we might be seeing more of these grass root movies in the future and studios empowering movie goers to fuel demand.


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