Friday, November 20, 2009

Crowdsourced marketing: Homemade horror makes $100,000,000 at the box office

Produced for $15,000. Filmed in the director’s own home. Championed by the people. Paranormal Activity has become the the most profitable film ever at the world box-office. The movie’s quietly-scary director Oren Peli tells DONALD CLARKE how public screaming at a public screening convinced DreamWorks to give it a major release.

Paramount, DreamWorks’ corporate overlords, returned to the old practice of a small initial release and then cleverly stoked a “grass-roots” campaign demanding that the film be expanded. Eventually, a website was set up that allowed punters to register their desire for Paranormal Activity to be granted a national roll-out. When the number of requests reached one million, the company would, it said, reluctantly comply with this, ahem, spontaneous crusade. A mere one million? Did Dr Evil come up with these figures? The figure was, of course, surpassed in double-quick time.
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