Tuesday, October 13, 2009

$10,000 Budget Film to Open Nationwide

NYT explains:
If you have not yet heard of the horror movie “Paranormal Activity,” you will soon. It is about to become the first major studio film to be released nationwide as the result of online requests from the public.

The film is about a young couple who become convinced that a demonic presence lurks in their bedroom at night, so they decide to set up a video camera to catch it. The movie was shot on an extremely low budget of $10,000 and opened at the end of September with midnight screenings in just 13 small college towns.

From there, it has become a Web sensation, with chatter about the movie bouncing from Twitter to Facebook, spurring a coming nationwide release.

The company behind the viral buzz is Eventful, a venture-backed start-up in San Diego hired by Paramount Pictures, the movie’s producer. Eventful provides a service that lets performers ask their fans where they should appear. For $30,000 to $250,000, Eventful builds and hosts a Web page where people can vote by clicking on a button that says “Demand it!”

Paramount promised to release “Paranormal Activity” in cities where enough people demanded it and nationwide if a million people demanded it. As of Friday night, it was close, with 960,000 demands.

“Part of it is the movie genuinely terrified people,” said Jordan Glazier, Eventful’s chief executive. “But I think a lot of it has to do with, for the first time ever, fans are part of the process in bringing a movie into distribution. There is such a sense of ownership and loyalty engendered by being part of the process.”

Mr. Glazier said he had expected the “Paranormal Activity” campaign to achieve only a fraction of the buzz that it has. He credits its success in part to the way it has ricocheted around the Web. When fans demand the movie, they can also post the demand on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other sites. “Paranormal Activity” has been a trending topic on Twitter for the last few days.

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