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If you haven't heard of the "Snakes on a Plane" movie phenomenon (SoaP), then there is not much use consuming this post this late in the game....


A movie that innocently enough generated buzz due to scriptwriter Josh Friedman's blog, has evolved into the Rocky Horror Show of our times, aided in no small measure by a raving blogosphere.
As many of us know "SoaP is currently exhibit A in the chaotic debate over viral marketing, an advertising approach that, when it works, publicizes a product contagiously through word of mouth" (via SFGate). Many of our fellow marketing bloggers at the Viral Garden, Church of the Customer & Movie Marketing Madness have given it in-depth coverage over the past months.
The movie releases this weekend (August 18) and I bet some of us are expecting a huge opening. Here's why I think SoaP won't make more than $40 million on its opening weekend:
Not because the producers haven't screened the movie for critics, not because the film is admittedly cheesy (Early AICN Review), not because the movie's plot was continuously modified by the viewers.... but for the simple reason that the "Active" Blogosphere is not large enough to ensure a blockbuster opening!
The keyword here is that SoaP is a Blogosphere Phenomenon. Even though David Sifry of Technorati makes the specious argument that there are 50 million blogs, I bet he's counting two of my defunct blogs as well as my sole active Marketing Nirvana Blog.
For purposes of calculation, I'd like to refer to a much more rational analysis that there are probably 6.4 million "active" bloggers out there (via Kevin Burton at TailRank). Ignoring the fact that these numbers constitute all blogs globally and also the fact that many of them may not be SoaP fans, let's assume that if 50% of these active bloggers watch the movie, there's roughly $32 million to be made on opening weekend and that's how I think it's going to play out.
On the flipside; SoaP has zero expectations to contend with. As Chuck Klosterman from Esquire reminds us, people do not expect "The Godfather" but rather Anaconda v2.0. Even the aforementioned mind-numbing snake-flick "Anaconda" made 65 million during its entire run. Add in the crazed blogosphere and I believe SoaP will cross the $100 million during its entire run, which by industry standards would still be deemed a success for a movie that cost around $30 million to make.
As a marketer, what are your thoughts on the movie marketing magic of SoaP? Will SoaP make more than $50 million on opening weekend? Are you going to watch SoaP?
Weigh in with your comments.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Mario Sundar

Mario Sundar has over five years experience in leadership roles both in Marketing as well as in Software Development. Mario currently works at LinkedIn, the World’s largest online professional network, as Community Evangelist. Prior to that, he helped develop & manage marketing initiatives for Fortune 50 high-tech brands. Mario is also on the board of the American Marketing Association (Silicon Valley Chapter).

In May 2006, Mario launched his marketing blog where he discusses customer evangelism, community marketing and social media strategy. Ranked as one of the fastest growing Wordpress blogs in July 06, “Marketing Nirvana” continues to expand its readership each week. The blog currently (as of 04/07) has a Technorati Rank of 7,113 and an Alexa Ranking of 142,830.

Mario’s Blog: http://mariosundar.wordpress.com/
Mario’s LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mariosundar