So it all comes down to this: After months of building hype, we will soon know if New Line's strategy to embrace the internet users that were promoting Snakes on a Plane pays off....
In reality, the fact that we are even wondering if SoaP will be a hit means that New Line's move to let the community promote their film has already paid off.
Let's be honest, this is probably going to be a very bad movie. But if SoaP rakes in at least 30 million this weekend, it will do something that's almost unheard of for a summer release: break-even on opening weekend. I wouldn't bet against it doing just that.
We got to this point because months ago, New Line was smart enough to realize that while bloggers were creating their own posters and trailers lampooning the film, they were also promoting it.
"When New Line got the gist of this, they weren't sure if they should send cease-and-desist letters to these guys. But then they thought, 'No, shouldn't do that. This is free advertising,' " according to Lin Shaye, an actress and sister of New Line founder Bob Shaye.
Soon enough, bloggers and other internet users realized that they had just been given the green-light to market this movie, so that's exactly what they did. The buzz reached such a pitch that it spilled over to the mainstream media, with many predicting that Snakes would be the suprise hit of the summer.
And while New Line made many good moves in the promotion of this film and in letting the community do the heavy-lifting for them, they weren't perfect.
So in the end the real question is, if Snakes is a box-office hit, will this lead to a shift in the promotion of movies from now on? Will studios see this as a sign that they should involve their communities as much as possible in the marketing of their films? Will Hollywood be the first to realize that community-empowerment is the future of marketing?
Or will they instead believe that the success of Snakes signals the rise of the B-movie? ;)
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