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Word of Mouth: Scaring up business for 'Paranormal Activity 2'

The filmmakers work to ensure it's not like "Blair Witch 2," but it remains to be seen how audiences will react to the studio-made second installment.

October 21, 2010|By John Horn, Los Angeles Times

Paramount focused much of the "Paranormal Activity" sales effort around the experience of watching the film — television spots included glimpses of audiences jumping at its scares. The studio used some of that footage in its "Paranormal Activity 2" campaign launch but quickly shifted the promotion toward what the new movie might be — or might not be — about. One trailer included scenes that aren't in the finished film.

The film's online trailer was repeatedly updated with new plot clues, and a viral marketing team sneaked flash drives with 14 clips from the film into the pockets of fanboys attending the horror-themed festival Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, in late September. On Tuesday, a new TV spot was released showing that Katie appears in the new movie, and on Wednesday she was featured in a separate ad cryptically saying that Micah, who didn't fare too well in the first movie, famously killed off in the first movie's conclusion, "wasn't up for hanging out today."

There are more television commercials for "Paranormal Activity 2" than for the original movie, but Paramount says it won't spend much more than $10 million on paid advertising, about half of what is devoted to most film openings.

As the new movie's opening draws closer, Peli says he's starting to relax. "A lot of people are skeptical, but once people see that it works, they will start to spread the word. We won't know until this weekend, but it feels like we pulled it off."

john.horn@latimes.com

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