Repo! The Genetic Opera (review here) is the underdog film that is paving the way again and again for the future of film marketing. Last night, seven months after the film was released on DVD, fans lined up around the block to see a movie that most of them have seen multiple times. Many came in costume and several came from miles away (some as far away as New York) just to support this film.
During the biggest convention of the year, while KISS played across town for free and a dozen studio sponsored parties (with open bars) and tried their best to promote their latest efforts, Repo! screened with the filmmakers and a few stars in attendance. Not only was the 600-seat theater packed, my great friends here at Dread Central streamed the entire event, and over 900 people tuned in across the world. The most amazing part … there was NO ADVERTISING for the event! At 10:00pm, just two hours before the show was set to begin, Jon Condit, co-founder of Dread Central, announced that they would be streaming it LIVE and for FREE.
The news spread like wildfire across Twitter, Facebook, Google and MySpace. The fans tuned in to the world’s first-ever live streaming Repo Shadow-cast event to watch as the Los Angeles acting troupe Addicted to the Knife acted out the entire film on stage in front of the film! Across the country Repo! was screening with shadow casts in Toledo as well as during a Friday night event in Ft. Lauderdale. The Repo Army has been using the internet to the fullest extent to spread the word to each other.
The annual San Diego Comic-Con is known for breaking news scoops and celebrity events. Largely focusing on the movie industry, SDCC is the “IT” place to be for any upcoming genre film, and even some non-genre stuff. Any “Studio Marketing Exec” will tell you that a big Comic-Con presence can make or break almost any upcoming film. Twilight sequel New Moon dominated the buzz this year while James Cameron’s Avatar showed off some slick footage to wet girls’ panties (oh wait, that was New Moon).
Saw 6 offered a unique iPhone app with some footage of the upcoming film, and Tron gets the award for best viral campaign whereby they secretly invited anyone in the know on a scavenger hunt to Flynn’s Arcade to play vintage video games and see the new light cycle! District 9 had a screening with great reviews, as did Inglorious Basterds, and my favorite new Halloween film Trick ‘r Treat (review here).
Hollywood and indie films alike can no longer just come out with a typical ad campaign and TV spots. The flavor of the day now is niche marketing directly to the fans, even before the films come out. Repo! (official site here) started with no studio support; yet, Repo! manages to continue to make history with the help of The Repo Army, a dedicated group of fans that will stop at nothing to claim this movie as their own. Fan-made YouTube films were just the beginning. But the filmmakers themselves took the film on the road and toured it like a band would tour a new CD. Most films with multi-million dollar ad campaigns would kill to get this kind of support from fans.
SpookyDan (the author of this piece) is a horror journalist turned filmmaker who has been following the Repo! hysteria around the globe. He’s prepping a documentary about the Repo! fandom.
Check out photos from the event by clicking on the image below, and then buy the DVD, Blu-ray, and soundtrack!
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