Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Will Facebook and Twitter Keep "Paranormal Activity" From Turning Into "Snakes on a Plane"?


Four years ago, the movie, “Snakes on a Plane,” became a genuine Internet phenom well before the movie was in theaters.

Which, in the end, only showed that online buzz had negligible impact on the viewing public, given that the movie’s box office turned out to be tepid at best.

But will another small film, about a demon-plagued couple with an infrared-equipped videocamera, called “Paranormal Activity,” prove that the chatter of Facebook and Twitter has more legs today?

It looks like it, given that the very-low-budget film–acquired by Viacom (VIA) studio Paramount Pictures as a remake–performed spectacularly well last weekend, selling out midnight-only shows focused on college towns.

That middle-of-the-night tactic was made larger this past weekend, creating a ton of online heat, which led to an expanded release planned for this coming weekend at all hours.

Of course, along with a clever television marketing push, the studio is using Internet feedback to discern where to head next and how.

Well, “Paranormal Activity” looks scary and all–although BoomTown would like to know exactly when people will stop trying to irk demonic spirits.

That quibble aside, it will be interesting to see if the reliance on Facebook (where the movie has about 32,000 fans, most whom are posting variations of “It scared the crap out of me!!!!”) and Twitter (where is it now a trending topic) turns a cult win into a mega-hit.


That’s what many predicted would happen to camp thriller “Snakes,” starring Samuel Jackson, especially considering the deluge of Internet frenzy starting in 2005 that actually forced Time Warner (TWX) studio New Line Cinema to finally release it.

But the movie buzz peaked too early, well before the film debuted, and it limped to a weak box office–leaving the blog-fueled “Snakes” as an asterisk in the annals of failed Web marketing hype.

So, until all the tweeting gets you to the theater–I shall pass, as I prefer skeletons in my closet–here is the clever promo for “Paranormal Activity,” as well as the classic line from “Snakes”:

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle