Intrinsic to the success of films such as The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, it has also been blamed for several films flopping before they even appear on the big screen. In spite of this turbulent relationship, social media has clearly established itself as an important, and inherently expensive, part of the Hollywood marketer tool kit.
So when filmmaker Kevin Smith announced he planned market his next movie, Red State, using social media and entirely without studio support. Hollywood subsequently stood up and took notice, as did the rest of the world according to Wavemetrix.
Leveraging his expansive online following on Twitter and through his podcast network, nicknamed the Smodnation, he is using the word of tweet and creative, free, digital marketing campaigns to drive awareness. Most importantly, and often the most difficult to achieve, this is now converting itself into a monetary figure through a Q&A tour which his investors are no doubt pleased to hear.
Social media has become a launch pad for several artists to go mainstream, such as Justin Bieber, but Smith appears going in the reverse direction. Clearly ROI sits at the heart of this campaign and the social media community will no doubt be waiting to see what he does next.