In what has to be one of the more successful viral marketing campaigns for an upcoming movie, a video put out ahead of Sony's (NYSE:SNE) Oct. 18 release of Carrie is a hit on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) YouTube. 

A clip showing a coffeehouse prank was uploaded on Monday, and by Friday it had topped a whopping 30 million views. The video begins by setting up the prank where a New York City coffeehouse is rigged for the actors to stage a telekinetic event. A young female actress becomes enraged after a male actor accidentally bumps into her, forcing a coffee spill on her laptop. Enraged, she send him slamming against the wall without touching him. He floats up the wall. Tables move. Frames and books begin falling to the floor. Unsuspecting patrons start to panic.

If you're not one of the 30 million to have seen the clip as it's been shared across social media websites, here's your chance.

  • The clip is effective because it doesn't come off as promotional in nature.
  • The video wasn't uploaded to MGM's official YouTube account. A CarrieNYC account was created to host the clip.
  • The video is short, clocking in at 2 minutes and 24 seconds. YouTube users and folks sharing the clip via Facebook and Twitter don't tend to watch videos that are much longer than that.
  • The first marketing plug doesn't come in until the final 13 seconds of the video. By the time that a brief Carrie clip shows up, promoting next weekend's opening, viewers have already bought in. "There are other people out there like me who can do what I can do." Perfect.

Naturally, we'll see how effective this stunt actually is when the multiplexes start tallying up ticket sales for Sony next weekend.

BoxOffice.com's Long Range Forecast predicts a modest take of $21 million during opening weekend, and $50 million overall. At an average ticket price of $8.38, we're talking about just 2.5 million tickets this weekend and less than 6 million during its entire stateside theatrical run. That seems low. No, Stephen King novels haven't always translated well on the big screen. This is also a remake. However, the theme of a misfit who gets bullied until she fights back certainly seems topically relevant these days.

Let's also think back to the success of the YouTube clip. Obviously, most of the prank clip viewers aren't going to go out and catch the film, but we're talking about less than 10% of them going out to watch it during its opening weekend and 20% of them catching it any point during its run. It's also fair to say that the YouTube video count will continue to move higher between now and Friday's opening date. The video has also been uploaded by others outside of YouTube, so the actual viewership of the clip is even greater than that.

It's October. There aren't as many horror movies coming out as we have seen in the past. Expect Carrie to shatter expectations, and a lot of the credit will rightfully belong to this well-crafted promotional clip that's getting people talking about the movie.

They're not all going to laugh at you, Carrie.

Onesheet

Source: Sony Pictures.

 

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Facebook and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.