So several years ago, I wrote about the word-of-mouth screenings trend for indieWIRE. In the era of web 2.0, that idea has been updated to go a step further.
Let me tell you about Wednesday night. After a lovely reception, we all filed into Dolby 88 for a screening of "The Dutchess." Most of the attendees were women roughly the age of the film's star, Keira Knightly (23), or slightly older. But here's the thing. Everyone who was invited has a blog or website related to film or fashion. Not necessarily critics or reporters, but web writers of all stripes.
Before and after the film, and in a follow-up email, we were asked to write or twitter about "The Dutchess." Add the new eyeballs that will read about the film online, to the old fashioned word-of-mouth recommendations, and you get a much wider reach. Not to mention the ability to measure how the word is spread through posts, hits, and links.
Melissa Silverstein did a great job of mining the writers for the film's trageted audience pool, and organizing the event for distributor Paramount Vantage. And what about the film, you ask? It was a pretty, serviceable costume romance. Ralph Fiennes was frightening as the domineering duke, and in the brief moment he had his shirt off, the audience gasped in appreciation of his muscular torso. I hope to see him at the Oscars.