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SXSW Screens Bruno Footage, Debuts Raimi's Drag Me to Hell

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 10, 2009 at 5:15AM

After its success debuting at SXSW such Judd Apatow projects as Forgetting Sarah Marshall last year and Knocked Up the year before, Universal Pics is taking advantage of the hip SXSW demo --and the fest's pre-summer time-frame--to promo two more flicks. The studio will screen the first-ever footage from Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen's follow-up to Borat, on 3/15 at 11 PM followed at midnight by Sam Raimi's full-length horror title Drag Me to Hell.
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After its success debuting at SXSW such Judd Apatow projects as Forgetting Sarah Marshall last year and Knocked Up the year before, Universal Pics is taking advantage of the hip SXSW demo --and the fest's pre-summer time-frame--to promo two more flicks. The studio will screen the first-ever footage from Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen's follow-up to Borat, on 3/15 at 11 PM followed at midnight by Sam Raimi's full-length horror title Drag Me to Hell.

Unusually, however, Universal joined the current Twitter mania and announced Bruno's SXSW footage unveiling via Twitter:


SXSW/Fantastic Festers: First-ever look at BR√úNO footage! Sunday night 11 pm at Alamo Drafthouse Lamar. No badge needed, free admission!


Yes folks, this is the new modern press release, otherwise known as instant viral marketing. Uni PR exec Michael Moses has me on his Twitter feed; since he made this announcement, and others have tweeted a link to him, and then others have seen me on his list of followers, my Twitter followers have skyrocketed. (They have been steadily climbing ever since David Pogue wrote about Twitter in his NYT Circuits column; I wrote a response; I posted my Twitter name akstanwyck; and I figured out how to automatically tweet new blog entries.)

"We're big believers in SXSW as an ignition switch for the right movie," says Moses, who sees Austin, Texas as "a unique city where the counter-culture crosses the mainstream, new media mixes with traditional, and the arts thrive." Attendees at the fest are "a young, movie-loving audience fluent in instant media," he says, "discriminating without being snobbish, [who] can radiate genuine buzz from between the coasts."

Here's one SXSW preview; here's another. Here's The New Yorker's David Denby--a tad late in the day--expounding on the indie movement that has emerged from SXSW: Mumblecore. I'm seeing Joe Swanberg's Alexander the Last tonight.

For those of you who are bewildered by the recent Twitter explosion, David Bloom explains it all to you. And Austin American-Statesman Internet editor Robert Quigley uses Twitter to drive traffic.

Here's the Drag Me to hell trailer:

[Originally appeared on Variety.com]

This article is related to: Marketing, Festivals, Web/Tech, Headliners, SXSW


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.