Once upon a time, there was an indie horror flick called Walking Distance, about a small town where weird government experiments happen. It starred Friday the 13th’s (and Friday the 13th Part 2’s!) Adrienne King, plus a bunch of other people you probably don’t know. Or didn’t until one of said people, Katie Featherston, became an overnight sensation thanks to Paranormal Activity. So how might Walking Distance’s distribution company celebrate this unexpected windfall? Change the movie’s name to…Experimental Activity. Get it?
Of course you do.
“Walking Distance could be any genre and that is confusing for people who want to see it. So we wanted a name that felt more ‘genre’,” Cara Shapiro, Vice President of Acquisitions for Showcase Entertainment, explained via email. And if the new title happens to shamelessly capitalize on evoke what is shaping up to be the biggest box office phenomenon of the year, so be it, right?
Hey, far be it for me to judge. It’s always been survival of the fittest in the movie industry, so why wouldn’t the good folks at Showcase seize a golden opportunity like this? I think it’s pretty damn hilarious, actually. Even more amusing is that Featherston has what sounds like, at best, a minor role in Experimental Activity. Here’s what she told me last month (prior to the rechristening, of course): “My good friend James LaMarr produced Walking Distance and I flew down literally for a day and did two scenes for that.” Two scenes. At least Featherston’s mug isn’t splashed all over the poster (left). Well…not yet, anyway. (Showcase is still figuring out if the movie will get a theatrical or DVD release.)
What do you think of the title switcheroo? Funny, savvy bit of marketing genius? Or pathetic, sure-to-backfire marketing ploy?