On paper, those familiar with the buzzed-about Sundance doc Catfish (read my review here) may laugh at the comparison to Paranormal Activity. In fact, I joked around a lot at Sundance because I felt that after every midnight film screened, some blogger was calling it "the next Paranormal Activity." And while Catfish -- which is a doc about a New York photographer who strikes up a strange but endearing relationship with an 8-year-old artist on Facebook -- may not seem like it has anything to do with the fictional, Blair-Witch-like ghost story, if marketed correctly the doc could turn into one of the most talked-about films of 2010.
The Twitter world is buzzing today because Paramount is rumored to be screening Catfish in Los Angeles tomorrow (news I first heard via Alex from First Showing), and on the invite it asks for people who have seen and enjoyed films like Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity, Up in the Air, Slumdog Millionaire, Inconvenient Truth, Where the Wild Things Are and District 9. It's important to note that Paramount has not picked up Catfish yet, nor has anyone else (one imagines negotiations are fierce right now), but seeing as the movie comes packaged with a big reveal and a few very fascinating twists and turns, it would appear as if it's the perfect film for the folks at Paramount to turn their marketing mavens loose on.
Yes, it's unfortunate that the film will be approached like this, but in a post-Paranormal Activity world, studios need to find unique ways to market smaller, buzzy films -- and if Catfish comes with one of those "shhh, don't reveal the ending" vibes, then you bet they're going to latch onto that and sell it till the sun comes up.