Universal Pictures is using a (sort of) new technique to help build word-of-mouth about one of its films — the studio is going to give away $15 million worth of tickets to anyone who wants them. Opening to limited release last year, Victor Salva’s Peaceful Warrior didn’t do as well as everyone involved with the film hoped it would. So the studio is trying again, hoping this kind of buzz will drive it to success.
Based on the novel Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman, Peaceful Warrior tells the story of a hot-shot gymnast (Scott Mechlowicz, Mean Creek) who seemingly has everything it takes to make it to the Olympics. But unforeseen circumstances changes his entire future, and it’s up to a random store clerk (Nick Nolte) to help the young man set himself back on the right path. For those guys who have already lost interest, let me mention that Amy Smart (Road Trip) co-stars.
This method of getting butts in theater seats has already been used in another form, namely Movie Cash. In order to sell more tickets to what have been huge profit-makers for studios, they sometimes include Movie Cash with re-released special editions of DVDs (usually for sale in conjunction with a theatrical release of a sequel) to help drive ticket sales and, hopefully, positive word-of-mouth.
The most recent example was the guy flick 300, which Best Buy coincidently helped with too. In a special promotion, for every DVD purchased, Best Buy also gave away a bonus DVD with behind-the-scenes footage of 300 that also included a voucher (up to $10.50 free) for a ticket to see the movie in participating theatres. That movie set an opening weekend record for the month of March with $70 million.
The free tickets are only valid during the film’s opening weekend of March 30. You can receive up to ten free tickets for designated theaters in your area. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis.
View a trailer of the film at Apple’s QuickTime movie trailer page.